Monday, April 2, 2012

Using the NARA 1940 Census Website

While I'm waiting for the National Archives 1940 U.S. Census site ( to provide me anything but a static web page (it doesn't even spin for me!), here is how to get to the images:

1)  Go to

2)  Click on the "Census Search" tab at the top of the screen above.   You get to the "Search" page which opens with the "Location" tab active:

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If you know your state and Enumeration District (ED) number, then click on the "Enumeration district" circle and go to the next step.  If you don't know the ED, then fill in the blanks on the "Location" form for State, County, City and Street.  The site should take you to the Steve Morse website to help you narrow down your ED number search (it doesn't for me right now...).

3)  On the Search page, with the "Enumeration District" button selected, enter the State and ED number:

Clicking on the "View It" button will eventually bring up the first page of the 1940 U.S. Census images for the Enumeration District.

4)  When, or if, the "View It" button works, the Search page shows information about the Enumeration districts.  It opens in the "Descriptions" tab.  The other tabs are "Maps" and "Census Schedules."

I clicked on the "Census schedules" tab and saw:

There is a link to "View ED 62-63A" (noting there are 40 pages) below the tabs.  I clicked on that and that leads to the census images for the specific ED.


 It hasn't worked for me yet - at 6:42 a.m. PDT.  Stuck at step 3 above.  Frustrating, but not unexpected.  I should have slept in but I would have missed all of the disappointment, eh?

7:23 a.m. PDT:  Finally got to step 4 above, and it's been spinning for about 15 minutes.

8:08 a.m.  Did a screen refresh even though it was still spinning, and got a black page with Download link at the top.  Tried that and eventually got "404 not Found" screen.  Back to the beginning.

8:15 a.m.  I was able to download one page of the San Diego CA ED.  Then it crashed when I tried the second page.

9 a.m.  Still spinning to get back to where I was 45 minutes ago.


Tina Telesca said...'s not working for me either. How frustrating. I knew this would happen, but I really wanted it to work. Waiting...

Anonymous said...


We gave the NARA 1940 site permission to use our data sets, both the 1930 to 1940 conversion tables and the large city (over 1,180 urban areas right now) street indexes.

That part of the 1940 website does not use the actual One-Step site but their own programming. To repeat, NARA/1940 has captured our information (with our permission) and are using their own software to do the searches. As part of our agreement is timely updates of those data sets as we make changes.

Steve Morse was able to get into the 1940 site, download his parent's full ED images, and find them. I haven't been able to get the 1940 site to respond.

So the way the One-Step data is being used will be new to Steve and myself.

Joel Weintraub
Dana Point CA

Anonymous said...

is it working for others by now? I'm not getting anything yet.

Anonymous said...

I was able to download one ED and I'm working on another. I suggest just downloading the full set of ED images.... don't wait to see the individual ED page on the screen. It's slow going, the transfer speed is in the high 30s, low 40s KB/sec.

So yes, it's starting to work but very slowly.

The hardest part was those **##!! security codes

Joel Weintraub
Dana Point, CA

Anonymous said...

Very frustrating. They had such a build up to the release I guess I'd hoped they'd be better prepared for the obvious traffic they'd be getting right away.

So far other than getting to the link for the ED's I want to see nothings really working (although I did get lucky enough to see the first page a couple times before stuff quit working). Trying to download the entire ED just times out or gives an error.

Whoever made the decision to use re-captcha needs their head examined. Hate it.

Ashleigh said...

I even posted on my FB acct last night that while I was excited I knew that the NARA 1940 census site would crash at 9:00:01am. Did they not realize how many people have been waiting over a flipping year for this release? O-well I will try sometime in the early morning hours (probably like everyone else)

Anonymous said...

2 pm

Speed up to access images. I asked to download all within ED and now see download speeds of aroung 350 KB/sec.... 10 X faster than before when I got one ED and the other quit the download in the middle. Things are looking up.

I just wish they would do something about those illegible security letters.

Joel Weintraub
Dana Point, CA said...

All, we understand your frustration and are working 24/7 to fix. Latest update: