Monday, April 2, 2012

1940 has arrived!

Starting today, you can look for family in the 1940 U.S. Census.

If all you've ever experienced was a nicely indexed census where all you have to do is type in the name of the person you're looking for and, voila, it appears out of thin air, then be forewarned.

This census, at least for the time being, is going to be a lot of tedious, frustrating work.

Indexing is in the works, and if you feel up to the task, volunteers are signing up every day to help with the process. I'm both excited about and dreading this day - I'm looking forward to finding out what happened to some of the individuals in my family who I last saw in 1930 - I know a lot about their early years but almost nothing about their later years. But I remember a time, not too long ago, when the 1920 census wasn't indexed, and I had to sit at my computer, for hours on end, on one page, a street map of Brooklyn on the other, and try to find, based on my ancestors' addresses, the proper enumeration district, and THEN scroll through that district page by page by page by get the idea. For now, that's what we're all in for. And while it's time-consuming work, in a way, I'm kind of looking forward to it, because it puts the detective aspect back into genealogy. This information is not going to be handed to you on a silver platter. You're going to have to earn it. It's going to be boring. It's going to make you want to tear your hair out. But when you find what you're looking for, boy, is it worth it!

Good luck everyone - happy hunting!

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