1940 US census transcription project needs your help

By mattelton, 14 March 2012 - 11:00am

Project organisers are calling on family historians from around the world to help make a major genealogical resource available to search on the web for free

Wednesday, 14 March 2012
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Project organisers are calling on family historians from around the world to help make a major genealogical resource available to search on the web for free.

The 1940 US census is set to be published online at www.archives.gov/research/census by the US National Archives and Records Association on Monday, 2 April. However, the survey will not be transcribed at the time of launch, and the team behind a new website at www.the1940census.com hope that users will join forces to work on the entries to produce a complete name index for fellow researchers to explore.

Documenting a population of an estimated 130 million people, the project to digitise the census has been carried out by the US National Archives and Records Association, and will be available to transcribe thanks to a partnership between major genealogy organisations Archives.com, FamilySearch International and findmypast.com.

The information recorded by enumerators included name, age, gender and place of birth, as well as the name of the person who responded to the questions, the place in which household members had lived five years previously and the highest educational grade that they had achieved.

“The 1940 US census is a very significant release, and one much awaited by amateur and professional genealogists alike,” says family historian Jenny Thomas. “The survey contains vast amounts of data, offering a detailed snapshot of our US kin shortly before the turmoil of the Second World War. Many genealogists will find themselves working within living memory when they consult this census, and for others it will help to fill a void where other records may still be confidential.”

The US features a diverse mixture of nationalities and ethnic groups: appoximately 35 per cent of its present-day inhabitants have English or Irish ancestry. This global reach means that the new project is open to researchers from across the world, with special software already available to download in preparation for the start of the transcription process. To take part and find out how to get hold of a copy of the free program in advance of the census' release, click here.

 
TAKE IT FURTHER

Find out more about the US census in the April issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, on sale from Tuesday, 20 March

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