After all of the hype (at least to genealogists), the 1940 census is here … except it isn’t. The National Archives web site won’t load or operate correctly because of server load. Ancestry.com, which I pay for, has only a few states loaded, and none that I care about, so it’s a bust, too. FamilySearch.com, which is free, also has only a few states.
The good news is that if your family was in Virginia, both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.com have images loaded. Ancestry.com is a bit slow, but it is running.
I wonder which will be first? Will the National Archives get their site up and running properly first or will Ancestry.com get all of the states loaded first. In other words, who wants to bet on profit motive versus government bureaucracy? And remember, the government had a head start of, oh, seventy-two years. Hmmm.
I’ve been working hard for the last couple of years on my family tree. I had a good head start on my father’s side of the family because of the work his mother and aunt did on that side of the family. My mother’s side of the family was almost a black hole, however, and since she passed away several years ago and the last uncle from her mother’s family passed in 2006, my prospects of knowing much about that side of the family were poor.
Fortunately, as I was searching and researching, I discovered two key living relatives who both had done some genealogy of their own. I found through a genealogy message board that my mother had a half-brother (and half-sisters), and I was able to contact him. I also connected with the son of that last uncle who passed in 2006. Both gave me enough data and clues that I was off to the races.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the tremendous value I gained from Ancestry.com. The search engine is very powerful, and I was able to compile numerous relevant records from the site. For census records alone, my count now stands at over 300 relevant census records. If I had had to copy those records from microfilm, the old fashioned way, I probably would be nowhere near where I am now (and I might possibly have given up).
For privacy reasons, I am not publishing my tree publicly. Nevertheless, I am listing below the 30 surnames (25 with two sets of duplicates) of the first five generations of my ancestors (62 individuals).
- Bishop × 2
- Hoppers (Happes)
- Whittington × 2
I have much of the sixth generation complete, also. Unfortunately, the few remaining gaps include some common surnames. Also, in my case, five generations take the tree back past 1850, the first census to record family members, so connecting family members to previous generations requires records that are harder to come by (e.g., will, deeds, and family bibles). Nevertheless, I look forward to the day when I have the sixth generation complete.