United States Census 1940 is a free collection at FamilySearch with a name-searchable index and images with records of people living in the United States in 1940. This was the sixteenth census conducted since 1790. There were 134 million individuals enumerated this census year. The schedules cover the 48 states as well as Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The index is being created by FamilySearch, BrightSolid, and Inflection.
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What Can I Learn from Census Records?
- Full name
- Age (can be used to calculate an approximate birth year)
- Relationship to the head of household (active military personnel in naval yards, army posts, etc. may use the term “Sailor” or list military rank rather than actual relationship to head of household)
- Birthplace of the individual and the parents (included even if the parents were not members of the household)
- Marital status (single, married, widowed, or divorced)
- Year immigrated to the United States
- Whether a naturalized citizen
- Native language if foreign-born and whether can speak English
- Whether a military veteran
- Street address and house number
How Can Census Records Help Me Find Other Records?
With information from these records you may be able to:
- Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family
- Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family
- Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses
- Use the naturalization information to find their naturalization papers in the county court records. It can also help you locate immigration records such as a passenger list which would usually be kept records at the port of entry into the United States
- If they are subject to military service they may have military files in the State or National Archives
- Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as school records; children’s occupations are often listed as “at school”