At the time of the 1940 census, my dad’s family lived in Abbot and my mother’s family lived in Sangerville. Having small-town roots in this census will be fortunate, because the 1940 edition will have no index by name until who knows when.
According to the website established by the National Archives at archives.gov/research/census/1940/, searchers will not only have to look up the enumeration district, but also know the street address to help them browse the town in question.
The website states that Ancestry.com, a paid database which can be used free at libraries that subscribe to it, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints database at familysearch.org both plan to index the 1940 census, but we can presume that will take awhile.
The census itself will be available at 1940census.archives.gov beginning 9 a.m. April 2.
Browsing the census for those living in small towns will be kind of fun. Searching larger towns and cities will require knowing the street address. We can hope that our relatives lived in communities that were covered by town or city directories so that street addresses are easily available.
As I’ve mentioned often, I use Bangor city directories frequently for genealogical research, even though I had no close relatives who lived here. I wish more towns and cities had directories. Bangor Public Library has a nice collection of directories in the Bangor Room.
When the 1930 census was released in 2002, I used the census for Maine on microfilm at the University of Maine’s Fogler Library in Orono. It was exciting to find my dad, not quite 6 years old in that census, living with his mother and younger siblings on Back Road in Abbot.
The first census I used online was the 1880 census for the U.S. on familysearch.org. I love using census records online, but I also see value in having census records available on microfilm.
Unfortunately, the 1940 census isn’t going to be distributed on microfilm. BPL local history librarian Bill Cook said at the last meeting of the Penobscot County Genealogical Society that microfilm isn’t going to be produced anymore.
My plan is to use the 1940 census online as soon as it’s available and then to share what I learn about it through Family Ties.
Until then, we can read up about the 1940 census on the National Archives website in hopes of being ready to make good use of the census once it’s available.
I have found that Abbot and Sangerville are on Series T627, Roll 1489 for 1940. Abbot is in ED 11-1, and Sangerville is covered by EDs 11-31 and 11-32.
Here’s hoping that everyone who took the 1940 census had good penmanship.
In addition to Maine census records at Fogler Library, Bangor Public Library has census records for Bangor on microfilm through 1930.
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.