1940 Census Update: We Expected A Flood And Got A Tsunami!

by Julie Hill

Posted on April 2, 2012

First, we want to apologize to the millions of people who came to the 1940 census website this morning in search of information about their family history. While many users have been able to find and download records, many others have experienced problems when searching for enumeration districts and viewing census images.

As the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) official development partner on this project, Archives.com is responsible for the website performance and stability. We take full responsibility for the technical issues that have occurred and are very sorry for the inconvenience you may have experienced.

The Silver Lining... Family History Is More Popular Than Ever!

The technical issues have been caused by an OVERWHELMING DEMAND from the general public to search and access the 1940 census images. The traffic load exceeded even our own most optimistic estimates several times over. This has caused the website loading problems, but perhaps more importantly, it highlights how family history is an exciting and growing activity for so many millions of Americans.

Just how popular has the 1940 census launch been?

Here are just a few of the success stories people have shared about finding their ancestors:

How You Can Access The Website And Research Your Ancestors

Get started by visiting http://1940census.archives.gov/

You can search for enumeration districts, even narrowing by street to find a particular location (made possible through the integration of tools by Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub). If your family is from a well-populated city or county, searching by street can be an essential resource for finding your family.

When you find enumeration district, map, or description data that matches your result, you can bookmark it even if you can't view the image yet. Bookmark an entire ED, and you'll save your work for later!

If you don't know where to start your search - don't worry. One of the most exciting features of http://1940census.archives.gov/ is the easy access to 1930 census records. These records are made available to all website users for FREE, courtesy of Archives.com, and will help you to locate the 1940 ED where your ancestor lived if you don't already know it.

Archives.com in partnership with the National Archives has built a number of other tutorial resources which will help you to be even more prepared for your 1940 records search, including a Glossary, Research Guide, FAQ, and more. Get started now! http://1940census.archives.gov/

Thank You For Your Patience And Support!

Despite the technical issues, the genealogy community has been very positive and supportive during today's website launch. We really appreciate the success stories you have been sharing!

Also, we'd like to thank Amazon.com, who has been helping us with some of the scalability challenges we're tackling and lending important technical expertise.

Lastly, we want to thank the National Archives & Records Administration for choosing us as their partner in this endeavor.

We are committed to making the website FAST and STABLE as quickly as possible. To stay informed of the most up-to-date status, please follow @1940censusnews and @Archivescom on Twitter, and subscribe to this blog.


Archives.com Team

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