Thursday, August 30, 2012

Riding the Ancestry Time Machine has come up with a Time Machine video for persons interested in a typical life in the 1940 time period.  You can access the Time Machine at

You have to fill in some information - your name (they use it in the video), your gender, your email address (why?), where you would like to live (choice of New York, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Rural South, Rural Midwest), Your Interests (Sports, Pop Culture, Cooking, Science/Tech), Single or Married, White Collar or Blue Collar work, Add a Photo (you can skip this), and add a name of a relative in the 1940 U.S. Census.

The two minute long video starts and tells a story about a typical day in the place you've selected, using vintage photos and typical events in 1940.  The video uses your name twice in visuals - on an envelope and a paycheck:

At the end, it uses the name of the person you entered who was a relative living in 1940, and invites you to search the 1940 census for the person, or invites you to create another video:

In the New York/Sports/Male/White Collar video, it said I was an employee of Random House Publishing, had a wife and three kids, mentioned nothing about sports, and said I enjoyed an evening out with my wife, June, at the Charlie Chaplin movie "The Dictator."  Oh, at the end of the day, June politely refused my amorous advances, and I drifted off to sleep thinking of FDR, Chaplin and June.  Hmm, probably not!

It's somewhat funny, probably accurate as far as it goes, and might be effective in getting people to search the 1940 U.S. Census (for free through 2013).

My "Lyle Carringer" had 458 exact matches, though.  An exact search for "John Smith" had 28,322 matches.  Experienced searchers will know how to use the search fields - those who have never searched Ancestry might be confused.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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