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ProQuest Gets Behind 1940 U.S. Census Community Project
ProQuest is joining forces with Archives.com, FamilySearch International, and findmypast.com in the 1940 US Census Community Project, a collaborative effort to index the contents of the newly released U.S. 1940 Census. ProQuest will add the new census content to its acclaimed HeritageQuest Online, one of libraries' most valued and widely used genealogical tools. ProQuest's participation in the project provides major financial support to the indexing effort, which enables all its partners to ingest content more affordably, providing timely delivery to their users.
"Genealogists and local historians — professionals and amateur enthusiasts — rely on many ProQuest archives and tools, especially HeritageQuest Online. We're committed to continually improving the results family historians earn from our products and census data is an absolute goldmine," said Chris Cowan, VP Publishing. "This consortium of colleagues is an ideal way for us all to share costs and labor to get one of the most talked-about new content sets into use fast."
The 1940 U.S. census records were released by the National Archives on April 2 after a mandatory 72-year waiting period. Its 3.8 million pages include names, addresses and family members of virtually every one of the country's 132 million citizens, an information bonanza for the burgeoning numbers of Americans who are tracing family trees. While the data is available on the 1940s Census website, it isn't searchable by name.
The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project aims to create simple searching of the census by indexing its contents. It's a labor-intensive task that the project partners are tackling by organizing teams of volunteers who will turn the thousands of census pages into searchable records linked to digital page images. Each organizational member behind the project will then ingest both images and indexed records in their services, making the content easily accessible.
"Having the census data available in multiple products is important because it broadens both availability and pathways," said Mr. Cowan. "No matter which tool you like to use, you'll have access to this important information."
HeritageQuest Online is available through more than 7,000 libraries — both inside buildings and online via the library's website — including 20 statewide portals. The service is popular among genealogists for its search results that can be sorted in multiple ways — by first name, last name, age, gender, place, and so on. The sorting feature allows searchers to zero-in on family members for which they have scant information and also find family members whose original records include errors, such as misspelled names.
Libraries whose genealogy groups would like to participate in the indexing of the 1940 Census data can visit the 1940census.com for information. For more information about HeritageQuest Online or any ProQuest genealogy resource, visit www.proquest.com.
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