Happy 1940 Census Day!!
After a brief scare that the 1940 US census would not be made available after all (yes, my heart skipped a few beats thanks to this fabulous April Fool’s Day blog post from The Ancestry Insider) all went well and the 1940 US Census became available this morning at 7 a.m. MDT.
I feel like I’ve been a part of history today. I was up at the crack of dawn to watch the live webcast of the opening event from the National Archives, then with millions of other people helped to completely overwhelm the the 1940 Census website! They expected a flood, and got a tsunami! There were over 22.5 million hits on the website in the first 3 hours. Needless to say, not too many people have been able to search!
By some fluke though, at 8:15 this morning, I was able to download enumeration district 30-112 for northwest Salt Lake City, and after scanning surnames on the first nine pages, I found my grandfather!
He’s living with his mother and grandmother. I hadn’t calculated his age beforehand, but was struck by the fact that he was 11 years old when the census was taken. I have an 11-year-old son! Seeing that made me feel a connection with his mother that I’ve never felt before. I know that a good many of my ancestors must have had 11-year-old sons at one point or another, but it was just neat to see this 11-year-old boy and his mother preserved in the 1940 census. It was worth all the sleep I didn’t get last night! For genealogists, this was a big deal–almost like Christmas . . . only to find you couldn’t unwrap the present you wanted in the morning!
But no matter, technical glitches will be overcome. It’s exciting to see how popular this census is and hopefully it means that many more people will become interested in family history. It’s been fun to watch the updates on blogs and at all the different sites all day. We had Glenn Miller playing through breakfast to get us in the mood and still managed to get all of our schoolwork done for the day!
I was lucky in that I only had to search through 9 pages for my grandfather. I have enumeration districts narrowed down for my other three grandparents so whenever I can access Utah and Idaho images in the next few days (weeks?), I’ll be set. I honestly don’t even know where to begin looking for all the other people I’d like to find from DH’s and my family trees. I will have to wait for the index.
So let the indexing begin! You can still get involved! FamilySearch promised to have indexing projects for Delaware, Virginia, Colorado, Kansas, and Oregon up by 8 p.m. tonight, but they’re already ahead of schedule. Guess what I’ll be doing tonight? I just downloaded my first batch, in the city of Christiana, Delaware!