1940 Census Data to be Released April 2

For people like me, the release of the 1940 Census data is like Christmas to the infinity power. (More information from the National Archives here.) When I was working at the Census in 2010 and people asked me, “why do I have to answer all these questions,” it was so easy to answer! I would tell them all that I’d learned about my grandparents and great-grandparents from Census reports, and pretty soon they’d be asking me how they could access the reports themselves.

I’ve gone back to Census reports for every book I’ve written. For my book about singing for instance, I needed to track down Herman Melville’s apartment near Grace Church, and to confirm various facts about the sad story of Alexander Hamilton’s granddaughters. It’s endless!

Apparently the 1940 Census had a bunch of extra questions and I just can’t wait to see what I can learn both about my family, and all the famous and interesting people living in New York (and all over American) in 1940.

The New York Public Library is having an all-day program/event on March 24th. Response has been so tremendous they had to move it to a bigger venue so hurry up and reserve now if you’d like to go.

I was down at St. Paul’s Chapel this afternoon for their fantastic Bach at One series. You get to hear the world-class Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra for whatever you wish to donate. It’s a great deal.

I took this shot out front and …

Signage Outside St. Paul's Chapel

… this was inside while we were all waiting. I love that Oklahoma sign (from the 9/11 days). I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Oklahoma because of that sign. (I have a million soft spots in my heart for other signs and other gestures from all over the country and the world.)

Bach at One

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

7 thoughts on “1940 Census Data to be Released April 2

  1. I signed up for Ancestry.com some months back and got quite a surprise. My 4th great grandmother on my father’s side was a slave in Virginia who was made pregnant by her owner. Her son, my 3rd great grandfather, was emancipated by the slave owner after her death (and I only have a first name for her).

    Tracing him through the censuses was interesting – 1840 and 1850 he was listed as mulatto in Connecticut where he moved; by 1860 he was listed as white on the census rolls.

    This makes me 1/64th African-American and I could have been designated as 100% African-American under Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s “one-drop” law.

    Love doing my genealogy!

  2. Okay, that wins as the biggest personal discovery anyone I have ever known has made through genealogy and Census research!!

    Have you written this all up somewhere??

  3. No, only sent a snide email to my right-winger brother who goes on and on about “those people” to inform him he was now one of “those people”.

    I’ll email you the write up some one did about my 3rd great grandfather. You’ll find it interesting.

  4. The 1940 Census forms will be available for free on ancestry.com, hopefully through 2013; see:

    1940 was the first time that supplementary questions were asked of a small (5%) subsample of the population, so that extra info may not be available for a lot of respondents. See http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2010/winter/1940-census.html and http://usa.ipums.org/usa/voliii/items1940.shtml and http://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1940_population.html and http://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1940_housing.html

  5. I didn’t know Ancestry.com was going to make it free for a while!! How exciting, thank you so much for letting us know!! And for these other links!!

    Karen, hahaha. I think you’ve since emailed me (unless I’m remembering what I saw wrong), and I plan to catch up on my email tomorrow. I can’t wait to learn the whole story.

  6. That’s the link I have in my post! Haha. But thank you. This will make doubly sure people find it!

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