Thousands (millions?) of people began trying to access the Archives.co
Site for the 1940 Census early this morning only to learn that all was not well. Too many hits added to servers that just didn’t seem ready for 37 million hits created that loud crashing sound we heard. Joining in the cacophony were the anguished cries of genealogists, media, and those at the National Archives.
For 20 minutes this morning, I jumped on Ancestry.com and found the “1940’s era” records are now free for another week. I found my dad’s parents (Loyd and Ella Amore) in a 1930 directory. That was exciting because I have yet to find them in the 1930 census! I found them again – on a different house in the 1932 and 1934 directories in Coshocton, Ohio.
Returning home from work this afternoon, I first perused Facebook statuses and tweets from Twitter to get a sense as to what everyone was saying about the release of the 1940 Census. The news was not good. There were a lot of frustrated people. I pulled up three sites – the official census site (Archives), Ancestry and familysearch.
On Ancestry I saw that the Indiana records were available so I started with Lexington, Scott county, Indiana. On the last of the enumeration district’s 38 pages, I found my great-grandfather – Joe Wilt – and his wife. HAPPY DANCE!! Later on I found 2 other collateral relatives/ancestors in Madison county.
About 30 minutes ago, I indexed my first page – Oregon. Looking forward to doing more.
And for everyone who is frustrated, it will get better! We have waited this long – a little longer is not going to hurt. The census will still br there so while we are waiting, lets spend some time with the living!
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covered now with lines and traces . . .” Yeah, you remember the old song (“Traces”) – how many of us still confine those historical photographs to magnetic, un-archival albums or boxes that aren’t meant for long term storage or in damp or extremely hot conditions? What about all those documents – birth & death records, old letters, diaries, or other items? Before your photographs and documents start to fade, yellow, or crumble please do several things to preserve them.
- Scan them and save them to removable storage (disc, flash drive, something) and then save them again. Keep one removable storage device someplace else like your safety deposit box. If a fire swept through your home or heaven forbid, another Katrina hits, maybe at least one of your storage devices will survive long after the original documents have been destroyed.
- Copy them – the old fashioned way. Then when you attend family reunions or travel to a Family History Center (FHC) or a NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) location, a library or a distant location where your ancestors lived, you have the copy to take with you in order to compare facts. Never take Original documents with you when doing research. Anything can happen between point A and point B.
- Transcribe them – if you have been lucky enough to inherit or “find” old letters or diaries, do your best to transcribe – grammatical and spelling errors and all – these gold mines of information. If your great-grandmother wrote about traveling from the mid-west to California, it’s so much easier to have a transcribed, computerized version up in one window of your computer while you are researching migration routes, towns on their way, etc. then trying to hold open a very delicate and old book while doing your googling.
- Scan them, copy them, and transcribe them! Then make sure the originals are somewhere safe – not in the hot attic or dampy and moldy basement. Unless your attic is temperature controlled and your basement has been “finished out”, is temperature controlled and the storage container meets all archival and pH requirements for holding papers. And please don’t mix photographs and newsprint. The acid and wood fibers (lignin) in the old newspapers could damage your photographs. And please don’t subject your photographs – especially tintypes or daurraguetypes to harsh sunlight.
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