Americans’ growing interest in genealogy and family history has spawned a demand for historical information. And while many may have treated the most recent U.S. census with a bit of a yawn, there’s been great excitement for something that’s taken 72 years to go public–the results of the 1940 U.S. Census.
It’s not just that people are eager to go back to the days of 18-cent-a-gallon gas and Artie Shaw. The release–on April 2–includes personal and historic details of more than 132 million people at the tail end of the Great Depression and just before the start of World War II. Now all this information is available free of charge, as the National Archives has digitized more than 3.8 million images. In fact, this is the first time researchers, genealogists and history hunters can find detailed records online in one place for free.
The 1940 Census had more info than just peoples’ names, ages and occupations. People were also asked whether or not they had a radio, a “flush” toilet, electricity or running water. A nice glimpse into the past to further fuel the future.