When I finally get the chance to show my grandmother the 1940 U.S. census image which includes her and her family, I know I will get some great new stories! Who were all of those neighbors who she grew up with as friends? Where was she looking for work during the final week of March in 1940? How soon after 1 April 1940 did she finally get that job at the Western Union office where she would meet my grandfather in 1941? The 1940 Census is a great vehicle for inspiring new family stories, but how can we as genealogists help to get those conversations started? One of the best ways, I believe, is to help get the census indexed as quickly as possible -- making the records more accessible for discovery by the general public. What a great boost to genealogy this could be!
After getting over the excitement of exploring the 1940 census upon its release last Tuesday, I have finally settled down to help get the indexes online. It is super easy once you become familiar with using the free online indexing software, and indexing a batch of 40 names doesn't take much time out of your day. It's also helped me to become familiar with enumeration quirks and abbreviations, variations that I might not have otherwise noticed. The increased familiarity can only help me as a genealogist to pull every last bit of information out of these 1940 census records.
As of April 10, FamilySearch Indexing volunteers have the state of Delaware fully indexed, followed closely by Colorado (89%), Kansas (86%), and Oregon (82%). Also well underway are the states of Virginia (23%) and New Hampshire (17%). Indexing has also begun in additional states including California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and Illinois. Won't you join us?