Since publishing yesterday’s article, I asked FamilySearch about census availability and learned the following.
Images for the census will not magically, suddenly appear on FamilySearch.org. Images will appear for one state at a time. Images must go through their normally publication process. The first state will appear sometime Monday morning. Subsequent states will each take hours, amounting to a day for large states.
I imagine the process will be much the same on Ancestry.com. It is not enough to load the images on a server. The website must also provide the ability to browse to images of interest, such as the town or an enumeration district in a city. I consider this a horse race and will watch with great interest to see who gets images up fastest.
Things are different for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). They get a head start, so images will magically appear on their site. At 9:00 am Monday Eastern Time, all the images of the census will magically appear at http://1940census.archives.gov/. The website is being provided under contract to NARA by Archives.com.
The 9:00am release creates an interesting scenario. If I am not mistaken, the images will be sold on hard drives to organizations like FamilySearch and Ancestry.com beginning at 12:01. That means some other organization besides NARA can have bragging rights for publishing the first images.
I learned a couple of things for those wanting to help FamilySearch index the 1940 census. I understand FamilySearch will get the message out once they are ready. The challenge is getting enough states ready that indexers are not frustrated by lack of a batch to download.
Indexers are being instructed to come and index sometime during the week rather than trying to catch the first batch. So much for my crash prediction.
But what about my nerves? I’m going to be pretty much a basket case until I index 1940. See. I told you something would crash.