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Local volunteers needed for 1940 Census project

Updated: April 17, 2012 8:11AM

The Illinois State Genealogical Society is looking for volunteers to help index the 1940 U.S. Census records.

The ISGS, in partnership with Family Search, has scheduled informational sessions on the project for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Plano Community Library and at 11 a.m. March 22 at the Yorkville Public Library. The Yorkville Library staff is asking that anyone planning to attend the session pre-register by calling 630-553-4354.

This huge indexing project will open a doorway to a vast amount of information on those who came of age or lived in the World War II era, said ISGS Board member Howard Manthei of Yorkville, who will conduct the sessions.

“By law, the results of a census cannot be made public for 72 years,” Manthei said. “On April 2, the 1940 census will reach that mark and be released by the federal government. But people interested in searching for information about their relatives won’t be able to use this great resource until it becomes indexed.”

Manthei said volunteers will receive copies of census pages and be trained to enter census information into a Family Search database. There will be another day-long session for volunteers at the Yorkville Library on April 2, when 10 laptops will be available for people to view the census and see first-hand how the project will work.

“Folks can come in and register with Family Search,” Manthei said. “Then they will get a batch of census pages they can type into the database. Then someone will key it in, and a computer will compare the records to search for errors.”

Although volunteers will be asked to attend weekly sessions for the first few weeks, Manthei said that after that time, indexers can work from their homes or at other locations convenient to them.

“Family Search has developed an application that can be used on Ipads or home computers to access their database and enter the census information from anywhere,” Manthei said.

Manthei, who describes himself as a “causal genealogy enthusiast,” became involved in the ISGS two years ago. He is chairman of the society’s Publications Committee, and is serving on its Education Committee. One of his current projects is a republication of an ISGS Revolutionary War book listing where Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in Illinois.

For more information about the project, visit the Family Search website at

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