Monday, March 05, 2012

1940 Census: Million Genealogists March


You've heard of the Million Man March on Washington, DC?  How about a "Million Genealogists March" to index the 1940 US census? March right up to your computer desk and sign up to index now at

According to US Census Bureau stats reported at the1940 US Census Project, there were 132 million people living in in the US in 1940. If there are 132 million people to index, here's how the indexing project will shake down.
  • Each name must be indexed TWICE to ensure a quality index is created, so that's 264 million entries.
  • ARBITRATION compares and resolves keystroke differences. Let's say this happens 10% of the time, based on my personal experience arbitrating earlier census records at FamilySearch Indexing.
Check Ol' Myrt's numbers closely. Back in the day, my ACTs math scores were in the bottom 7% . (In my defense, my English writing and comprehension scores were in the top 3%, but I digress.)

 264 million double data entry indexing tasks
+ 26 million arbitration tasks, if a 10% error rate
290 million indexing tasks

LET'S SAY THE AVERAGE PERSON INDEXES 10 names per day, or 70 names per week, then 1 million indexers could do this in 29 days days.

Right now, according to Jim Erickson of FamilySearch, there are an average of 21,000 indexers submitting work each day. That's up from 8,000 in early January, but it is no where near the number of indexers needed to roll out the 1940 index on a timely basis.

LET'S GET SERIOUS and say that 1 million indexers could do this in 2.9 days if they index 100 names per day. 
100 names per day isn't difficult. In previous census indexing I've done, that is roughly 2 pages of the census.

OK, let's get this straight. However we decide to crunch the projection numbers, the 1940 US Census Project needs volunteers.

Most genealogy society members are using the internet, but what about those who aren't yet? What about the FAN - family, friends and neighbors of each society member? Our circle of influence is larger than we realize, and now is the time to corral all that talent to get the job done starting on day one. The 1940 Census Project will notify you between 2-27 of April 2012 when your preferred state is available to index.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.