The 1940 U.S. Census Index is becoming even more accurate and easy to use, with your help.
While you can currently search by name through all 134 million people in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census on Ancestry.com, we’re still working behind the scenes to make this latest census even better.
What are we doing?
Adding more details to your 1940 index. Before the end of 2012, you’ll be able to include even more information in your search as we update our 1940 Census index with additional fields including occupation, income, grade completed, value of home or monthly rent, weeks worked in 1939 and more.
Updating and improving your 1940 census experience – from records to index. Just like all historical records on Ancestry.com, the 1940 Census will receive regular, general updates to continually improve your interaction with it. Updates may include everything from correcting the tilt of an image or replacing an imperfect image to improving the accuracy of a given name or surname.
When you find a problem
Even with continued improvements and our Q&A process, something all collections on Ancestry.com are subjected to prior to becoming available for the public, errors still exist. And the 1940 U.S. Census is no exception. Each error becomes even more glaring when it’s associated with someone in the household you’re researching.
Changing a name or other indexed details
First thing to do when you discover an error in an indexed name or other detail on the 1940 census or any collection on ancestry.com, is fix it. By adding your own corrections or alternative names – even a nickname if you know your family member regularly went by one – you’ll help other people searching for the same individual find him or her even faster. And your later searches for that same individual will produce results with the name you’ve added, too.
There are two places you can add your own corrections and alternatives: from the index page or while viewing the actual census image.
From the index page
Select View/Add Alternate Information from the Page Tools box on the left. Then follow the instructions to update the information about the individual with your changes.
While viewing the census image
Hover over the specific entry, or box, you’d like to change in the index at the bottom of the screen and a pencil icon will appear. Select the box and follow the instructions to update the information.
You’ll find step-by-step instructions for making changes here.
Reporting a problem with the image itself
On occasion, the census image itself may be causing the problem. In these instances, contact our Member Services team at 1-800-ANCESTRY to report the problem.
Why it matters
Submitting an alternative or a correction to an index adds that information to the index itself. Within a few weeks, the information you’ve provided becomes publicly searchable as well making it easier for other people to find answers, too. Alternatively, reporting an image problem to our Member Services team alerts us to review the image so we can attempt to correct it.
What to do when you can’t find your family member in the indexed 1940 U.S. Census
On occasion, an index discrepancy may make it difficult to find your family member in the 1940 U.S. Census. In that instance, you may want to search for your family member by “browsing” images instead. Our Free downloadable guide will show you the steps to discovering your family by browsing.