1940 Census Index
Is there a 1940 Census Index?
There is not currently a 1940 census index, but given the popularity of using census schedules for family history research, it's likely that one or more organizations will undertake a project to index all 132 million names. By using a 1940 census index, you will be able to save countless hours by quickly finding the exact enumeration schedule containing the 1940 census data for your ancestors — and their entire family!
Why and How Will a 1940 Census Index Be Created?
Without a 1940 census index, you would need to know the state, county, city/town, and exact enumeration district for each of your ancestors — something much harder to find for most researchers. As with any large collection of records, the originals or a microfilm copy must first be scanned or photographed (this process is often referred to as 'digitization'). Once a collection of digital images exist, it becomes much easier to post them online either publicly or privately for specially trained individuals to perform the data extraction or 'transcription' work — the process of typing the names, numbers, and other information recorded on each 1940 census form. Often times for such a large undertaking, individual entries are transcribed twice — once each by two different individuals. An electronic comparison can then be done and those entries which match are assumed to have been correctly transcribed. If the transcribed entries don't match, it is an indication of a record that may be hard to read or that perhaps a keystroke error was accidentally made. Either way, a third skilled technicial will take a closer look to determine what the original entry was.
One common misconception that modern-day researchers have is the notion that historical records should be corrected when errors are found. For example, the father may appear as the head of household along with his wife and five children, but his gender may be accidetally recorded as 'F' for female or his marital status may be listed as 'S'. Any number of errors were possible at the time the census enumerator was recording the family data. It is generally accepted that the best transcription work is done by those who don't pass judgment on past mistakes, but simply record things exactly as they see them so as to preserve the essense of the original historical record.
As we await a 1940 census index, you can start becoming familiar with the process by looking for family members that may have been counted in the 1930 census.
Other Useful Sites for Genealogy & Family History Research
As you research your family history, you will quickly realize the 1940 census is not the only source, nor can any one source answer all your questions. This is true for original source material, physical archives, and those archives that have been digitized and transcribed for online searching via the Internet.
Here are some other genealogy sites our visitors have found useful:
¤ Genealogy 101 Tips for Beginners & Free forms
¤ FamilySearch (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
¤ Ellis Island (The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation)
¤ American Immigrant Wall of Honor at Ellis Island
¤ 1880 Census - free details for researching 1880 census records
¤ 1900 Census - free details for researching 1900 census records
¤ 1930 Census - free details for researching 1930 census records
¤ Vital Records tips at The Family History Zone
¤ New York Passenger Lists, detail about the Port of NY
¤ SteveMorse.org (One Step Search - including 1940 census)
¤ Genealogy Books (Google Your Family Tree)
¤ Genealogy Forms (Free Downloadable Charts & Forms)
¤ APG (Association of Professional Genealogists)
¤ Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter (by Dick Eastman)
¤ Internet Genealogy (from the publishers of Family Chronicle)
If you know of other 1940 census index or other helpful genealogy sites, please contact us.