Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Status of the 1940 U.S. Census online

Here we are at tax day, April 15, 2012, and it has been almost two weeks since the online release of the 1940 U.S. Census records by the U.S. National Archives. So where are we with the availability of the records and the process of indexing?

The primary record is online at the 1940 Census Official 1940 Census Website. Since this is the site where the images were released, it is fair to say that they have a complete copy of the Census. The copy of the Census consists of 3.8 million images, scanned from over 4,000 rolls of microfilm. The site also has enumeration district finder. The simplest way to Locate a person in the 1940 U.S. Census Is to find the person in the 1930 census and convert the 1930 enumeration district to the 1940 enumeration district. Of course, if you are looking in the 1940 Census to try and find a person, you may not know where the person was  in the 1930 Census.

The official website has an enumeration district locator.  Using the locator, may or may not be very helpful. And looking for an ancestor in Apache County, Arizona, this sparsely settled County has 7 enumeration districts. You may end up spending some time before finding the correct enumeration district or the person or family you are looking for.

From this point on, there is not any particular order to my review of the various websites with copies of the Census.

The British website,,  is still in the process of loading the census images. As of the date of this post, they had 7 states loaded and  only the states of Oregon, Delaware, Kansas, and Virginia listed for indexed searches. has the entire census online with indexes of various states in progress. The site has a dynamic map of the United States showing the progress of the image loading and indexing. There is also an invitation to join in the indexing project.

 Since is the official partner of the  National Archives, technically their website is the same as the National Archives website, but they do have a separate website which for some reason does not seem to have a link to the 1940 Census.  It does not appear that their website has been updated since the release of the 1940 Census. also has a complete copy of the 1940 Census. From the list on their website, it looks like only the states of Delaware and Nevada have been completely indexed. This site also has an enumeration district finder. also has a complete copy of the 1940 United States Census. They were the first  website to download the entire census and so have the second online copy of the census. It is difficult to tell how much of the 1940 U.S. Census has already been indexed on the website, but they state that the index will be complete in 2012.
From my own experience, it looks like to me that the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is still ramping up and unless the other websites allocate extensive resources to their indexes the Community Census Project will likely be the first to have a complete index. Having more than one index is extremely valuable and certainly not a waste of resources. What one indexer misses another my be able to see.


  1. James, you say "It is difficult to tell how much of the 1940 U.S. Census has already been indexed on the website", but the site itself indicates that they have indexed Rhode Island.

  2. Hi,
    That's correct, but they don't seem to have any indication of when the other states might be done or the percentage of completion. If its there somewhere, please let me know. Not a criticism of the site at all, just a comment.