For those interested in such facts or the whereabouts of their ancestors 72 years ago, U.S. Census records from 1940 for Mississippi and 17 other states are now online and searchable by name. The records represent some 3.8 million images and 175 million names, thanks to the efforts of more than 125,000 volunteers. Other states' information will be available within the next few months.
"The U.S. Censuses respective to family history or genealogical research are tremendous resources," said Paul Nauta of family search.org. "They take a national snapshot of everybody in the country at that time."
Due to privacy laws, the entire 1940 Census was just released to the public in April, and indexing is already well ahead of schedule. Traditionally, the National Archives has put census images on microfilm, requiring most researchers to travel to an Archives center or university that had the films available and to scan laboriously through the images.
"Nearly everyone knows someone who was alive in 1940s," Nauta said, noting that the new indexing makes them easy to find. "There's nothing more exciting when you're starting family research to have some quick success."
In addition to familysearch.org, other websites involved in the 1940 Census indexing project include 1940census.archives.gov, 1940census.com, proquest.com, findmypast.com and archives.com