Census Research 101

Here we'll describe how you can search the 1940 census. We understand without a name-index this can involve some effort, but we'll help you along the way! This website incorporates resources and tools to make your search as easy as possible.

Under Census Search you can search by location or enumeration district (ED) to locate a census schedule (e.g. a set of census images). A radio button on the Census Search page allows you to toggle between both types of searches.

Searching by location will give you three types of results: maps, descriptions, and census schedules. Each result type is a separate tab on the search results page, and will be described further below.

Browse Maps & Descriptions

Use maps and descriptions to locate an enumeration district number.

To find a person in the census, you need to have a general idea of where they were living in 1940 to identify the enumeration district (ED). If you don't know the general area, visit Help for additional assistance. Enumeration district maps and descriptions are finding aids that help you locate an enumeration district number (e.g. 1-2), especially in large cities where there are many EDs.

Enumeration District Map This is a scanned image of a map that illustrates the boundaries of enumeration districts for a particular area. Each map may contain multiple enumeration districts. This is why it’s helpful to know the address or neighborhood where a person lived so you can identify the right enumeration district number on the map. The quality varies from map to map. The Census Bureau collected maps from various sources and drew the enumeration district boundaries and numbers on the maps. If you are not able to read a map image, we recommend visiting Help to learn about alternate methods for finding enumeration district numbers.

Enumeration District Description Each enumeration district is accompanied by a description which describes the boundaries of that district. Scanned images of the enumeration district descriptions are available on this website, as well as the text transcription of the description.

Find the Enumeration District Number

Browse census images to locate the person you're looking for.

Once you've identified the enumeration district number, either click a link with the ED number or enter the ED number in the search field, to view the census schedule.

Census Schedule These are sets of census pages organized by enumeration district number. When you click to view census images, you will begin at the first page of the census schedule. Browse pages by clicking "Next" and "Previous" buttons on the image viewer to locate the person you're looking for.

If the person is not found in the census schedule you expected, try looking through census images of neighboring enumeration districts. For more tips and troubleshooting assistance, please visit Help.

View the Enumeration District Image to Find Your Ancestor's Name & Details

Save, share, and download images to save your work.

When you locate the person you're looking for on a census image, you can easily bookmark, share, or download the image for future reference. This image can be a great keepsake or addition to your family tree or scrapbook.

Share You can share any image (map, description, or census schedule) with friends or family on popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and more. Click the "Share this" link on any search result or image to broadcast your discovery.

Bookmark Bookmarking is an essential way to save your work when you're looking for enumeration districts or the right census image. Bookmark an item by clicking the "Bookmark" link on any search result or image. Save and view your bookmarks by visiting the Bookmarks page (click the "Bookmarks" button near the top-right of the website).

There are two ways to save your bookmarks. On the Bookmarks page, you can send your bookmarks to yourself via email. Or, you can create an account to save your bookmarks on this website (this feature is completely optional). To do this, click the "Create an account" button and enter your name, email address, and set a password. Log-in anytime in the future to see your bookmarks.

Download This website allows you to download an individual image, or all images within an enumeration district. To download, click a result under the "Census Schedules" tab. In the full image view, hover over the "Download" link to view download options, then click the button to download image(s) to your computer. Standard resolution is recommended for fastest download time.