Do you have the opening of the 1940 Census on April 2, 2012 marked on your calendar? We do here at the National Archives.
For past Census releases we provided access to the Census on microfilm. For the 1940 Census we will be providing free online access. You’ll be able to search on the internet using the public computers in our research rooms or your own computer. Our Digitization Lab has completed the digitization of the 1940 Census, creating over 3.8 million digital images of Census schedules, maps, and enumeration district descriptions. In addition we have indexed the Census schedules to the enumeration district level.
While our preparations are underway, how can you prepare for the opening of the 1940 Census?
The 1940 Census does not have a name index so in order to locate someone you will need to know the enumeration district (ED) in which they lived. If you know where someone resided in 1940, you can search the 1940 Census ED maps for an address and then locate the ED number for that address.
We have uploaded the 1940 Census maps to our Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and plan to add them to our new Online Public Access system later this year.
To search the maps go to ARC at http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/
In the search box enter 1940 Census maps and the name of the county: 1940 Census maps Sussex County
Hit the search button. Hint: If you have a common county name, you may also want to include the name of the state or town in the search terms to narrow your results: 1940 Census maps Sussex County Delaware.
Click on the map you wish to see. Find the address of the person for whom you are searching on the map and then locate the enumeration district number for the address. The ED number will include two parts: the county number and actual enumeration district number. Most maps include other numbers so you will need to carefully search for the ED number (shown below in the red box).
Once you have the enumeration district numbers, save those numbers for next April when the 1940 Census goes online!