Can’t Find Your Relatives in the 1940 Census on Ancestry.com?

I just wanted to share a quick tip with any other family history buffs who have struggled to find their relatives in the 1940 U.S. census when searching on Ancestry.com.

A couple of weeks ago, I searched for several ancestors (as soon as it became searchable there actually). And I had very little luck. On a whim, I decided to search another site using their free trial — Archives.com.

Amazingly, my ancestors’ names popped right up. It seems the problem with Ancestry.com is poor transcription. Maybe it was just one person handling the area of the country where most of my relatives were from, but it didn’t only affect one family name or branch. Several had names so poorly misspelled that they didn’t show up in searches for the actual name, even when other (less similar) names did.

In my case, the problems with Ancestry’s 1940 census transcriptions related to an area near southeastern Pennsylvania mostly. But if you find yourself with a similar problem, where your searches return no results even when you know your relatives lived in a certain place during that time, try Archives.com or another service before you give up. Once I did that and input the data into my Ancestry tree, several other doors opened.

Best of luck!

Jenn is a professional writer and publisher, and the founder of Climb Your Family Tree.

She first became interested in genealogy as a teenager. Since that early start, she's spent more than 25 years putting her personal passion and professional research skills to use in exploring her own family history while assisting others in their genealogical journeys.

In addition to running Climb Your Family Tree, Jenn owns a variety of web properties including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, Kiss My Biz, and NakedPR.

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