National News

Apr 4, 2012 1:58 AM by Ariel Wesler

Overwhelming demand for 1940 census data nearly crashes website

Just hours after the government released digital records of the 1940 census this week, the website nearly crashed. It's the largest collection of digital information ever released by the National Archives and it could help you learn more about your family's past.

Many people were excited to look at piece of history. The National Archives website got 37 million hits just hours after the records were posted Monday morning. All those hits nearly paralyzed the site. The agency says it wasn't expecting the huge volume and posted an apology online.

The digital records allow you to learn more about your family history. You can't search by name but you can search by the area, if you know where they lived.

"It's great because people can do their family histories. They're able to find out why they're here," said Roger Rowland, who has done a little family genealogy.

This particular census paints a picture about what issues were most relevant to Americans after a decade of economic depression. Besides name, age, relationship, and occupation, the 1940 census also included questions about internal migration, employment status and participation in certain New Deal programs.

You can imagine how invaluable a tool like this could prove to be for genealogists, historians,and of course, many of us.

Back in 1940, the U.S. population was about 135 million people. Today, it's grown to more than 313 million.


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