I spent the day at the Family History Center celebrating. We played big band music, ate yummy 1940s treats, and indexed! Some of us dressed in 1940s period clothing--we even had a couple of Rosie Riveters. A few folks came in to register with the 1940 Census Community Project and to learn how to index. We weren't able to download any batches from the 1940 census until around 3:30 p.m., but we were able to practice on other projects and to teach the "newbies" while we waited. It was a truly memorable day.
The 1940 census images are incredibly clear and easy to read. I have been indexing for over a year and a half and I have never seen projects this easy. Indexing goes really fast when you can actually read it!
It was a little disappointing that the images were not accessible from the 1940census.archives.gov website as expected, but completely understandable. Anyone that has lived through any kind of electronic launch knows that something always goes wrong on the first day. But the good, and tired, folks at National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and Archives.com were working furiously to correct the problem. I think it is mostly fixed now and they will make further enhancements today to help ensure it doesn't crash again.
Ancestry.com was also uploading the images to their website and doing it very quickly! Remember that they are offering the images for free until October 2013. You can track their progress at their 1940 Census page (click on "Browse images from the 1940 census" and scroll down to the bottom to see which states are complete, in process, or coming soon). You can also give them your email address to be notified when your state is uploaded (scroll down to the "Stay in the Loop in 1940" box and click on the underlined words "...giving us your email address today"). But since none of my states are Completed, In Process*, or even Coming Soon! on Ancestry yet, I will not be checking out that service for a while.
The census revealed some interesting facts about them that I was not aware of before now. Grandpa died of "cardiac exhaustion brought on by silicosis" in 1943. He contracted the silicosis from working in a pottery factory for many years. My father thought that the family moved to St. Augustine to live on a farm as farming was the only work Grandpa could do because of the illness. But the 1940 census says that he was not living on a farm, he was unable to work, and his occupation was Paster in the pottery industry. Furthermore, he owned their home valued at $1200. My grandmother was apparently the wage earner in the family that year, she was an inspector at an overall factory. She earned $565 in 1939 which is close to the median annual income for women ($592). Interestingly, my grandparents and their two eldest children lived in Abingdon, Knox county, Illinois in 1935, yet the four younger children (enumerated on the top of the next page) were living in the "Same Place" which means the same town as in 1940 (St. Augustine), but not the same house.
|Downloaded census image from 1940census.archives.gov via One-Step tool.|
Thanks for dropping by.
Disclosure: As part of the1940census.com ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a $50 Visa gift card or a Yeti Microphone.