Friday, February 3, 2012

Blogger Dinner: Help Index the 1940 Census

“A national service project is what we’re organizing,” said Don Anderson of FamilySearch., brightsolid, and FamilySearch sponsored a dinner for RootsTech bloggers Wednesday night and one subject was predominantly on their minds: 1940 census.

1940 US Census Community Project

Anderson is FamilySearch senior vice president of Patron Services. His support organization utilizes 250,000 volunteers, 110 phone lines, and provides 24x7 support anytime, anywhere in the world, and in any of 30 languages.

The National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) will release the 1940 census to the public on 2 April 2012. I understand that images will be available immediately on ( won the contract with NARA to host the images for them.)

FamilySearch and its partners, and brightsolid, ( see “1940 Census Consortium”) will post images on their websites as quickly as possible. (My money is on beating them.)

Then FamilySearch will engage its volunteers to begin the long task of indexing.

They will need to add 100,000 indexers to complete the project, so they want everyone to sign up. (See

FamilySearch’s partners have provided funding as part of the partnership. “If we can use only volunteers,” said Anderson, “then the money will be used to produce more records.”

Volunteers will be able to select batches of records from states of interest. Initially, only some states will be available, but eventually all states will be available. FamilySearch will publish completed state indexes once a month.

Will the initial surge of volunteers crash FamilySearch’s indexing system, as has happened so many Sundays in the past?

Stay tuned…


P.S. A FamilySearch spokesman yesterday alerted me that you can now find in the Android marketplace an application named FamilySearch Indexing (Beta). The iOS/iPhone/iPad application is under review.

P.P.S. brightsolid told us their beta U.S. census website has been online for a little while. It is at

P.P.P.S. Thursday FamilySearch released U.S. censuses for years 1790 through 1840, and for 1890. Among, brightsolid, and FamilySearch, FamilySearch was the last to get the entire U.S. census online. With that in mind, who do you think will be the first company to get the entire 1940 census index online?

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