1940 US Census Will Be Made Available by Ancestry.com For FREE When It Will Be Released!

Hi Everyone!

I came across this good piece of news that all of you researchers should make note of regarding the release of the 1940 US Census data in April 2012.

Ancestry.com has noted that it will be making that data available both as images and indexed names FOR FREE once it is released and being made free to all to the end of 2013.

It appears that once the 1940 Census data is released in April 2012, there will be a ramp-up on a piecemeal basis for both the indexed names and the images associated with the names.  It is a little unclear that all of the images and indexes would be available instantly when the census data is released.  It just seems logical that the data will be made available in parts as aspects of indexing and image matching are completed.

It also appears that the “free” aspects of accessing the data via Ancestry.com will be available will last through the end of 2013 at which time it would appear that only Ancestry.com subscribers or libraries purchasing Ancestry Library Edition will have the data available in the data bases included with subscription.

What follows in Italics is the full press release from Ancestry.com that was posted on GeneaPress.com that you can reach at www.geneapress.com for all kind of press release information associated with genealogy:


1940 Census To Be Free on Ancestry.com

PROVO, UTAH (August 17, 2011) – Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced that both the images and indexes to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made free to search, browse, and explore in the United States when this important collection commences streaming onto the website in mid-April 2012.
When complete, more than 3.8 million original document images containing 130 million plus records will be available to search by more than 45 fields, including name, gender, race, street address, county and state, and parents’ places of birth. It will be Ancestry.com’s most comprehensively indexed set of historical records to date.
Ancestry.com is committing to make the 1940 Census free from release through to the end of 2013, and by doing so hopes to help more people get started exploring their family history.  As this census will be the most recent to be made publicly available, it represents the best chance for those new to family history to make that all-important first discovery.
“The release of the 1940 U.S. Census will be an exciting event for any American interested in learning more about their family history,” said Ancestry.com CEO Tim Sullivan. “By making this hugely important collection free to the public for an extended period, we hope to inspire a whole new generation of Americans to start researching their family history.”
“Ancestry.com is working to make the 1940 Census a truly unique interactive search experience…as well as the starting point to help new users easily get started on the world’s leading online family history resource.  After finding that first family connection in the 1940 Census, we believe new users will be able to make amazing discoveries by searching our 7 billion digitized historical records, exploring the 26 million family trees created on Ancestry, and collaborating with our nearly 1.7 million subscribing members. We think that 2012 is going to be a great year of discovery for all family historians.”
About Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com)
Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world’s largest online family history resource, with nearly 1.7 million paying subscribers. More than 7 billion records have been added to the site in the past 14 years. Ancestry users have created more than 26 million family trees containing over 2.6 billion profiles. Ancestry.com has local Web sites directed at nine countries that help people discover, preserve and share their family history, including its flagship Web site at www.ancestry.com.
This is great news!  It is certainly a nice gesture by Ancestry.com to make this data available for free and for such an initially long period of time through 2013.
It is also very nice that apparently 45 fields of information from the census data are going to be created, meaning that you will be able to search within the data through a variety of fields of information and probably multiple fields of information allowing you to really hone in on your ancestors.
It looks like we will all be excitedly waiting until April 2012 rolls around so we can really roll up our sleeves and start digging into more data on our ancestors that were in the US at the time of the 1940 US Census.
Thanks to Ancestry.com for this wonderful gesture!
Be patient!
You now know where you will be able to get this new and exciting ancestral data when it becomes available.
Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township Dsitrict Library

2 responses to “1940 US Census Will Be Made Available by Ancestry.com For FREE When It Will Be Released!

  1. All the images for the population schedules will be released on April 2nd, 2012. If not on Ancestry, then by (or for) the National Archives. The images are indexed to location right now, down to the ED number, but not by name. It is likely that Ancestry will “roll out” name indexes as they are completed, and it probably will take at least 6 months before all the states and territories are done. In the meantime, locational tools can be used to find families on this census. For a look at all the strategies, if you have the location of your 1940 family, use our tutorial at:

    • Hi Dr. Weintraub,

      Thank you for your clarification on the sequence of events on what will be happening with the release of the 1940 Census by Ancestry.com or NARA if Ancestry.com does not immediately release the 1940 Census images.

      It definitely sounds like for those that are very ambitious they will have access to look at the 1940 Census images ala a “microfilm” perspective by doing their preliminary research to determine the Enumeration District (ED) of their ancestor for the 1940 Census and then going to that ED that will be online either as planned with Ancestry.com or via the National Archives if Ancestry.com does not make it available as soon as it is released.

      Thanks also for your link to the 1940 Census tutorial that the Steve Morse site has to help researchers learn best how to strategize working with the 1940 Census data when released, and especially before the indexes are available.

      If researchers “know” the location of their 1940 ancestors then they can take advantage of all of your helpful material to be able to look at the online ED data prior to the indexes being made available.

      Thank you again for your clarifying comments.

      Tony Kierna
      Genealogy Coordinator
      Schaumburg Township District Library

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