Bloggernacle Back Bench: 1940 Census index crowd sourcing power

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 14 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Even though they thought it would take a year, the more than 132 million names in the 1940 U.S. Census were indexed in about four months. It will be a couple of weeks before the last few states are published online, according to FamilySearch.

Four months. Wow. In linking to the release exclaiming the news that the “1940 U.S. Census Indexing Complete” blogger Kent Larsen wrote on Facebook: “The power of crowd sourcing, especially when the LDS Church is behind it.”

I thought it would be fun to search for some examples of bloggers within the last few months working on the 1940 Census index. This is what I found.

“There are 140,000 volunteers helping index the 1940 census. Pretty awesome, people from all religions and all types of communities are performing this mighty work. Thanks to you all.” — Larry Cragun

“But, wait, I thought genealogy was for old people! No! I can't tell you how many hours I sat with my baby on my lap at the computer searching for details. And his naps became my golden hour. A couple of years ago I decided it was time to take a break as my life became increasingly crazy. I turned to occasional indexing as a way to still be involved.” — Mom to Many

“And I sit here in 2012, looking at his best penmanship — and this census worker got tired by the end of the day, I can tell you that, because sometimes his best penmanship was no more than a child’s scrawl — and trying to decipher it. I type it into little boxes and it gets sent off and processed. So that some far-flung descendants of these 1940 people can know who their ancestors were a little bit better.” — A Jan for all Seasons

“If my teenagers are involved with family history, an Apostle has promised they will be protected. That's enough motivation for me to make them index every single day for the rest of their lives. I don't care when they get it done, or how long it takes as long as they do it. They need that promise of extra protection when they participate in family history. It's hard to keep your teenagers from not becoming self-centered, or feeling entitled. Family history is one way that you can help them with that. And indexing is a very simple way that they can feel the Spirit. Maybe they will feel their hearts turning towards their ancestors and they will find themselves thinking more about others and less about themselves.” — Mormon Mommy Blogs

Now let’s index other Bloggernacle posts from the past week:

Power pick: Want to read some cool general facts from the 1940 Census? Ancestry.com provides some fascinating tidbits in this post on the “1940 U.S. Census: 50 States, 134 Names, 1 Index.” For instance, “We came up with a tie for the oldest person in the census: Mary Dilworth of Oxford, Mississippi, and Cándido Vega Y Torres of Guayama, Puerto Rico, both listed their ages as 119.” And those who were born outside of the United States: “the top five reported birth countries were Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, and England.” Click in to learn what names and surnames were most popular and more!

Techie tip: If your teenagers participated in the 1940 indexing project and are now looking to do more for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, consider this call from the New Era and Liahona magazines, as reported in LDS Media Talk: “Gathering Experiences From Youth: For the Strength of Youth Standards.” Larry Richman explained that “Each month, a different standard from the booklet will be featured in an article by a member of the Young Men or Young Women general presidencies or a member of the Seventy. The church magazines are gathering experiences from the youth around the world to include in these articles.” Click in to learn how to participate!

Emily Warburton Jensen loves searching through the LDS blog world for developments and testimonies that best capture the ever-evolving LDS online experience. Email: ejensen@desnews.com

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