by Delia

Genealogists know that federal census schedules are not available for viewing by the general public for 72 years after they are taken. 2012 marks the year that the next set of census schedules - those for 1940 - will be released for public viewing and research! This release takes place 2 April 2012 and will be different than any previous census's unveiling. The 1940 census will be available on microfilm, as previous years' schedules were, but due to its high cost in this format, few agencies will purchase the film. Instead, it will debut in the form of digital images online at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website on the release date of 2 April, followed quickly by its appearance at Archives.com, FamilySearch.org and other sites. Initially, the census images will not be searchable by name, but viewers will be able to browse them. Various groups are undertaking the indexing of the schedules so that ultimately they will be searchable by name and other variables.

The Genealogy Center is creating classes about the 1940 census that will be presented on several dates in March and April. In addition, we will share tips about the census here on our blog and on our Facebook page. Please share in our excitement as we count down the days until this milestone source is revealed!