The 1940 Census
On Monday, April 2, the 1940 United States Federal Population Census became available for public viewing. By U.S. law, the Federal Census is kept private for 72 years. The last one released was the 1930 census in April 2002.
The release of the 1940 census is a boon to researchers. The National Archives website is the official home of the 1940 census, but Ancestry Library Edition (available at all Wichita Public Library locations), Heritage Quest (available with the Kansas Library Card from any Internet computer), and Family Search (available free of charge at all users) also are adding browsable images to their databases.
Searchable indexes may take months to be fully complete. However, on Family Search, the 1940 census every-name index for the state of Kansas is already complete thanks to to the work of thousands of volunteers. See https://www.familysearch.org/1940census/ to see how progress is being made in other states.
The National Archives will provide access, free of charge, to the digitized 1940 census beginning the morning of April 2 at: http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/
This site also includes other helpful research tools such as how to start your census research, how to use the 1940 census, blank census forms, and a list of questions on the census.
One Stop Website
Until the census is fully indexed, use the Steve Morse One Stop Website to determine Enumeration Districts on the 1940 census to easily browse to a person's name.
If the person lived in Wichita, you are in luck. It is one of several dozen cities with extra information for the Enumeration District. Visit http://stevemorse.org/census/unified.html to search for the Enumeration District by street address.
Questions Asked on the Census
The 1940 census included standard questions such as name, relationship, age, gender, race, education, citizenship, and place of birth. Street names and house numbers are recorded. Residence information includes whether a farm or home, owned or rented, value of home or rent paid, and number of farm on farm schedule.
New information recorded on the census includes marking which person supplied the census information, whether people worked for certain government agencies or whether they were looking for work, their income, and most importantly their residence on April 1, 1935.
Usual census information that was not recorded in 1940 is parent’s place of birth, language spoken in home, military service, usual occupation, and age of first marriage and number of children for women. For these questions, there is only supplemental information on two names per page, about a 5% sample, that is recorded with this data.
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