Thursday, March 29, 2012

1940 Census Availability

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 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 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 The website is being provided under contract to NARA by

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 beginning at 12:01. That means some other organization besides NARA can have bragging rights for publishing the first images.

Indexing Batches

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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this information. I will forward it on to my cousin who is the one on the edge of her proverbial chair. Now, we only have to worry about Archives crashing, assuming that the message gets out which it will since I have followed the census, NARA, and archives on twitter for weeks. I knew about the situation w FS indexing since I am an indexer but I also know there are lots whe, like you are dying to get at it. IMO it will still be interesting.


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