Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Have You Answered the Call?

Yesterday was the big day...the 1940 census was released to the general public for the first time as free digital images.

Although NARA's website (1940census.archives.com) couldn't handle the load yesterday, they have corrected the problem and are happily up and running today.

The 1940 One-Step tool was and is running smoothly and has links to the images at the NARA site. This tool is an aide to finding your ancestor's ED to help narrow the search.

Ancestry.com started uploading the images soon after their release. You can monitor their Progress of the 1940 Census by scrolling down below the map.

The best thing that happened yesterday is that the images were available to download for indexing. The 1940 Census Project is working diligently to process the images and get them out to the community for indexing so that they will be made searchable by name. Pima County Genealogy Society is proud to be a part of this national project. And I am happy to say that we have indexed over 1300 names in the first 30 hours after release. Well Done!

But we need you to make this successful. For just 15-30 minutes a day, or an hour a week, you can make a big difference. Go to the 1940 Census Community Project Getting Started page to register as an indexer, download the indexing software, and begin indexing. When creating your FamilySearch account, please select Pima County Genealogy Society as your group (note that Minnesota also has a group by the same name, but they have "-MN" appended to the name. Please be sure not to select that group). Registering with our society automatically qualifies you to be entered into weekly drawings. Check the 1940 blog Contest page each week to find out what that week's challenge is and the prize.

 Watch the video below to see how easy it is to index. It is a tutorial on How To Index the 1940 Census.

Don't wait for your state to be available. Start indexing today. Let's Index!!


  1. If many genealogical societies as well as the LDS church are encouraging enthusiasts to index the 1940 census, isn't there going to be a lot of duplication of effort? Add into that the efforts of the fee based folks like Ancestry and I wonder about the value of an individual effort.

    1. Lee,
      The genealogy societies are working together with FamilySearch.org (the LDS church), Archives.com and findmypast.com to create one index between them via the FamilySearch Indexing program. Ancestry and MyHeritage are working independently to create their own indexes. While this appears to be a duplication of effort, it is not really the same. The process that FamilySearch uses to index results in significantly higher accuracy than seen on the fee based sites. Each page is indexed by two people, the computer compares the entries and if there are any differences a third person (arbitrator) reviews it and makes a determination. I’m sure you have seen that indexes for all the previous census records are on multiple sites. I find that I sometimes need to search multiple sites to find the people for which I am seeking because the indexes are not the same. For these reasons, I value the individual efforts very much and am highly appreciative of the work the volunteers put into making the database as accurate as possible. I hope this put your concerns to rest.