Thoughts by Emily

1940 Census Records Released #FamilySearch #Geneaology

I find genealogy research interesting and compelling. The search for one’s ancestors is both fulfilling and insightful. Once you become acquainted with your roots, I believe you have a window into your own personal machinery – what makes you tick.
sponsors one of my favorite TV shows and it takes some of the famous Hollywood type folks we know on a journey of researching their roots. Without fail, the featured person is brought to tears when they find out more about the story of their ancestors. Of course, it
takes a small army of researchers to root out some of the more obscure histories. Most of us don’t have those kinds of resources at our fingertips, but research is much easier than you’d think. There are so many resources readily available online and research can begin
in the comfort of you own home.

Recently, the National Archives and Records Administration released the 1940 census records. Now, just releasing those records is not much of a help to the general public. All those records must be indexed in order to make it a researchable database. The entire 1940 census data will be indexed by a community of volunteers and made available for free. The free index of the census records and corresponding images will be available to the public for perpetuity.

Anyone can volunteer as an indexer. Here are some statistics:
• 74,572 volunteers are helping to index the 1940 US Census.
• About 25,000 people are helping to index names on a daily basis.
• More than 18 million records have been completely indexed by the volunteer
• Volunteers have completed more than 56 million total indexing tasks on records (a-
key index, b-key index, or arbitration).

You can also visit Family Search to view some of the census images already available. There’s a wealth of information here.

Many of the individuals living in 1940 are part of what has been called the greatest generation.
These are people who:

  • Survived the Great Depression
  • Fought in the Second World War
  • Innovated technology (TV, Microwave)
  • Sacrificed in the name of freedom
  • Practiced thrift and compassion
  • Understood hard work and industry

I know I’m grateful for their contribution to America. My parents were part of this era and I’m eager to look at the census records where they’re included.

The people in the 1940 census deserve to have their records preserved and made available online. I’d love to hear your interest in Family History, and any cool family stories you have found during your searching.


About the author

Emily Buys


  • My mom tracked down quite a bit of history on our family, and I’ve been digging around and trying to find even more. It’s so interesting once you get started!

  • I think all doing family research will find the 1940 Census interesting. Since I was born in 1941, I am using that census to discover things that I find interesting yet were not important enough to be included in the family oral history.

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