Stay Away From the 1940 Census!

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


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.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate