It seems as if everyone has been spreading the message for weeks that no name index would be available when the 1940 census launched this morning. Yet, I think the reality of this doesn't really sink in for most people until they are faced with having to search for an address or select something they've never heard of called a 1940 enumeration district number. What is an enumeration district? How am I supposed to know where someone lived in 1940? What can't I just search for her name? All completely understandable questions.
Now experienced genealogists, I'm obviously not speaking to you, but events like the launch of the 1940 census provide a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get a little glimpse into the records, history and stories that we find so fascinating. If you're reading this and feel like locating someone in the 1940 census might be something only reserved for genealogists, think again. I'm willing to bet anyone can master the process with a little guidance, time, and patience.
Want to try it for yourself? A search for Babe Ruth in the 1940 census demonstrates how to locate individuals living in a big city, while searching for Albert Einstein in the 1940 census shows how to handle a search in a small town. If your ancestor is likely living in the same place in 1940 as they were in 1930, then check out this example of searching for Laura Ingalls Wilder in the 1940 census.
More: How to Find Someone in the 1940 Census - Step by Step