The 1940 Census, Indexing, and You

by Julie Hill

Posted on March 14, 2012

1940-census-logo.pngApril 2, 2012 will be a red-letter day for family history enthusiasts. On that day, the 1940 U.S. Census will be released to the public. is proud to have been chosen by the National Archives to build the website will allow visitors to browse, view, and download images of this valuable resource - for free.

When the 1940 Census becomes available, users will immediately be able to browse by location, but they will not be able to search by name. That's where the power of the community - the power of you - comes in. has partnered with FamilySearch and brightsolid to form the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. Volunteers with the project will create a robust index that will be linked to the census images. This index, along with the images, will also be free to use.

You can help! You can volunteer at When the images become available beginning April 2, you will be able to select a state and download a batch of images to index. You don't need to be able to code. Indexing is as easy as typing what you see. If you can type, you can index!

If you're a member of a genealogical society, you will want to see if it's on the list of participating societies. If it is, you will be able to select it when you sign on as an indexer. The work that you do will be credited to your society, helping it earn valuable rewards.

The beauty of this project is that you can work on the states that you are interested in. Also, the batches are small enough that they don't take a long time to complete. You can index as many or as few batches as you'd like. But you might find that indexing is the genealogical version of eating potato chips - you won't want to stop with just one! So join today and help find those who are in the 1940 Census.

Learn about how is helping to bring the 1940 Census online, and much more, at

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