Monday, April 2, 2012

The 1940 U.S. Census Has Arrived!!!!

For those involved in the genealogy world, the long awaited day has arrived. The National Archives released the 1940 census for viewing. Naturally, the servers are overworked with anxious genealogists trying to get a peak at the newest census records. 

I was working on last night and as the clock turned to a new day Ancestry posted an announcement about the 1940 census being opened. What an opportunity! I thought I might be the first one to actually perform a search. That was not to be as the census went live at 8:00 a.m. not midnight.

As with anything new, there will be a learning curve in finding ancestors in this census for records have been organized by enumeration districts. Enumeration districts are divisions within a township or county. Census takers were assigned an enumeration district. Each E.D. has a number. If you know the enumeration district your ancestor resided in, it should be pretty easy to locate their census records. However, if their residence is unknown, the task will be much more difficult.

My grandfather, George William Meyer, lived in the enumeration district 16-2200.  I entered his name, state and enumeration district number into the appropriate places at The National Archives website thinking I would receive information on one E.D. Naturally, this district is divided into two sections. As I don’t know which section he lived in, finding his information would require searching on a map of the area. The National Archives browsers are swamped with eager genealogist research requests and I couldn’t pull the information in a timely way. Patience will be required.

Please meet my grandfather, George William Meyer. His sons and two of his future daughter-in-laws surround him in their family home. Alvin leans against the door frame. Paul kneels and is wearing the reindeer sweater. My father sits on the floor with my Auntie Betty's arm around his shoulder. Grandpa sits in his rocker happy to have his sons safely home from war. Bob and his future bride, Arlene, are in the right hand corner of the photo. This photo was most likely taken by George, the family's photographer.

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