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Carnahan Seeks Volunteers to Help Provide Access to 1940 Census Records

JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced today the Missouri State Archives will work in conjunction with Family Search, the St. Louis Genealogical Society, the Missouri State Genealogical Association and smaller societies across the state to create an index for the Missouri records contained within the 1940 U.S. Census released on April 2, 2012.

Volunteers interested in assisting with indexing the census are encouraged to register online at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/census1940_a.asp. Their efforts will help make Missouri’s 1940 census records searchable for family history buffs and genealogists around the world.

“The index created by this project will allow Missourians and family history researchers around the globe to easily search for every person found in the census and view digital images of the original census pages free of charge,” said Carnahan. “It is truly a treasure trove for those trying to learn more about their family history.”

The genealogical data contained in these records serves as precious clues into the past of many Missouri families. Census takers carefully documented each individual’s name, location, relationship, race, gender, marital status, education, occupation, income, nativity and citizenship. United States censuses are released 72 years after the “census date” by the National Archives and are made up of information collected by the United States Census Bureau.

The 1940 census also recorded individuals who took part in “Public Emergency Work” programs such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the National Youth Administration (NYA). Personnel records for those individuals in public service are held at the National Personnel Record Center in St. Louis.

1940 Census Facts:

• With 3,784,664 people, Missouri was the 10th largest state in 1940.

• Officials agreed to add new questions on migration, income, fertility, education, social security, usual occupation and unemployment.

• Missouri’s population growth dropped to 4.3 percent between 1930 and 1940, compared to the 6.6 percent growth during the previous decade. Although St. Louis County grew by 30 percent and Columbia grew by 23 percent, the City of St. Louis experienced a slight decline (0.7 percent) and Kansas City grew by only 0.1 percent.

• Internal migration redistributed nine Congressional House seats.  Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon all gained seats.  Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Indiana each lost one seat.

• The population center of the United States in 1940 was Sullivan County, Ind.  Each decade the population center shifts further south and west.  In 1980, it was located in Jefferson County, Mo., near De Soto.  The population center for the most recent census, 2010, is in Texas County, near Plato, Mo.

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