Wednesday, May 9, 2012

1940 Oregon Census Index Serendipity Moments

Today it became reality. The 1940 census index for Oregon went online and is fully searchable, with downloads of images. Over the past month I worked as an administrator and indexer for many hours. I actually indexed for five of the New England States - New Hampshire was already gone when I thought to do this. This is my area of specialty in my Accredited Genealogy work. These are the states that I indexed and what I completed in 5,000 Records/125 Batches:

Oregon 36
Connecticut 1
Maine  1
Rhode Island 1
Vermont 1
Massachusetts 73
Illinois 3
Iowa 2
Nebraska 5
Utah 1 
Washington 1
3 blank batches

All the New England states and Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska are places where my relatives lived. Utah and Washington are states that I have done research in. I found I like working in Massachusetts, as I know many of the place names and worked on family names of immigrants who moved there. They are only 14% done. It is interesting that when someone sends back a batch, it often contains very unfamiliar names of different nationalities. I just do the best that I can, realizing the other indexer and I probably won't agree. Then I review both of our answers and decide which ones I want the arbitrator to review.

In today's email came an update from The Ancestry Insider. He shared information from a news briefing for FamilySearch, updating some of their 1940 Census project information. Indexes are now available for searching in six states:
Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oregon and Virginia. The total census project is almost 32% completed and they expect to finish in late July.
Fifteen other states are close to being finished, and eight are at 100% and awaiting completion before being made available by index.

We are one of 650 societies participating in the 1940 Census project. That means I am one of 650 administrators, though some may be doing more than one society. I am a blog ambassador helping to spread the word. There are on average 22,000 indexers working each day, I am proud to be a part of that group.

Today I received some rewards for these efforts. My first find in Oregon was for my mother's aunt and uncle who lived at Grand and Wiedler in Portland. I searched for them before without the index, but was not successful. This was so much easier, even though there were an amazing number of Roy Briggs living in Portland. Their home is where my mother, her parents and her brother came to when they arrived in Oregon just a short time later. Now I need the Iowa or Nebraska indexes to find my mother.

Next I found the records for Melvyn Lofton and Eleanor Rosene, who were living in Portland. They married in 1942 and I was not sure where they lived prior to this. Come to find out, they were living within a few blocks of each other, with their own parents. These records help to fill in the details of their lives.

Now I need to move on and look for more of our relatives, most of who were living in Oregon by this time. is moving rapidly forward to providing online records access around the world. To all the volunteers worldwide I want to express my gratitude for these monumental efforts. Read The Ancestry Insider for additional news items. Or, go to the blog and then link into the current newsletter.

I hope you experience many serendipity moments, as you are able to access the 1940 census, and especially using the indexes. What a marvelous research tool.

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