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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Census Excitement

Published April 18, 2012 | "Census Excitement" | Maple Ridge Historical Society Family History News, April 2012

On April 2, 2012, NARA released the 1940 United States Federal Census to the public. Census images will be uploaded and made available on Ancestry.com, Archives.com, FindMyPast.com, and FamilySearch.org.

This census recorded an important moment in time as it includes people who survived the Depression and were hearing of the coming of another global war. Christian Salazar and Randy Hershaft assert in a March 18, 2012 AssociatedPress article that “researchers might be able to follow the movement of refugees from war-torn Europe in the latter half of the 1930s; sketch out in more detail where 100,000 Japanese Americans interned during World War II were living before they were removed; and more fully trace the decades-long migration of blacks from the rural South to cities.”

The 1940 census included questions about internal migration by asking where people had been living on April 1, 1935. For people 14 years and older there were questions about employment status including wages. The census takers also asked if anyone had participated in the New Deal programs. These questions are keys to our understanding of how our ancestors managed during the Depression.
The reality of finding your ancestor in the 1940 census must be tempered by the massive amount of indexing work that is ahead.

You can, however, speed things up by joining the 1940 U.S. CensusCommunity Project 

Next on the horizon is the countdown for the 1921 Canadian census. The 1921 Census was taken on June 1st, which means that it will be in the custody of Library and Archives Canada on June 1, 2013. They intend to make it available to researchers online, in the same format as previous censuses, as soon as possible after that date.

The overall population of Canada in 1921 was 8,788,483 individuals. The 1921 census dropped the questions on "infirmities."

All this exciting census news makes me think again about the loss of information to future researchers with the scrapping of the long form census.

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