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The 1940 Census

April 2, 2012. The wait is over. If you are a genealogist, you have had this date circled for some time. For those of you wondering the importance of April 2, 2012 – no, it is not a new day after April Fool’s holiday – it is the release of the 1940 Census! 

For privacy reasons, censuses are not available for public use for 72 years, so when one gets released, we all get a little excited. Census records can provide a wealth of information if you are researching a family, person, neighborhood or community. 

One note – when the 1940 census is first released there will not be a name index. So, if you are trying to find a specific person, you will need to know where they lived and their enumeration district. Several websites have tips for tracking down enumeration districts: 
National Archives: or
Stephen Morse:

Over the next few weeks, several online databases and websites will be frantically indexing the census records so you will be able to search by a specific name. We have several of the databases available for free in our library, if you want to visit and explore the 1940 Census. 

For more information on the 1940 Census, including tips and tricks for using it in your research, join us for our Learning the 1940 Census workshop on April 14. For more information or to register online, click here. 


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Comments (2)

1. Kenta says

June 4, 2012 at 9:48 p.m.
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2. Teresa Shriver says

Feb. 6, 2013 at 9:53 p.m.
I was so excited for the 1940 census to come out because it would be the first one my mom was in. Unfortunately, I think they missed or lost a page. I've tried everything to find her but can't. She was living with her mother Ocie Mitchell. Her name is Mary Suzanne, but she has always been called Suzie. I found that my gramma was in a 1942 directory living at 3742 Kenwood. Is there any way for me to find out what township that may have been in? I thought maybe I could go through the census a page at a time to see if I can find them....and that is hoping that they were living in the same place in 1940. My home email address is Anything you can tell me would be appreciated.