The 1940 Census is Here


72 years ago, the United States government sent census takers door-to-door to take a complete count of all the inhabitants of the U.S.  They recorded the following bits of information about our ancestors: Name, Address, Age, Place of birth, Sex, Marital status, Relation to head of household, Color or race, School attendance, Home ownership, Value of house/rental, and Employment. The census is taken every ten years to determine congressional districts and the apportionment of federal monies to states and counties.

On Monday, April 2, 2012, the 1940 census data will be fully released to the public for the very first time!  This census is not indexed at this time, although volunteers will begin working on an index April 2.  Not having an index will make it more challenging to find your relatives, but not impossible. Check out some search tips and tricks here.

The 1940 census will be available freely online at the National Archives website beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST on April 2; and some states (including Indiana) have been uploaded to Ancestry Library Edition (one of our online databases, available at all SJCPL branches). If you find that you need assistance learning how to use the census website or finding your family in the census, Local & Family History Services will be happy to help, so come on in and visit us anytime on the 2nd floor of the Main Library.


  1. Bring it on!

  2. Access to this information is terrific not only for genealogy but for historians as well. It will be interesting to take a glimpse of America before World War II.

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