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<2012 April>

More Links

# Monday, 02 April 2012 to Provide Searchable Database of 1940 Census
Posted by Diane

Henderson, Nevada-based announced it's now indexing the records to provide a searchable database and census images to both companies and individuals.

The census images are being added at (I don't see any there yet), and the indexed database will be updated as data entry is completed beginning this week.

You'll be able to search basic fields for free, but you'll need a subscription to run advanced searches. Subscriptions range from 24 hours in length to one year. will license the indexed data, along with the images, to genealogy companies and other interested groups.

The press release claims RootsPoint "has a 15-year track record of delivering a high level of completion and accuracy across many different censuses with a detailed quality control process to make sure records that have faded or have poor legibility are not skipped or misrecorded."

RootsPoint's parent company is Intelligent Image Management Inc. (IIMI). "Indexes from other census work from have been independently tested and determined to have among the highest quality ratings in the industry with an accuracy of 99 percent." says IIMI president Upal Rahman.

census records | Genealogy Industry
Monday, 02 April 2012 16:28:58 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
NARA's 1940 Census Site Overwhelmed
Posted by Diane

The huge number of visitors today to the National Archives 1940 census website,, is causing long wait to load pages and blocking out many would-be census searchers altogether. The archives posted this update to its Facebook page:

After waiting for 10 years for the release of the 1940 census, we know that you are frustrated with the difficulties we're experiencing on our site. We completely share these frustrations! Since 9 a.m. EDT (when the site went live), we've had about 22.5 million hits to the site, which works out about 1.9 million users. Although we developed detailed plans and our testing indicated that NARA and Inflection would be able to handle the expected load,the number of visitors was huge. Thank you for your patience despite these frustrations. We're working to resolve the problem and we'll keep you updated on the situation.

census records | NARA
Monday, 02 April 2012 13:43:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
1940 Census News from NARA, FamilySearch and
Posted by Diane

We've gotten a few 1940 census-related press releases today:
  • The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced the official release of the census at, which took place after a ceremony at the archives' Washington, DC., location. The 3.9 million images constitute the largest collection of digital information NARA has ever released.

    NARA also announced it has "joined a consortium of groups to create a name-based index." That's the 1940 Census Community Project, led by FamilySearch and two commercial organizations, (which designed NARA's 1940 census website) and brightsolid. Interesting. At least two other commercial entities— and MyHeritage—are creating their own census databases which also will be free (at least through 2013) and will compete with the FamilySearch/ version.
  • The 1940 census is of intense interest to people besides genealogists. will work with the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota to make data from the 1940 census available to the scientific community. This research database—separate from the one genealogists will search to find their ancestors—will include all of the information collected on the 132 million Americans recorded in the 1940 census.

    Scientific researchers will be able to link recent economic and health surveys and mortality records to the 1940 database. This will allow researchers to study the impact of early life conditions, including socioeconomic status, parental education, and family structure, on later health and mortality. In addition to individual and family information, the database will provide contextual information on childhood neighborhood characteristics, labor-market conditions, and environmental conditions. | census records | FamilySearch | NARA
Monday, 02 April 2012 13:10:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
First Look: Finding 1940 Census Records on
Posted by Diane

So far this morning, we're hearing from a lot of disappointed folks on Facebook and Twitter who aren't able to get record images to load for the 1940 census.

I'm in the same boat, but I took some screen shots from the site to show you how works:

The home page looks like this:

1940 Census Records

Click Get Started, then scroll down a little and you get three choices:

Search by location; search by enumeration district (ED), which also lets you convert the 1930 ED to the 1940 one; or access Help features (FAQs, etc.)

1940 Census Records

Search by ED

If you know the ED, look at the middle option, choose the state and type in the ED.

1940 Census Records

The result will show you the description of the boundaries for that ED.

1940 Census Records

You could click the maps tab to see the ED on a map, or click the Census Schedule tab to see the available schedules for that district.

1940 Census Records

Click on the census schedule thumbnail to see the pages for that district (theoretically—they never loaded for me) and browse through them for your family. 

If you hover over the thumbnail image, you get an option to download images, which some say works better, but the images never downloaded for me.

Search by location

If you know your family's location, but not the ED, look under "Do you know where the person lived?" and click Start Your Search.

1940 Census Records

On the left side of the next page, choose the state, county, city and street, if you know it. 

1940 Census Records

Your results will show descriptions of EDs covering that area.

You can view the descriptions and choose the one you think has your ancestor's household (use the Maps tab to see them on a map), or click the Census Schedules tab to start going through the schedules. 

1940 Census Records

It's pretty frustrating to wait and wait for census images to load, espcially after all the hype, but honestly I'm not surprised.

I'm going to try again in another couple of hours (or maybe tomorrow, depending how the day goes). While you're waiting, visit Family Tree Magazine's 1940 census page to formulate your research game plan and learn how to find those enumeration districts.

Also check whether, FamilySearch, or MyHeritage has uploaded records for your ancestor's state. | census records | FamilySearch | MyHeritage | NARA
Monday, 02 April 2012 11:05:48 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
1940 Census Records Coming Online Now!
Posted by Diane

UPDATED: The 1940 US census became available today for browsing on Other sites began posting the record images as early as 12:01 a.m.. Here's what's online now:

FamilySearch (browse records here)
  • Available (though I'm not sure whether all records have been uploaded for these states): Colorado, Delaware, Virginia, Kansas, Virginia, Oregon (See a progress chart)
  • Completed: Nevada, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, Indiana, Maine, Panama Canal Zone, Rhode Island, and the Virgin Islands
  • In process: California, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia (see the 1940 census page here): No information available yet. (here's the 1940 census page): No information available yet. | census records | FamilySearch | MyHeritage | NARA
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:21:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 30 March 2012
"Who Do you Think You Are?": Rita Wilson
Posted by Diane

It was a teary episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” with Rita Wilson tonight, as she visited Greece and Bulgaria in search of information about her father Allan’s mysterious past.

This is a more-recent search than in most episodes, which made it closer to home for the celebrity.

Wilson’s father, who passed away a few years ago, was born in 1920 in Oraion, Xanthi, Greece.

There was a lot to be sad about in this episode. Bulgaria occupied Xanthi dring World War II. Required to serve in the military, Allan was imprisoned for a petty crime.

After he was paroled and settled in Bulgaria, he married and had a son, Emil—news to Wilson. His wife died when the baby was three days old, and Emil died at four months.

After attempting to leave the country, Allan was detained by the occupying Communists and sent to a labor camp. This information was in a file in the “Secret Files Commission.” A guard’s report detailed his escape.

When Wilson traveled to Greece to meet her father’s brother for the first time, he gives her a letter Allen wrote from America. He was making good money, going to school and having fun. It was the perfect hopeful ending for a tearful show.

If you missed it, you'll be able to watch it on NBC's website.

Got Greek roots? Here's our free online Greek Genealogy Toolkit. You'll find more Greek research advice in the May/June 2012 Family Tree Magazine, which starts mailing to subscribers in April.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Friday, 30 March 2012 21:06:44 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
1940 Census: So Many Records, So Few Eyes
Posted by Diane

This man is:

A) Taking his 1940 census searching WAY too far.

B) Brilliant.

Want to speed up your census search (without buying more computers)? Get tips and watch our free video on finding family in the 1940 census.

Also check out our upcoming Family Tree University course Finding Ancestors in the US Census: Online and Offline Strategies. This genealogy course is $39.99 for the April 30 session only—a $60 savings off the regular price!

census records | Genealogy fun
Friday, 30 March 2012 14:00:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Genealogy News Corral, March 26-30
Posted by Diane

  • More than a million Westminster Parish baptism, marriage and burial records dating back to 1538 now available on subscription and pay-as-you-go site The records come from 50-plus Westminster churches. More Westminster records will go live over the coming months, along with cemetery registers, wills, rate books, settlement examinations, workhouse admission and discharge books, bastardy, orphan and apprentice records, charity documents, and militia and watch records.
  • The 2012 Houston, Texas, Family History Expo takes place Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7. The keynote speaker is Family Tree Magazine's own podcast host Lisa Louise Cooke, and instructors include frequent contributor Lisa A. Alzo. You can register online or at the door, for the whole conference or just one day, or even a single class. Learn more on the Family History Expos website. | census records | Fold3 | Footnote | Genealogy Events | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 30 March 2012 11:49:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
This Sunday on "Finding Your Roots:" Barbara Walters and Geoffrey Canada
Posted by Diane

Remember to watch "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr." this Sunday evening at 8 p.m. ET on PBS. It'll feature the family histories of tv journalist Barbara Walters and Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Bonus: You'll also see  New England Historic Genealogical Society senior researcher Rhonda McClure in action solving Canada's ancestral mysteries.

Here's a preview video in which Canada visits the farm where his enslaved ancestor Thomas lived.

Watch Both Sides of Slavery on PBS. See more from

African-American roots | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy societies | Videos
Friday, 30 March 2012 11:32:25 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 29 March 2012
This Friday on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Rita Wilson
Posted by Diane

This Friday on "Who Do You Think You Are?", Rita Wilson explores her roots in Greece and Bulgaria.

In this preview video, shot in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (also part of the historical region of Thrace, which I learned about while editing the May/June Family Tree Magazine article on Greek genealogy), Wilson uncovers a secret about her father's past:


Here, she meets her uncle for the first time. Word of advice: Grab a tissue.

Incidentally, Bulgaria can be a difficult place to research genealogy, as we pointed out in the September 2007 Family Tree Magazine. If your ancestors hail from there, this show may hold some valuable tips.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos
Thursday, 29 March 2012 12:03:45 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]