Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The 1940's Census

We are all excited to find ancestors in the recently released 1940's census, but it might be awhile before we are able to easily find them. Right now you can find them using enumeration numbers and I will tell you how later. 

First I want to let you know how you can help hurry up the process. If you go to Family Search Indexing you can find information on how to get started indexing the census (and other records) from HOME! It is volunteer but it super simple, the hardest part is reading the hand writing, there is even a test drive on the site so you can try it out. You can do 1 or 50,  you can do half of one before dinner and the other after. You just download a free program, for both PC or Mac, and start; rated beginner, intermit, and advanced; and in practically every language. At least take a look and give it a try. You can also index through the National Archives. I don't care which one, or if its another just pitch in and lets get this information out there.

If you just want to dive in you will want to know the enumeration number. Enumeration numbers are the particular area that a certain census taker was located. So in a county of 100 there may have only needed to be one census taker thus one enumeration number, but in a county of 200,000 there may have been 200 census takers thus 200  enumeration numbers...cross eyed yet? If you go to you can just follow the prompts to find out enumeration numbers and then you can use those to search for the census. Eyes still crossed?
It is really easy I promise just lots of steps and here they are. (This is if you need the enumeration number)

  1. Go to the web site and click Get Started
  1. You will have 2 choices 'Do you know the location where the person lived' or 'Do you know the 1940 enumeration district number' 
  1. Since we are pretending that we don't know the number we are going to pick the first option.
  1. Now enter what you know. I did my home county of Franklin County, Indiana.
  1. Now if you know what area/township you are looking for just find it in the 'description' results, if you don't click on 'maps' and find the area and it tells you. *warning* There might be multiple pages to the map*
  1. Now that you have the ED (enumeration number) for example ED 24-1 click on 'census schedules' and click on the one with the corresponding number.
  1. HUNT! Scroll through till you find the people you are looking for.
See! wouldn't it be easier if you could just go to or the National Archives and search the indexed files?

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott


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