Thursday, April 12, 2012

Finding 1940 Census Images on

The 1940 U.S. Census images are available on (all states), (all states), MyHeritage (all states), FamilyLink (all states) and (not all states).  The Ancestry Insider's latest "scorecard" of what is available where is at #1940Census Status Update for 11 April 2012.

I have been quickly reviewing Enumeration Districts on Ancestry and MyHeritage because they are easier to use than the records on the Archives and FamilyLink sites.  I have not tried to search EDs on until now.  I wanted to see how easy a search on FamilySearch for a specific Enumeration district and specific family was compared to the Ancestry and MyHeritage sites.

1)  The page for the 1940 U.S. Census is 

On the map above, a user can hover over any state and see the Image and Indexing status for that state.  Just below the map is the search fields for State, county and city/township or ED description.  I knew the ED number for my Carringer family (62-63A).  I input California, San Diego, and San Diego into the search field and saw:

This page told me that there were 208 EDs for the search terms.  Way down the page is ED 62-63A:

The order of these listings is unclear - it seems random to me.  If I did not know the ED number, I would be totally lost.  There are no links available to ED maps (that I saw...).  It would be a lot easier for users who know an ED number if the list was ordered by ED number.

Actually, there's an easy way to go directly to a specific ED number - the user can put the ED number in the "City/Township or Enumeration district" field on the search engine on the home page.  I went back and put State = "california" and City = "62-63A" and it easily selected the right ED:

Clicking on that link for ED 62-63A opened the first image of the 40 page images in the ED:

The user can use the controls on the menu line above the image (Full Screen, Zoom in, Zoom out, Rotate, Invert) to manipulate the image.  The image number is above the "Full Screen" menu item.  A user can go to a specific image number by editing the entry in the Page field.  On the top line (the one with the ED description) has advance arrows to move to the previous or next image on the far right next to the Search link.

The user can move the page image around using the mouse drag function (I call it "the magic hand").

I zoomed in a bit, then advanced to Page 2 (it took about 40 seconds) and was surprised that it took so long.  It took over 40 seconds for every page change on my computer.  I finally got to Page 34 of 40 and found my Carringer family.  It took over 30 minutes to do this.  Here is the page:

The user can Save the image, or print the image, using the controls on the right side of the menu line above the image.  I saved the image above (it was a 4.736 mb JPG file), and that took over 65 seconds on my computer.  

My conclusions on the 1940 U.S. Census on

*  Provides a larger page image than Ancestry and MyHeritage
*  Access is free - it requires no registration
*  Navigation to a specific ED has no help tools (e.g., Steve Morse ED Finder and no ED Maps)
*  Navigation to another page is relatively slow (40 seconds to load an image)
*  The site is relatively slow to Save to a file (over 60 seconds)

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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