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<2012 April>

More Links

# Tuesday, 03 April 2012
1940 Census Status Update: Which States Are Where
Posted by Diane

1940 census record images for the entire United States are at Here's where else to look for records from your ancestral states:

  • Complete: American Samoa, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, Panama Canal Zone, Rhode Island, Virgin Islands
  • Almost complete: California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington
  • Next up: Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon & Vermont.


  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Oregon
  • Virginia


  • California
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island (an index for Bristol County, RI, is available)
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming | census records | FamilySearch | MyHeritage | NARA
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 17:02:43 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Finding Family in the 1940 Census on
Posted by Diane

When I noticed last night that had posted 1940 US census records for Indiana, I decided to look for relatives there even though I hadn't done my enumeration district (ED) homework for them. I did know where these particular relatives lived.

I started with's collection of 1940 enumeration district maps.

In this collection, if you search, you'll get the ED descriptions (listing boundaries of the ED, or areas covered), which are linked to maps. Enter the city, county and state for the location, and a word, such as a street name, that might appear in the description.

If you browse, you go straight to the maps (annoyingly, it doesn't seem easy to go from the map to the accompanying description—this is done much more easily on the National Archives 1940 census website).

I decided to browse. I chose the state and county, and selected "other places" for the city.

This ED map has four pages, and it was easy to find Fairland on the first page.

I wasn't sure which number on the map was the ED I needed, so I opened a new window to search' 1940 census records. (Wouldn't it be SO COOL if the ED maps were linked to the census collection? But they're not, so you'll wan to have the map available to refer back to if you need it.) 

Under Browse This Collection, I chose Indiana, Shelby County, and since Fairland wasn't listed under Populated Place, I picked Brandywine, the township it's in. 73-10 popped up as the ED, which looks right from the ED map. 

I clicked on 73-10 and the first page of records from that ED appeared. I flipped through the pages using the arrows above the record (you also could type in a number to jump ahead several pages).

Tip: If you know the street name where your family lived, check the left edge of the page. Enumerators wrote street names here, so you can see if you're on the right track or skip to the page(s) with the street you need. 

Except my family wasn't in these records. 

Back on the ED map, I roughly traced the farm's location. It's a little north of Fairland, near where Van Buren is marked on the map. 

Now back in the 1940 census collection, I clicked on Brandywine in the "breadcrumb trail" at the top of the page and switched to Van Buren township.

More clicking through pages—and I found them! My great-uncle was one of the two people per page to answer the supplemental questions. (Learn more about the 1940 census questions here.) 

That was fairly easy, since the family lived in a small town. Trying to find my Cincinnati ancestors without an ED was a different story. I had no problem finding where they lived (circled) on an ED map:

But what's the ED number? The map has several faded numbers on it. I tried browsing records from EDs 91-11, 91-12, among others, but none were for this area. Searching the ED descriptions wasn't helpful, either. It would've been a lot faster to use the One-Step 1940 ED Finder before beginning.

On the plus side, I did unintentionally find my grandfather who wasn't from Cincinnati! I noticed the YMCA was in one of the EDs I was searching, and remembered a story from when I was little about my grandfather staying there (we talked about it whenever we heard the "YMCA" song). But I didn't know when. Well, it just happened to be in 1940. Once I find my grandmother, maybe I can figure out where a farm girl from Indiana met a guy from Texas and Cleveland. | census records
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 11:45:37 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
1940 Census Update: Which States Are Online & Where
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and continue to make improvements to, and it's working better today than it did yesterday.

That's still the only site with all the 1940 US census records, but other sites are quickly adding them. Here's where else you can find which states/territories as of now:

  • American Samoa
  • California
  • Delaware
  • DC
  • Guam
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Panama Canal
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virgin Islands
  • Virginia
  • Washington


  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • Oregon
  • Virginia I can't find an at-a-glance list here. You'll see all states in the search dropdown menu, and when you search on one that's not yet available, you'll get results but with a "coming soon" message. Update: The folks at MyHeritage sent me this list of available records, with more coming soon:

  • California
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Virginia | | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | MyHeritage | NARA
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 09:51:37 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1] Statement on 1940 Census Site Problems
Posted by Diane, the company that designed the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) 1940 census website, reassured genealogists on its blog that problems with the 1940 census website are being addressed.
"As the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) official development partner on this project, 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."
Yesterday after the census was released, many researchers (including yours truly) couldn't get record images to load or even access the site. That was due to traffic that, according to, "exceeded even our own most optimistic estimates several times over." 

NARA reported 22.5 million hits within the first few hours after launching the 1940 census. Last night on its Facebook page, NARA reported 37 million hits. has been working with to add server capacity. This morning before work, I was finally able to access the census records I needed quickly and easily, and found my great-grandfather in Cleveland.

Read the post from here. | census records | NARA
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 08:38:18 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]