The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

April 30, 2012

Frankie Meyer: Researchers can help index 1940s Census data

JOPLIN, Mo. — The 1940 Federal Census provides a wide variety of information about families who are often known as the “Greatest Generation.” They lived through the Great Depression, and many of them fought or helped our soldiers in World War I and World War II.

Consequently, when that census’ data was released in April, genealogists around the world were thrilled.

So far there is no index, however. Without an index, a search of the records is difficult, because more than 132 million people are included in the surveys. If all the survey pages were put in a stack, it would be over half a mile thick.

So, how would you like to help compile a searchable index of the 1940 Federal census?

Several organizations have joined to develop a free online index, but they need your help. Information on the 1940 Community Index Project is found at

Sponsors for the project are National Archives, Family Search and . Society sponsors are National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies and Association of Professional Genealogists.

The site notes that there are three easy steps to getting started. First, download and install the free software program for indexing. Next, register as an indexing volunteer and designate the volunteer group you wish to be affiliated with (if you have one).

Lastly, download a “batch” of images to transcribe. The site provides an easy-to-understand video training that will walk you through the downloading of the indexing system.

Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or contact:



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