Thursday, March 22, 2012

TONIGHT: 1940 census handouts and presentation

Tonight Ol' Myrt here will make a short presentation at the Fairfax Genealogical Society's general meeting during the opening announcements. Previously, the FxGS Board had declined to enter into the 1940 US Census volunteer indexing project in favor of focusing efforts on member education. Fortunately, its possible for individuals to join the indexing effort.

Here's my plan to build interest in the upcoming release of the 1940 census. My point will be to inform members that the images will appear free at, divided by state and enumeration district. The images will not be searchable by name until the volunteer effort to index the 132 million entries is completed.

1. I've printed enough of these 1/3 cut flyers to place one on each chair prior to the start of the meeting. You may use that link to print out flyers for your group!

2. I've printed a matching poster on our 11x17 inch printer, mounted it on foam core, included the 1940 Census Extraction forms from, page 1 and page 2.   Mr. Myrt has a floor easel so we can post sign near the door for all to see when they enter the room.

3. I'll use the PowerPoint slides I share with you previously. Here's the YouTube version, where Ol' Myrt here narrates the presentation: This is the link to the Slide Share version:

4. Ol 'Myrt here aims to be positive and supportive, pointing the group to a special 1940 Census session by NARA's Claire Kluskens at the society's annual spring conference this coming Saturday.

At least three of us in the meeting have already committed to participating in the 1940 indexing project.

How are things going with your society? Have you thought of ways to overcome objections?

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


  1. Hi Myrt, I don't belong to a society, but after reading some of your blog, I decided to take the leap and signed up for indexing, in great anticipation of the 1940 census! It is easier than I thought, and just knowing that someone else is also indexing the same material, and if necessary, the batch can go to a higher authority, well I realized I was not left out there in cyberland with the potential of making horrible mistakes that would forever ruin someone's research! Not so! And has lots of help in place, and autofilling etc. Mostt of all I realized that anyone, whether interested in genealogy or not, can help with indexing. You can index and still watch Dancing With the Stars! Remember to point that out - family and friends of genealogists can help with this undertaking. And yes, it is that important!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Georgia. I'm going to make a blog post about this... just in case a few readers miss this.

    Myrt :)

  3. Thank you for the wonderful resources! We have been preparing for this since we all got back from RootsTech, but it still seems slow going. In Kentucky, we formed the Kentucky Historical Society indexing group (about a month ago) and have scheduled indexing intro sessions for the past couple of weeks. These are informal sessions in the library at a table full of laptops. We can walk people through the process of signing up and joining our official FS indexing group if they so desire – and then sending them home to practice indexing so they can become familiar with the interface. We have also blogged more complete instructions, so we are getting a lot of group joins from people who have never visited! Once April gets here, we'll be stepping up the intensity on advertising, a free day-long workshop on April 14th, so hopefully we will get a lot more signed up. With our official group we have roughly about 40 signed up so far. One of our goals is to emphasize the need for Kentucky indexers to bring their local expertise to the table as a way of providing the best possible interpretations of the entries – but we are also trying to pace ourselves – even with the current simulations, April 2nd will bring a whole new range of experiences for all of us!

    1. I think this is INCREDIBLE, Cheri. I am glad to hear that despite the "slow going" you are still moving forward.

      I was surprised our local society didn't gobble this up at the get-go. Maybe its because most of them are IN the 1940 and don't realize how important this will be to the genealogy community.

      Ol' Myrt here agrees that our expertise with names in a specific state are invaluable. I've registered as a Washington state indexer, but you can bet I'll hurry along by indexing other states until Washington is in the queue!

      Can you send me the links to some of your blog posts? I'll broadcast them in a blog to my peeps!

      Keep up the GREAT work!
      Myrt :)

    2. Sure! Funny you mentioned the objection...we haven't had too much, some are just perplexed at the whole concept, so we are having to be very thorough in the wording as we explain how things will work. We began with a main blog post and flyer that is really text heavy, but so far it's working as background info. We are in the process of adding a small paragraph and link to that first blog post on our main web site so we can then slip to more short, yet dynamic advertising (should be up and running by tomorrow). Our next blog post - next week is in the works to explain the process of finding their ancestors via the enumeration districts and city directories - since we'll have many patrons at the reference desk still wanting to find their ancestors before the index is ready.

      Also, I know our April 14th session will be attended by more genealogy centric peeps, but our regular outreach method is quickly shifting to volunteer groups outside of the genealogy set - a great way for college students and business folks to rack up volunteer hours. As long as they sign into our official group, we as administrators can report back numbers for progress goals, etc. Plus - our April 14th session will explain more about arbitration and how we will mine that experienced group for arbitrators if they get in and index faithfully! And to be perfectly honest, we want to expand this group to keep indexing with FS after the 1940 census is done....we think it's a great service if we can maintain Kentucky indexers for any Kentucky records that come down the pipeline. Here is our blog post:

      Our main site: