Awaking this morning to the first snowfall of the season and the accompanying groans of my children getting ready for the windy walk up the hill to the bus stop, it occurred to me that a trip to somewhere warm this Spring Break might be a nice idea; however, while others in my house are day dreaming of being somewhere tropical on April 2, 2012, I’m thinking only about the need to choose a hotel with free Wi-Fi. April 2nd, the day the 1940 census is officially unveiled to the public on Archives.com , is not a day I plan to spend anywhere else but in front of my laptop. Needless to say, I am holding off mentioning this to the rest of the family—the ones who get that glaze-of-the-eyes look at the mere mention of the word census.
Still, it’s never too early to make a plan!
UPDATE: The first step for anyone using the 1940 census should be to visit the One Step website and take the tutorial quiz that Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub have put together on how to access the census when it becomes available on April 2. (See Joel’s comments below.) There is a also a guide called Getting Ready For the 1940 Census.
The 1940 census is the first my Dad was included in. He was born in a house on the street my parents still live on, next door to the one I grew up in. The city of Attleboro, Massachusetts, was still a town in 1940. I’m not sure of the population back then, but on April 2, 2012, my plan is to pour myself a cup (or three) of coffee and scroll through page after page of Attleboro’s census returns until I find him. I grew up hearing stories of the neighbors, so I’ll be looking for them as well. And cousins over on Read Street, and Thurber Ave. I’ve got a check list—names, ages, known addresses….
The great aunts in nearby Pawtucket, Rhode Island, will be a bit harder to find because of the size of the city, although knowing their address will help once I find the right enumeration district. It’s locating my elusive Great Grandfather Joseph that will be the challenge, and (ever the optimist) the thrill… In 1940, he’d already, quite mysteriously, abandoned his family and left for parts unknown. It would be his last census, as two years later he passed away and was interred in what would later become the family burial plot. While others in the family knew of his whereabouts and activities in the last decade of his life, they took that knowledge to their graves, alongside him in the family plot. Realistically, there’s little chance of locating Joseph until an online index becomes available, but I’ll still be keeping an eye out as I scroll through images in the early days of the census’s release
April 2, 2012, is going to be a busy day for genealogists all over the world. The genealogical information (see a list of the questions asked here) recorded on that census will be invaluable. Geneabloggers everywhere are talking about it, anticipating, making plans, blogging about it! Will I be somewhere tropical? Maybe. But for sure, I’ll be somewhere with Wi-Fi