NYPL Creates Search Tool for NYC 1940
The Milstein Division of the New York Public Library has developed a great research tool for the 1940 census. If you have ancestors in New York City at the time, you will love this. They have created a three step process to allow you to find people living in any of the five boroughs.
First, select your borough. This brings you to a page with images of the 1940 telephone directory for that borough. The books are not searchable, so you must read through them the old-fashioned way. Because they are in alphabetical order, this is very easy. Select the page with the name range for your person. This will load the page. As you move your cursor over the page, a magnification box with an arrow on the left side appears. Go down the page until you find your person, line up the arrow with their name, and click.
This opens up a dialog box where you enter the person’s name, street number, and street name. As you type the street name, select it from the dropdown list. Then click the button at the button that says “Find ED number for this address.”
This opens a new page that ties into Stephen Morse and Joel Weintraub’s one-step process for the census. On the left is a list of the enumerations districts that include that street. On the right is the phone book entry and two maps. Look at the maps to find the cross/back streets. As you enter more cross/back streets you will see the number of enumeration districts decrease until only one or two remain. Click on the ED link to go to the official 1940census.archives.gov website to view the census images for that ED. I found someone in less than ten minutes.
Members of the New York Metro Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists helped the NYPL to test the site and get it working. This is one of the best sites I’ve seen to help people access the unindexed 1940 census. Try it out for yourself at Direct Me NYC 1940.