The 1940 U.S. Federal Census is still in the process of being indexed; however, many states have been completed and their searchable indexes are available online. This includes the following southern states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
While all states are online, the indexes are an invaluable time-and-sanity saver. One free source is www.familysearch.org. As of 12 July 2012, the following states are indexed:
AL, AZ, CA, CO, DE, DC, GA, HI, IN, KS, KY, ME, MI, MT, NB, NV, NH, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, VT, VA, WA, WI
Just when you think you know everything about your immediate family, the 1940 census can yield some interesting surprises. Some of the information includes:
- the family’s residence in 1935, their address (name of street and house number)
- employment information for persons age 14 and older, income earned in 1939 and number weeks employed full-time in 1939
- whether the home was on a farm or not
- value of home and whether it was rented or owned
- those absent from household denoted with “Ab”
The 1940 census also asked supplementary questions to provide a random sample of about 5 percent of the population. These were usually, but not always, asked of people enumerated on lines 14 and 29. Some of those questions included:
•birthplace of mother and father
•veteran status (including widow or minor child of a veteran)
•Social Security details
•occupation, industry, and class of worker
•marriage information for women (married more than once, age at first marriage, number of children
If the state you need is not indexed yet, don’t despair. There are ways to find the enumeration district if you know some basic information about the family’s location. Then, it is a matter of scrolling through the pages to find your family. This is easier to do in a small town rather than a large city, but it can be done. Or, you can wait for the index to be completed.