Many of you have asked about the status of the territory of Puerto Rico. Is it done? Our answer is YES . . . sort of.
We finished indexing the English portion of the 1940 US Federal Census at the beginning of August; however, the entire territorial census for Puerto Rico is not yet finished. FamilySearch decided not to promote the Puerto Rico census to our English-speaking volunteers because many of them are not familiar with the Spanish vocabulary on the forms nor the naming conventions for Spanish names. Rather than encourage our English volunteers to try and index and arbitrate an unfamiliar language and unfamiliar names, we are asking our Spanish volunteers to step up and help. Our #1 concern is to ensure that the Puerto Rico census as accurate as possible. We feel we can do this by taking a little more time and asking our Spanish indexers to work with these records.
To date, the Puerto Rico territorial census is now 80% indexed and 53% arbitrated. With a little extra push from our Spanish volunteers, we are hoping to complete the “entire” 1940 US Census within a few months.
We began the 1940 US Census Community Project with the hopes of indexing the census within 6 months. We did not include Puerto Rico in that estimate because we knew the Spanish records would go slower if we wanted them done correctly. We surpassed our hopes and completed the Community Project two months faster than expected. Now we are focusing the efforts of our Spanish speaking volunteers on the Puerto Rico census. This will allow us to make sure the records of those US citizens are included in the final published content along with the other 132 million individuals living in the US at that time.
If you speak or read Spanish and are familiar with Spanish naming patterns, please come help with the US, Puerto Rico-1940 Federal Census project. Spread the word and encourage your Spanish speaking friends and associates to help as well. The more we get involved with this project, the sooner we will see it completed. Thank you for your efforts to make these records as error free as possible and available to future researchers!