For the last 72 years, the 1940 Census records have been locked away by law. Yesterday, April 2 2012, they finally became available to the public on the internet.
At first the servers holding all this data crashed due to the high demand. Indeed, I was one of those folks that caused such demand. However, overnight the powers that be proceeded to stand up a bunch of servers in “the big cloud in the sky” and suddenly things started working.
And things got very interesting…
Today was special… Not only was it my deceased Dad’s birthday, but I was able to finally access the details of what was on record about my family circa 1940. My paternal grandfather and grandmother are 59 and 51 years old respectively and my Dad is listed as being 18 years old. Just a few years later he would be serving in Europe as part of the 13th Armored Division.
I saved the JPG’s of the census listings on my laptop. This afternoon, after work I visited with my aunt – my Dad’s eldest sister. She is my cousin Jim’s Mom and she is 96 years old. When I showed her the records I had found and start reading the names of the people next to my grandfather and grandmother’s entry, she starts telling me who these folks were and where they lived. She started telling me all this as if it were yesterday. This, from a lady that is 96 years old!! Remarkable stuff indeed.
If you have a little bit of time and some curiosity, go find out about your family. You might be surprised at what you find. The search engine provided is not exactly perfect: there is no search by name and/or address. However there are some great instructions online showing how to access the database. If you are interested, CLICK HERE. This will take you to the National Archives 1940 Census website.