I hope you have all had an opportunity to search for your ancestors in the records created as part of our 1940 U. S. Federal Census project. As you know, we are part of a consortium that has produced the most comprehensive and searchable version of this data available anywhere online. If you don’t have access to the records for the area in which your ancestors lived, you soon will. Through a remarkable internal and external effort we have been able to marshal a volunteer indexing force of more than 137,000 volunteers, with that number growing by nearly 1,000 a day. Our volunteer population, if it were a U.S. city, would rank just ahead of Savannah, Georgia, and just behind Pasadena, California, in size. We now have more volunteers than lived in Albany, New York, when the 1940 census was taken.
I continue to be amazed by the collaborative efforts both within and outside of FamilySearch that have brought us so. I would like to thank all those that have been so pivotal in ramping up this volunteer workforce, managing its activities, and keeping the pipeline full of records to index. Thank you to all who have jumped in and joined the indexing team and worked so hard to make such a big difference. We have been posting periodic updates on our main FamilySearch.org blog to alert the general public as to our progress. As of our last report:
- 105,522,592 names have been indexed and arbitrated.
- 29 states have searchable indexes on FamilySearch.org. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
- 2 additional states are 100% indexed and arbitrated and are in the final stage of preparation for posting.
- 6 additional states are 75% or more indexed and arbitrated. To see the status of each state visit the 1940 US Census state-by-state progress map on the FamilySearch website.
- The 1940 US Census is 75% indexed and arbitrated.
- 143,086 indexers have signed up to index the 1940 US Census.
As you can see, the progress is remarkable—we are ahead of schedule and gaining momentum. In the very near future, we will have 34 states online and searchable!
By the world’s standards, this census effort has been an enviable example of “crowdsourcing” (the industry buzzword for the “many hands makes light work” philosophy). For us, it is another in a long line of group collaborative projects that promote our vision of creating and linking the best and most valuable research resources to help people discover who they are by exploring where they come from. We have been working collaboratively with volunteers, record custodians, and the general public for well over 100 years to make genealogy records more available.
Even if our sights were set on the swift and successful completion of the 1940 census alone, we would have to be grateful and excited. But imagine the possibilities of such a dedicated, trained, and motivated workforce as we shift focus from census records to immigration and naturalization records, and country-specific record sets like those represented by our Italy ancestor project. I hope it is plain to see the potential of our growing volunteer workforce and the impact you all can have on the present and future of family history.
Again, I thank each one of you involved in this great effort.
Dennis Brimhall, FamilySearch CEO