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1940 census records are a smash online hit

About 21 million of the 132.2 million Americans counted in 1940 are still alive, officials said.
The 1940 Census ( Library of Congress via Associated Press / April 2, 2012 )
Americans responded in overwhelming numbers Monday to the online release of detailed information from the 1940 census — the first time such a trove of historic census records has been available on the Internet.
Minutes after its launch, the 1940 census portal on the National Archives and Record Administration website was all but impenetrable. Officials apologized and promised the website would be accessible as soon as possible.
Ross Brothers Horse and Mule Co. employees pose in the Fort Worth stockyards with mules that would be shipped to Turkey for the war effort in 1939. The Great Depression and World War II figured heavily into the movement of Americans chronicled by the 1940 census. (University of Texas at Arlington)
Individual records from a decennial census become public every 10 years, as soon as the government’s legally mandated 72-year waiting period expires. But release of the 1940 documents had been awaited more eagerly than usual, partly because they will be searchable online. Genealogists, historians and family history buffs also say this particular census, the 16th conducted, sheds light on an especially interesting period of U.S. history.
Michael Snow, a Census Bureau historian, said the newly released information helps to fill in a portrait of the nation as it dug its way out of the Great Depression and stood at the brink of World War II. The records offer details on the period’s great westward migration, prompted by Depression-era job losses and the Dust Bowl conditions that hit the Great Plains about the same time.MORE AT SOURCE


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