Most people know that the 1940 U.S. Census was released on April 2nd. At the time of its release, there was no index for the census. You had to search by enumeration district to find your family members. I was able to find most of the family on my 'most wanted' list. There were a couple of families on my husband's side that had to wait for an index because they had no known address for 1940.
After the census was released, I helped with transcribing efforts by participating at FamilySearch.org. This was the crowd-sourcing effort to index the census for free. There was also a simultaneous effort taking place at Ancestry.com. The indexing at Ancestry.com was outsourced to several companies located outside of the United States.
This week Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org both announced that the transcribing has been completed. FamilySearch has most states up and ready to search. The remaining states are completed and will finish a quality check before they are posted to the Internet in the next couple of weeks. Ancestry.com has all states ready to search on their website. Both sites offer free access to the 1940 census.
I took a spin yesterday on the Ancestry.com index in an effort to find my husband's Chicago area relatives. Up first was the Radvany family living in Whiting, Indiana. I searched using the last name and the location. They were the first family listed in the search results. I will post their individual census record on another Sunday.
The second family I wanted to locate includes my husband's grandmother. I knew this search would be a little tricky. Gwendolyn (June) Fuller and her mother, Loretta, moved to Chicago after Loretta divorced June's father. Sometime between 1930 and 1940, Loretta was married a second time to Alexander Fraser. I knew that there could be a lot of last name variables when looking for this family. I was unable to locate the family by searching for a mix of first names and last names. I then tried using variations of Fraser but still no luck. My next plan of attack was to search using the first names for mother/daughter or spouse/spouse. Bingo! Using the location and first names only for Loretta and Alex*, I found them transcribed with the last name Troger. I have already added name variations to this family. I cannot fault the transcriber for this entry. The census enumerator did not have very clear handwriting. In fact, if I had transcribed this page I would have gotten it wrong also.
I will be interested to see how Grandma June is indexed in FamilySearch.org. Illinois is one of the states that still needs to be posted on that website so I will have to wait a couple of weeks.