You can help with the 1940 Census Index!

I’ve seen a couple of threads on the 1940 Census that was recently opened to the public after the required 72 year delay. I’ve enjoyed looking for my family. As a result, I found out that the indexing of the records is a community effort.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool that could help with the indexing; so I downloaded the software and have already helped index a couple of census pages; and some legal papers regarding Oklahoma land ownership.

I didn’t check with the mods on this, but since this is a community effort, I’m not trying sell anything, and I’m not recruiting anybody; I think this will be OK. If not, please accept my apologies and delete the link below.

To be a volunteer go to the following link:

I signed up for this a couple of months ago. It’s not at all hard, and the program you download isn’t intrusive. You can choose which packets you want to take, and you can work at your own pace. I work with databases (and people’s bad handwriting) all the time, so this comes pretty naturally to me.

I’m in. I index for a living but these days practically all I type are numbers.

I’ve done a few batches. I love data and have been doing genealogy for over 20 years. And I am a database person by trade.

But a handwriting expert I am not, and that is what really dampens my enthusiasm (and output). Some of the handwriting is really difficult.

We’re cut from the same cloth, Raza… in my real life I’m a Database Admin.
Make sure you watch all of the tutorials (I didn’t at first) and it give you some suggestions on how to handle some of the writing you can’t read.

I’m enjoying it. I’ve only done it at work during ‘down’ times :o but it only takes a few minutes per batch.

So Far, So Good. I’ve even done a few intermediate records that amounted to ship manifests in Boston and Indian Land paperwork in Oklahoma.

I’ve signed up, despite my distrust of the LDS.

I’ve been doing batches since a year age, when they were working on the 1930 census. Fascinating to see the names. I’ve also toyed with some of the oddball entries – marriages, births, deaths – which will still need to be done when the census is complete.

Why do I always have these problems. Okay, I went through my first sheet, then hit submit. It went through it’s check procedure, and I scrolled through them all, and all looked fine to me. Now what? There is nothing for me to click on to say the entries are good as shown (despite the instructions saying to the contrary), and when I hit submit again, it wants to quality check again. How do I get out of this loop?

Never mind. They don’t tell you about Ctrl T, but I found it anyway.

I’ve done a few batches now. Kind of interesting.

I’d been working on some family tree stuff for my family and it’s interesting to see how the names vary, misspellings etc. For example one family, let’s say their name is Smythe, all the names show up as “Smit”. Dad’s name, if it was, say “Richard”, is listed as something like “Rackhooey”.

One entry I saw today, the first name was “Lousie” which I thought really was supposed to be “Louise”. I know you aren’t supposed to correct things like that, but I got curious and did a search in other records. It was “Lucy”. I guess the census-takers weren’t all that worried about spelling, sometimes! And no, I didn’t change the entry.

Oooh - I’ve got a couple of general questions:

  1. Does the government do any separate indexing of these records?
  2. Does use the stuff from or do they get their census records some other way?
  3. Why is it that the LDS church is so into genealogy?

I upped my level to intermediate and immediately had problems. I downloaded marriage records and only two pages showed up, with a total of four records. I entered all the data and tried to submit it, but the damn thing showed errors for missing information in lines that went past the four I filled in. Since there isn’t any more info to enter, now WTF? Same thing happened with one of the state census records. The record only went to 45, but it wanted data for 50 more lines. I think I’ll just go back to doing the 1940 census.

  1. Generally: no. They did do some name indexing of the early censuses, IIRC, but not the late 1800s ones or later.

  2. It goes both ways. The LDS provides some info to Ancestry and vice versa. E.g., the 1880 census data comes from Ancestry, so familysearch limits images, etc., unless you go to one of the LDS centers. (Try one, they seem fine.) The 1940 indexing project is being run by familysearch so Ancestry gets it from there. No limit on the 1940 images (which the Feds have online anyway). They scratch each others backs.

  3. They want to baptize their deceased relatives, among other things. Basic Googling will tell you all about that. Warning: controversial topic.

You mark the lines as blank. Ctrl/b does it for a single record, and there’s a button just below the image that will do an entire line.

Look those buttons over. They can be useful.

Also, Ctrl/f helps with finding names if you can’t make them out.

For some reason, the software won’t download for me.

Ah well.

Did a census page from Rock County, Wisconsin. I wonder if Racine’s been done yet.

Just got some women’s prison in Texas.

Took an extra long weekend and spending some of the time indexing. Just got a Kentucky census page written in print rather than script. Much easier to read!