The National Archives releases census records once a decade, and on April 2 it is making available the information from the 1940 census. But the records won't immediately be searchable by name.
For those whose relatives lived in New York City, the New York Public Library is aiming to make it simpler to search this holy grail of information about what life was like during periods such as the Great Depression and the lead-up to World War II.
The library is launching an online tool to allow users to type in names and, potentially, locate census forms listing a host of details on every person living in the family household at the time of the census.
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