Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 13, Number 15 | April 2, 2012

Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.

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Special Edition — More on the U.S. 1940 Census

On Monday April 2, at about 9:04am Eastern Daylight (New York) Time, I went to the 1940 census site at and undoubtedly experienced what every other user experienced: system overload. At present, the site is virtually unusable.

A Possible Shortcut to Getting Data from the 1940 Census
I already knew the Enumeration Districts (ED) of interest and managed to get to the screen where the first page of the ED is displayed (it never appeared) and discovered in the upper right corner an option to “Download.” Using the “All Pages” option, I managed to download all of the Enumeration District. It is a Zip file and after, unzipping the file, I was able to browse the pages.

Use this option while the system is overloaded with users. Browsing the individual pages online taxes the servers much more than a simple download. Be aware that this worked only once. Attempts to download other EDs were the victim of system overload. and the 1940 Census
Meanwhile, is scrambling to get to images online at their site at As of 8:30 pm, Monday, they had 10 states online, including New York. In the morning, New York was not on the list. Their servers are handling the load, albeit slowly.

FamilySearch and the 1940 Census
As of 8:30 pm, Monday, had the 1940 census for five states online: Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Oregon and Virginia at Their system did not seem to be overloaded.

1940 New York City Telephone Books Online
The New York Public Library has 1940 telephone books for the City’s five boroughs at Highlight the entry of interest and through a few-step process, the site provides the Enumeration District number. Click on the button that displays the ED and you are transferred to the National Archives census site that has the images of the ED. All this powered by the Stephen P. Morse and Joel Weintraub One-Step work. Note that in 1940, not every New Yorker had a telephone. My parents did not.

“1940-era” Records Accessible at No Charge has announced that in conjunction with the release of the 1940 census, the “1940-era” records in their collection are available at no charge. This includes the 1930 Federal census. Glancing at the results of a search as a non-subscriber, the years involved are vast and include records from the 1930s through 1950s. The company did not indicate how long this offer would be available.

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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