The St. Croix Valley Genealogical Society announced its participation in the 1940 US Census Community Project. The society is encouraging local volunteers to help make the 1940 U.S. Census easier to search for everyone. This unique crowd-sourcing project will make the 135 million individuals found on tens of thousands of pages of the 1940 U.S. Census searchable online for free. Volunteers are sought to comb the hand-written records and manually type in the names. That process is expected to take months.

The 1940 U.S. Federal Census is the largest, most comprehensive, and most recent record set available that records the names of those who were living in the United States at the time the census was taken. It included several standard questions, such as: name, age, gender, race, education, and place of birth. But the census also introduced some new questions like where people lived 5 years before the census, their highest educational grade achieved, and detailed income and occupation.

Many of these individuals are part of what has been called the greatest generation -- people who lived through the Great Depression, fought in World War II, and lived throughout the 48 states that existed at the time.

Tens of millions of people living in the United States in 1940 are still living today, making the 1940 census a record set that connects people with recent family records

Unlike previous census years, the 16th population census of the United States will be released by the National Archives and Records Administration in the form of free digital images. By law, census records cannot be released until 72 years have passed. April 2, 2012, marks 72 years to the day since the 1940 census was taken.

Anyone interested in indexing the census, which will be done online through FamilySearch, should contact the St. Croix Valley Genealogical Society Volunteer Administrator/Coordinator Darcy at 715-425-9978.

Interested volunteers need simply download the indexing tool from

and indicate they are participating as part of the St. Croix Valley Genealogical Society.

A training session on indexing will take place at the monthly meeting of SCVGS March 15 at 7 p.m. in the River Falls Public Library main floor meeting room.

The census will be accessed at the National Archives website at