I'm home again and digesting all the great knowledge from NERGC. As mentioned yesterday, the 1940 US Census talk was awesome! But what I didn't say yesterday was all the cool information you will find in 357 days.
The 1940 census will go live on April 2, 2012. There is no microfilm copy and the only place to view it is on www.archives.gov. (Can we anticipate a system crash on that day? Remember when familysearch.org and ellisisland.org went live? I shake in my boots thinking about it! Time will tell!)
There isn't an index either. So how is one expected to find the information in this census? City directories! If you know where your family lived in 1930, you could try using the enumeration district from the 1930 enumeration. It may or may not work. By using the city directory, you discover where and on what street your family lived on. Once you have that information, you can look for the ward. Once you have the ward, then you can find the enumeration district.
Enumeration districts are the districts the Census Bureau used to divide cities and towns into smaller parts. An enumerator was assigned to the district and collected the data for that district.
Information about enumeration districts can be found on the www.archives.gov site. They also recommend Steve Morse's site- www.stevemorse.org. (Hint: stevemorse.com is the rock and roll star; stevemorse.org is our genealogy star.)
I don't know the trick for a rural location. You may have to go line by line. In the eastern states, like CT and NJ, some of the smaller towns were picked up by the larger cities or may have their own individual directories. But I can't be certain for other states.
Another cool thing about the census is that at certain lines, there was a box in the column next to the person enumerated. That box let the enumerator know that additional questions were to be asked. If the person was under the age of 14, the questions may have been answered by the person giving the information. Over the age 14, that person had to answer the additional questions. Some of the questions asked included where and when their parents were born. This is a great boon for those of us who find a country like"Ireland" listed for all the records your ancestor produced. No longer are they to put just the country's name-they had to include the exact location. Does this mean these rules were followed to a T? We have 357 days to find out.
And one more cool thing about the enumaration...for the first time you know exactly who is answering the questions!
There's a lot more to share about this census. I'll post more information soon about it. Tick-tock...357 days to go!