by Kerry Scott on 2 April 2012

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Today’s the day. The 1940 census was released was released a minute ago.

You know what I’m not working on today? That.

Not tomorrow either. Not the next day, or the day after. Probably not until…like, August. By then, hopefully, some of my states will be indexed by awesome volunteers. If you’re an awesome volunteer, and you’re scratching your head and saying, “Gee, which state should I index first?” I have a suggestion: Minnesota. Minnesota is an excellent state. It’s full of people with names like Nelson. Nelson is easy to read and easy to type. Minnesota is where it’s at, indexers. You won’t be sorry.

There’s a lot going on here at Clue Wagon Worldwide Headquarters, and it’s leaving zero time for genealogy. Or showering. Plus, I’m not the sort of person who rushes in a crowd to be first. I’m the sort of person who goes to Target or the grocery store when everyone else is at church or watching the Packer game, so I can avoid the rush. I hate the rush. Mostly, though, I just don’t have time. This is like that one time when Y2K happened and I had the stomach flu. I missed all the fun.

So I’m curious. Am I the only one who is sad because she can’t frolick through 1940 this week? Anybody else having to skip it to focus on 2012 stuff?


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill April 2, 2012 at 7:24 am

You know what’s worse? I re-discovered my political activist roots papered over by 40 years of comfortable living. I miss genealogy, where politics is just historical context.


Amy Coffin April 2, 2012 at 7:26 am

It will be a while before I actually get down and dirty with the 1940 census. I prefer to let the crowd pass, the bugs get worked out and an index start to take shape.

Also my genealogy job and writing deadlines take priority and I have tasks on the table.

However, I will be volunteering to index in the coming days. That is important to me.

Get your 2012 stuff done, Kerry. 1940 isn’t going anywhere. :)


Linda McCauley April 2, 2012 at 7:52 am

I’ll be indexing but am waiting until the index is available to search for anyone. The people I really want to find could be just about anywhere so I could browse from now on and never find them. Heck, I can’t find some of them in 1920 and 1930 even with the index.


Elizabeth P April 2, 2012 at 8:08 am

Very early this am I did take a peak on ancestry to see what states are out there and mine weren’t there yet. For my personal research, not sure what 1940 would really help with, but I have a couple of clients that could benefit from these records.

I have volunteered with indexing in the past and hope to do so, things are crazy around here lately though.


C.T. Kruger April 2, 2012 at 8:24 am

I’ll pass on the 1940′s for the moment as I still have a number of relatives whom are of that era. Can’t beat an original source. As for starting in Minnesota, I’d ask they start indexing with the Olsons. I have an Olson who married and Olson…


Rox April 2, 2012 at 9:52 am

I took a quick look to see what was available (not much), and promptly wandered off. If my family lived in Guam or Rhode Island (two of the handful of places available to browse on Ancestry this morning) in 1940, I might be spending time paging through, but all my folks were in California. Clicking on a link to the US Archives yielded nothing but impatience from me while I waited for the site to load.

I’m going to wait for an index.


GrannyPam April 2, 2012 at 10:08 am

This morning I cleaned the house and started the wash. This afternoon, I will do some volunteer work for the genealogy society. I ham hoping to sneak in time to watch the WDYTYA episodes I have on my DVR. I am preparing for a visit from my mother-in-law (more cleaning). I leave for Salt Lake City in the 17th, so all the genealogy time that I can squeak out will go toward preparation for that trip. 1940 census? I will do some indexing. I will search when I get the time, after Salt Lake!


Cheryl Rothwell April 2, 2012 at 11:10 am

I already know who they are, where they are, etc. They are in the same place they were in 1930, just 10 years older. And 1920 and 1910 and so on. My ancestors were very considerate, all in the same township of the same county for years. I am a volunteer to index that county though.


Kathy Reed April 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I haven’t peeked at it yet either. Like Cheryl, my very considerate relatives are in the same place they were in 1930. It was the depression after all.


Jacqi April 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Okay, okay, so I can take the hint, already! ;)

I do think it’s important to do the “giving back” thing, so I will be finding a way to regularly SQUEEZE in indexing.

But not this week.

I’m with you, Kerry. I’m a miss-the-rush kind o’ gal. I think it’s great these organizations were able to create the buzz, but it would be overkill if something managed to crash at the grand opening. I’ll bide my time and tap in some entries on a quiet evening hidden away in, oh, mid-May.

After all, I’m still busy missing the income-tax rush :P


James Aylard April 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Maybe I’m lazy, but I’m still updating my research with data I collected over two years ago on some genealogy research trips. It finally dawned on me that it is a bit foolish and wasteful to develop a research plan, travel to some remote place, gather a bushel-full of data, and then fail to actually add it to my genealogy software where I can analyze it in context. As Amy Coffin mentioned, 1940 isn’t going anywhere – and neither am I until I put into proper place what I already have. No point in adding even more to the In basket. And at my current rate, I’ll probably be reviewing the 1940 census about the time 1950 is released.


Rosemary April 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I’m with you James. Right now I’m cleaning up my sources for the 1903 Electoral Rolls for the State of Victoria. After that it’s on to 1903 for Western Australia. Hubby’s folks in Alabama and Virginia can just wait.


Karen April 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Nope, and I didn’t go to see The Hunger Games last weekend, either! Let the crowds and hoopla die down a bit, I say! Besides, I’m not ready to flash forward to 1940; my family history has me immersed in 19th century records. Planning a big trip to Ireland and Scotland for on-the-ground research; leave in six weeks — wahoo!


Linda Gartz April 2, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I knew exactly what I was looking for: my grandparents: so I looked up their names and it popped right up. No big news for me, however. I already knew everything in there. Just wanted to look. Did happen to find my grandfather’s 1942 draft registration card (at age 52!) in the 1940s folder. Didn’t even occur to me that he would have had to register for the draft at his age. So…I agree everyone should take her/his time. Say, anyone know how to get a full copy of the census that’s readable? I can only read portions at a time if blown up to readable size.


Greta Koehl April 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I’m not a “see the movie on the first day” person, either. Plus my day job is beating up on me and stealing my research time. But I did try to get on and find something when I got home. I know I can find people in Texas, and I know which large but sparsely populated counties I want to look in and how to find their ED numbers. It’s not helping. Neither Ancestry nor Family Search has Texas, and the 1940 census part of the NARA site is not really functioning right now. Wah.


Sara G. April 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

What a relief to know I’m not the only genealogist letting today pass by as a normal Monday! (However one defines normal Mondays) I’m in no particular hurry to get to 1940 – maybe because I’m between generations. My parents weren’t born in 1940, and my grandparents were all found in 1930.


Jan Ahrens April 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm


For you awesome volunteers, work on Ohio next (only after Minnesota because, well, Kerry owns this site!). Yep, I did the same – got excited to go look and see what was there but should have known better. Oh, and Ancestry pops you into all these other “1940s-esque” type of databases which is a little confusing at first.


Julie Michutka April 7, 2012 at 8:30 am

I confess, I did hit the census within hours. I wanted the pre-indexing thrill of the hunt for a couple of favorite research subjects. Plus, the timing was perfect for me–I’m “off-duty” for two weeks on my part-time job, and I can’t do a number of other time-sucking chores (housework, cooking, yard work) due to my arm being in a sling for two months. Yeah, I know you’re all jealous when you hear that surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff gets you out of housework! But for all else, I’m waiting for the indexes, and while I’m waiting, I’m indexing a bit every morning.


Jessi S April 17, 2012 at 11:36 am

I’m with you. I’m not bothering until the indexing is done. MINNESOTA PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!


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