RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Virginia is now one of six states where the 1940 U.S. census is now fully indexed, so users can search for records of family members by name, location, or family relation. This was made possible through the efforts of more than 100,000 volunteers who have indexed more than 45 million records since the data became available on April 2nd.
This is information career and casual genealogists alike have waited decades for. The National Archives and Records Administration unlocked the records after a mandatory 72-year waiting period, releasing more than 3.8 million digital images.
When released, the images were not searchable by names. Inquiries required an approximate address from April 1, 1940, to find the right “enumeration district,” or geographic area covered by a census taker.
As of Wednesday morning every last census image from Virginia, Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, and New Hampshire had been entered by hand by volunteers from the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project.
A database has been set up where you can search listings for free.
“For the past month, Community Project partners have worked to establish the first free, searchable database of 1940 U.S. census records made possible entirely through the hard work of volunteers,” Josh Taylor, spokesperson for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, said in a press release.
“We’re proud to bring easily searchable 1940 U.S. census records for Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia and New Hampshire online for people to learn about their ancestors and life and times in these states more than 72 years ago.”
The effort to complete census indexes in the rest of the United States continues. You can volunteer to become a part of the project online.
You just need to download software, pick an area you’d like to index, and start transcribing images.