Confused? Thought the indexing of 1940 census was a cooperative project by all?

Confused?Feeling confused? Frustrated? Don’t know which site to use? You and I can’t be the ONLY ones feeling this way. The “1940 US Census” May/June 2012 FamilyTree magazine arrived at my house today [4/18/2012] and I’m beginning to understand …

Let’s cut to the chase first. We are confused because there are multiple sites out there inviting us to index, find the index, view the pages before they are index, etc. Indexing is a manual & technological work since someone must VIEW the image, enter the data into a computer database for searching by name. If it is a good index, it will have a second person, maybe even more, review and say “okay”.

The site will not be indexing. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) *is* which released the 1940 census. However, the site does “invite you to join the 1940 census community indexing project at and start creating a name index for the 1940 census today!

Whoa! That’s ANOTHER site …. which displays images of FamilySearch,, FindMyPast, and National Archives. Ah! Looks like a cooperative effort.

When NEAGS invites you to index the 1940 census, which “cooperative effort” are we in? and along with are working together on the massive volunteer effort. NEAGS is working via the 1940 census site. That’s part of project in the above paragraph. FamilySearch spokesman stated their goal was to have 100,000 volunteers so that the indexing would be completed in one year. This index will have TWO different people transcribe every name and THIRD person resolve the differences. If I read the article correctly, we do not see the index for a particular state until all three people have completed their jobs.

So & are not indexing “together”?

Correct! Ancestry is doing its own indexing project in two phases. First will be a “basic” name transcription after which the state completed will be on-line (and free through December 2013). Ancestry’s goal is to have the basic done for all states by early fall 2012. Then the advanced-search index will enter data for almost all of the other fields. Ancestry also has a new census image viewer. [Personal note from site admin: I’ve used this to search images of states not yet indexed and found the result to be crisp, clean, & easier to use than their prior version.], based in Israel, going for a 98% accuracy & will be available in 38 languages.

The offers the census free at,, and

So-o-o-o-o once the name indexing is complete, does this mean I have to look at all three!!!!!!

No. You don’t *have* to. But you probably *ought* to so that you confirm the transcription. Especially if the data is not clear.

Will Ancestry be the only index with data entered from “almost” all the other fields?

It appears so, at least in the first couple of years.

Source & Comment:
~ Source: “Going Public” by David a. Fryxell, Family Tree Magazine, May/June 2012, pp. 19-20.
~ Comment: This is the first article of the Census Guide, a special section in this issue regarding the 1940 census. The posting above used just a portion of the information from this one article — less than a third actually. I posted this because I personally  found all the “1940 census” websites to be confusing & found this to be very helpful. Hope it will be for you as well.

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