1940 Federal Census Preparation

The release of the 1940 census is three weeks away. It should give us valuable new information for our family, such as their 1935 residence, their highest level of education and many detailed employment questions. However, we will not be able to search the 1940 census by the names of our ancestors because the census pages will not be indexed until later this year.

To help narrow our search, we can use a utility program at Stevemorse.org that identifies the enumeration district that contains the 1940 address where our ancestors lived. An Enumeration District (ED) refers to the area assigned to a single census-taker to count persons and prepare schedules within one census period. Note that the enumerations district number assigned to a specific neighborhood will differ from year to year.

To start preparing for the release, we need to develop our list of 1940 addresses and then use the Stevemorse.com utility to identify the enumeration district. If we do not know where our ancestors lived in 1940, we can search for birth records, marriage records and death records for the family that occurred about that time. Obituaries will also help identify the town where they lived. Another source to identify addresses could be telephone books and city directories. The 1943 WW II draft registration will also give an address for our ancestors.

The National Archives is the agency that will release the 1940 Census on April 2 and we will be able to browse the pages at 1940census.archives.gov starting at 9:00 AM Eastern Time. Other websites such as Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org will obtain the digitized images at that time and the images will be viewable on their websites as soon as their IT people can process and upload the images. This may take a few hours or a few days or a few weeks. Both companies have only commented that they will make the images viewable as soon as possible.

You need to start preparing now and you should have some fantastic new information about your ancestors by the mid- April.

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