Stay Away From the 1940 Census!

| Tue Apr. 3, 2012 11:03 AM EDT

I see that the 1940 census is now online, though only if you have a fair amount of patience:

"In the first three hours, we had 22.5 million hits on the site," said National Archives and Records Administration spokeswoman Susan Cooper. "We're a victim of our own success." Cooper said the archives had anticipated significant interest in the public release of the census, the first time such information has been available online, but not quite as much as materialized.

"It’s frustrating and we share that frustration with the public," Cooper said. She said some people are getting through on the website, but many are not. "We’re working as fast as we can to fix the problem."

I used to use the census records a lot, first in microfilm form at my local branch of the archives, then later online when Ancestry.com got them scanned in. But it was mainly the older records that interested me. By 1940, there's nothing much left to find out. I pretty much know where all my ancestors were and what they were doing. Of course, you never know! Maybe I'll discover some strange, dark secret that no one had ever mentioned before. You never know.

But I guess I'll wait a week or two before I try to find out.

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.