Today is a huge day for American history, and for those of us who have questions about relatives who lived through the Great Depression.
The United States Census for the 1940's was released today, and while that's news in itself--public records of census information usually have a 72-year waiting period before being searchable--the wonderful thing about this decade's release is that it's instantly accessible online. For people with relatives who grew up during that time, it's a veritable treasure chest of information; only about 21 million Americans of the 132.2 million counted in the 1940 census are still alive today.
While the information isn't searchable by name, one only has to have location information--an address, or approximate address--to begin the journey. Armed with that, searchers can then find the correct "enumeration district", which is the area that individual census takers were responsible for. Besides personal information such as marital status and number of children, the census also includes where the individuals worked and even what their yearly salary was. The newfound information could be of great use to historians as well as families, as record keeping wasn't a huge priority in those dark days of economical hardships.
The site shows actual scanned pages of the info which can be shared on social media networks, bringing the '40s into the digital age.