Have you looked at the 1940 Census? The first day (Monday) was almost impossible – too many people trying to see, to the point where the servers were overwhelmed. The second day was pretty much the same for me, but there were a number of notices of different places getting the images online and so the traffic seemed to ease. (If you’d like to see more on that, NARA and Archives.org put together a great little graphic that you can see by clicking the left hand graphic or here.) Today, I finally managed to peek online and within just a few minutes, found my mother’s family! It helps that they lived in a smallish town, and I had a pretty good idea where to look – there were only two enumeration districts to choose from, as well.
Fun things I learned: they rented their house for $26 a month, and my grandfather was making $5000 a year. Five years previously, they were living in Beaumont, Texas. I never knew they had lived there, and my mother was too young to have remembered it. So I picked up many small details just from the single opportunity I had to check them out.
If you’re interested in indexing, so that you don’t have to read through page after page of images, you can do that too! Officially known as the “1940 Census Community Project” you go to the site, read all about it, then if you’re still interested, download the software to your computer. (Sorry, tablets and cell phones won’t work.) Family Search says that online volunteers completed the indexing for the state of Delaware in the first 24 hours! But don’t think there’s not plenty still to do – next up are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Virginia. And there are other indexing projects that were going on before the census, including WWI Draft Registration Cards. So there’s plenty of work to go around. Join us – and have a great time!