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Find Your Family - Ready, Set, Search

Article Date: 
18 May, 2012 (All day)

Utah will be available to search by name within the next day or two in the 1940 census at FamilySearch.org.  The total states published to search by name as of the present time are Delaware, Virginia, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, New Hampshire, Utah, Florida, and Wyoming.  An additional seven states are close to release.  They are Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Vermont and Hawaii.  Several other states are completing quickly.  The project is nearly 50 percent complete. 

The fields on the census that have been indexed include: name, gender, age marital status, race, relationship to head of household, birthplace, and residence in 1935.  The search can be performed for an individual and can be narrowed by use of their spouse’s name, children’s names, or parent’s name.  Once the individual is found using the index, then the image of the census is only a click away.  The census images are very good quality and the handwriting has generally been excellent.  The images themselves contain a host of additional information including occupation, the address where they were living in 1940, whether the person was seeking work or on a public works project, the number of hours they were working per week, their level of education, whether or not they owned their home, and a variety of other interesting information.  Two individuals on each census sheet will also have additional information including the place of birth of their parents, their mother tongue, for women who have been married whether they were married more than once, and the number of children ever born to them.

Many of those searching will have family members that they know in the census.  Nearly 70 percent of U.S. residents have someone they know in the census.  It is a great opportunity to learn more about our ancestors and more about history.

If you have not taken time to get involved in indexing the census, now is a great time.  More than four million records are being indexed per day.  There is an excitement about this program that I have never seen before.  More than 110,000 individuals have helped to create this index.  If the project continues at its current pace the index will be completed by August.  It is great to be a part of a project that will touch so many lives for so many years.

Whether you are ready to contribute, or just want to learn a little more about your ancestors take a moment to visit FamilySearch.org/1940census.  The states in orange are indexed and published and can be searched by name.  Click on the state and then search for your ancestor (or yourself if you are older than 72).  I hope that you enjoy the experience as much as I have.