Getting Started on Indexing the 1940 US Census

Indexing the census may sound intimidating, difficult or scary but it really isn't... Here is how you can get started today!

  • First of all, you will need to have an account on the FamilySearch web site
    • Go to https://www.familysearch.org/ and click on the 'Sign In' link located in the upper right-hand corner of the page
    • If you think you may already have an account but don't remember your password (or user name), click on the link in the 'Forgot your user name or password'' sentence below the Sign In button and follow the instructions to have the information sent to your email address.
    • To create a new account click on the 'Create New Account' button and follow the instructions for creating a FamilySearch account (for the general public)
      • Note:  If you have a LDS FamilySearch account you will not be able to associate your indexing with the DGS. You must create a 'General Public' account and use that account when you index.
  • Now associate your indexing activities with the Dallas Genealogical Society
    • Go to the FamilySearch web site ( https://indexing.familysearch.org/ )
    • If you are not already logged in log in now by clicking on the Sign In link in the top right hand corner of the page
    • Click on the My Info link in the top right hand corner of the page
    • The goal is to have 'Dallas Genealogical Society' appear after Group under the Additional Indexing Information heading, so if this is not yet the case click on the Edit button at the bottom of the page
    • Under the Additional Indexing Information heading:
      • Select 'Group or Society' as your Local Support Level
      • Select 'Dallas Genealogical Society' as your Group
    • Click on the Save button at the bottom of the page
  • With your account established you next need to download the indexing software to your PC.
    • Go to https://the1940census.com/getting-started/
    • Click on the 'Download and install' link in step 1 under 'Getting Started is Easy' (or cliick on the Download the Indexing Software button) and install the software on your PC
    • While you are on this page, view the informative Video training by clicking on the link under the Download the Indexing Software button
  • Here are some suggestions to help you get started indexing....
    • The Project Update Page has a lot of very helpful information including a presentation titled How to Index the 1940 Census. Reviewing this information on the page now will help get you off to a good start.
    • You will be able to download census images from any available state (as well as images from other ongoing indexing projects). FamilySearch will identify the state or states that they are focusing on but you can work on any available state. In fact, it probably would be a good idea to start on a state you are familiar with since you may have an easier time recognizing city and county names.
    • Only download one image the first time.
  • Now that you are ready to do some indexing start the FamilySearch Indexing program on your PC (you will need to log in using the same Uuer Name and Password that you used to log into the FamilySearch web site)
    • Read the information in the My Messages area (the lower left bottom of your screen) for the latest information from Family Search.
    • Download your first image by clicking on the Download Batch button on the top left hand corner of the Family Search Indexing program window.
    • Family Search will present you with with the 'Highest Priority' state already highlighted. Click OK to download that image or select another state
    • Specify the Image Type (hopefully you will be able to select 'Normal').
    • Move the image (using the slider bars or click and drag the image with your mouse) to view and record the Sheet Number and Sheet Letter.
    • At this point it is often very helpful to adjust the Highlights box to insure that the program is highlighting the correct field on the form. To do this:
      • Select 'Adjust Highlights' on the View menu located on the top left corner of the window
      • Move your mouse down into the area of the form that contains the the information you will be indexing. A red box will appear.
      • Adjust each corner of the box so it the section of the form from 'Line Number' on the left to 'State (or Territory of foreigh country)' (column 19) on the right.
      • Be sure to adjust the bottom corners as well
      • When you are done make the red box go away by selecting 'Adjust Highlights' on the View menu again.
    • If the 'Number of household or order of visitation' field (column 3) or the Last Name in column 7 is blank it will be necessary for you to view the previous page to obtain this information.
      • Select 'Show Previous or Next Image' on the View menu located on the top left corner of the window
      • The previous page will appear in a window to the right. Scroll down and obtain the required information.
      • Close the window by selecting 'Show Previous or Next Image' on the View menu again
  • There are several useful icons located at the top of the window (under the View menu)
    • It is possible to make the image larger or smaller.
    • You can also adjust the brightness and contrast (use the icon that looks like the sun).
    • Difficult to read text can sometimes be deciphered better by selecting the 'Invert the current image' icon located in the same area
  • There are several other useful icons located near the middle of the page (just above the area where you type the information)
    • Handwriting samples can be viewed by clicking on the Feather
    • There are also several icons useful for marking blank entries (the ones with an 'x') and unreadable fields (the ones with a '?')
  • Pausing and re-starting
    • You can stop and re-start as often as you like
    • To save what you have done, select 'Close Batch' on the File menu
    • The next time you run the FamilySearch indexing program just highlight the batch you were working on and select the Work on Batch button.
  • Uploading your Batch
    • When you have completed your batch the software will prompt you to confirm any entries it finds questionable. After you have corrected or accepted each one the batch will be uploaded automaticly.
    • You can also upload a batch manually by selecting 'Return Batch' (if it is incomplete) or 'Submit' (if it has been complete).

Dallas Genealogical Society
P. O. Box 12446, Dallas, Texas 75225-0446
1-866-YOU2DGS (866-968-2347)
info@dallasgenealogy.org