1) The release of the digital images on the NARA website http://1940census.archives.gov will occur on time. That's the easy part!
2) Thousands of potential users will ask "Why didn't someone tell me I had to know the Enumeration District number?" Yes, you have to KNOW the ED before you try to see the census images, otherwise your effort will be in vain.
3) Thousands of potential users will wonder what an Enumeration District is, and finally figure out that to know the ED, they have to know an address of each family. They will wonder where to find the address. I posted How Can I Find Out Where My Folks Lived in 1940? and Finding Addresses of People in the 1940 U.S. Census Using City Directories to help out.
5) Astute genealogists, who have read the publicity put out by genealogy bloggers, magazines, society newsletters, or watched the available webinars, will know that they should use the Steve Morse 1940 Census ED Finder at http://stevemorse.org/census/quiz.php in conjunction with a site like Google Maps or the NARA OPA site to find the streets that define the residence block.
6) The NARA 1940 Census website will be overloaded and will not return results for anybody for several hours, perhaps even until late evening on 2 April. The contract to host the images required 25,000 concurrent users. I hope that the host will add additional server capability.
7) If a user manages to get to the site to enter their state and Enumeration District number, they may not know that the first image they see will be the first page for the Enumeration District. There is a really good chance that their family is NOT on the page image that comes up. Many users will give up at this point.
8) The user may try to browse the online images for the Enumeration District on the NARA site page by page. This may become quite frustrating if the wait times for each image to load is long.
9) There will be a learning curve to use the NARA website to navigate page to page, to manipulate the images (zoom in/out, rotate, etc.). Nobody in the genealogical community has seen this site yet...
10) The user may not know that the best way to see and read the images is to download the entire Enumeration District file (it may be over 100 megabytes) to their computer hard drive and then browse the images offline using their photo or graphics software program. This, of course, will be a problem for users without a fast Internet connection.
11) There will be errors in the linking of the ED numbers to the ED images. With 147,000 enumeration districts, there are bound to be errors. Will there be an email address to notify Archives.com of the errors?
12) Thousands of users will wonder where the name indexes are and deluge social media websites and genealogy society email addresses with questions about the lack of a name index.
13) They will complain when their state is one of the last ones to appear with a name index (hint - large states will probably be last!). They will continue to complain until late in 2012 about the lack of name indexes. Then they will complain that they can't find their families using the name indexes because the indexers screwed up.
14) I expect to be able to find at least five families on 2 April 2012 in the 1940 US Census. I expect to blog about the experience and the results.
15) I expect to wait until the every-name index is available to find all of the persons that I want to find in the 1940 U.S. Census (Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Vaux, Richmond, Dill, Buck, Leland, Schaffner, McKnew, Grieser, and other families, plus collaterals).
There are sets of Frequently Asked Questions about the 1940 Census at:
1) Steve Morse One-Step website - see http://stevemorse.org/census/faq.htm
2) National Archives 1940 Census Records page - see http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/
3) National Archives 1940 Census FAQ page - see http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/faqs.html
What expectations do you have? Do you agree or disagree with mine? What would you add to my list?
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/03/my-1940-us-census-expectations.html
copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver