In a press release dated November 17, 2011, Archives.com has announced that it has been chosen by NARA to provide the public with free digital access to the 1940 Federal Population Census beginning on April 2, 2012.
The 1940 Census will be available to the public April 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) on a new website created in collaboration between Archives.com and the National Archives.The collection will consist of 3.8 million images that the National Archives scanned from over four thousand rolls of microfilm. Public access to the images will not require payment or registration, and will be available to any person with internet access. The name and web address of the website will be announced at a later date.Searching those 3.8 million images may prove challenging at first. According to the press release, “At launch, researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census by address, Enumeration District (ED), and geographic location. Researchers will be able to browse images by ED number directly, or use address or geographic information to locate the appropriate census schedule."
Although no name index will be available at launch, Archives.com has indicated they will “provide its members access to a fully searchable name index on its website in 2012.”
Archives.com currently maintains an information and roll-out status page titled U.S Census 1940. It provides background information on the 1940 Census and a number of useful links for preparing for your research.