The time has arrived, what every family history researcher has been waiting for -- the April 1940 U. S. Federal Census, available today at 9 a.m. Of course that does not mean you can click on any database now to find your ancestors in 1940.
View this short 3 minute video supplied by the National Census Archives, holders of the census, to better understand the process to make the census available in a digital form. It is very informative.
As they suggest, it will help you locate information faster before the all the indexing is completed by FamilySearch.com and Ancestry.com in a few months by knowing the census enumeration district your family or ancestor lived in 1940. They suggest locating it on the 1940 census.archives.com site but it is a bit confusing to navigate. So instead use the 1940 Enumeration District Maps in One Step by Stephen Morse.
Here just select the state, the county and the city you believe your ancestors lived in as of 1940. There will then be a list of several links to digital maps. Now they are not listed by county or city names. You have already narrowed it down to the town or city. Instead it will be divided by sections or neighborhood within the town. You may have to call up several of those links to locate where you had ancestors.
In doing some of my ancestors who lived in Manchester, Carroll County, Maryland in 1940, I opened up about three links before coming to the right location. Clearly labeled were three neighborhoods or districts -- 7-10, 7-11, and 7-12. These would be the three enumeration districts I would need to view to find my family members.
The National Census Archives has a couple other very interesting videos to view on their site, several from the promotional films shown in the movie houses of 1940 to encourage Americans to complete the census.
Also view the 9-minute Hollywood promotional film, available online now, starring the ‘Three Stooges’ in “No Census, No Feeling” where they are census takers and how they encourage people to provide the government the needed information. Little would they guess that it would be the descendants of those American citizens of 1940 who would be most interested in viewing the census records some 72 years later?