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Volunteers Needed to Put Names from 1940 Census Online

National Archives, McLean Family History Center Need Volunteers

The National Archives and McLean's own Family History Center ask your help in getting the millions of names from the recently released 1940 Census online so that families can search by name for their relatives.

The personal information collected from each family counted in the 1940 was released last week by the National Archives online. So many people signed on in the first hours, they crashed the National Archives website.

The National Archives put online copies of the actual census pages. You have to know where your relatives lived to find them. You can't search by their name.

"Everyone all over the country is indexing," said Dorothy Flores, a Family History Consultant at the Family History Center on Great Falls Road. The center is located at the Mormon church.

The National Archives and the Family History Center need volunteers to type the names from the census pages into a searchable database.

"Everyone is typing in what the sheets say,” Flores said. The McLean Family History Center will teach you how to do the indexing. There are also indexing directions on the National Archives site.

"You sign up for one sheet at least because you have to enter each individual name," Flores said.

4 Things to know about the 1940 Census:

1. You can search at home or  you can also come to the Family History Center and use "for pay" websites for free. Yes you can use Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest and other pay sites for free.

2. Millions of people listed in the 1940 Census are still alive and walking history books about your family.

3. You can find out not only where your relatives lived but also how much they earned and their house.

4. The Census also includes information on race, age, exactly who was living in the household and how they were related to the head of the household.

Gerrie Smith, also a Family History Consultant, said "I'm excited that we have this link to the recent past. It is a bridge to spur more interest in their ancestors, the lives they lead and the legacy they have provided us."

How to find your family in the 1940 Census.

Interested in helping to index the 1940 census? Join the 1940 census community indexing project at The1940Census.com and start creating a name index for the 1940 census.

McLean Family History Center, 2034 Great Falls St.
Phone: 703-532-9019
Hours: Tue 9:30 am-2:30 pm & 7 pm-9:30 pm; Wed & Thu 9:30 am-9:30 pm; Fri 9:30 am-2:30 pm; Sat 9:30 am-4:30 pm.

Full Disclosure: The Family Center helped McLean Patch find her family which has lived in Virginia since the early 19th Century.

stanley levin April 09, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I would like to volunteer but I am curious what are we doing that lots of other communities (organizations, clubs, etc.) are doing and we could just download from them?
Bobbi Bowman April 09, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Dear Stanley, First please call the Family History Center to answer your question. There are millions of names in the 1940 Census. Some are difficult to read. Several people enter names from the same sheet then an official committee decides which are correct. Hope that helps.
Anne April 09, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I am wondering why this article is not mentioning the background of these 2 groups which volunteers will be "helping" The one, The1940Census.com, is by its name a .com or commercial enterprise, The second, The Family History Center, is a genealogical branch of the Mormon Church. If folks want to volunteer that is their choice, but there is no mention in the article who they are actually volunteering to help!
Bobbi Bowman April 09, 2012 at 09:45 PM
The National Archives of the United States asks folks to join the community project of indexing the 1940 Census. The invitation is on the front of the Archives website. The1940Census.com is a combination of the National Archives, the Family History Centers and paid family search sites. The story mentions that the Family History Center is located in the Mormon Church on Great Falls Road. If you have additional questions let us know.

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