Last year at this time, the biggest news was all about the release of the 1940 U.S. census that was released April 2, 2012. Along with the release of the census to the public were constant news articles about the progress of the indexing project that allowed searches of the census by first or last name, city and state. Without those indexes it was necessary to first find an enumeration district where the person you were looking for could have been living. Since enumeration districts are based on addresses and street coordinates, in order to find someone, you pretty much needed to have already found them, or be prepared to look through hundreds of pages of census records one by one.
Of course the United States is not the only country with census records, and news of census releases and their indices from any country is big news. Jan Meisels Allen alerted us to big news about the Canadian 1911 and 1921 censuses:
“Library and Archives Canada (LAC) released an indexed version of the Canada 1911 census. Previously, this census was only available on the website in image format. Now this census can be easily searched by family name, first name, age and province. Access to the census is free. You can search the indexed version by going to: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1911/Pages/1911.aspx
The 1911 Census, officially began on June, 1, 1911 . The enumerators visited 218 census districts and collected information for 7,204,838 individuals. The census included 549 questions on 13 schedules. However, only one schedule (number 1 ) was preserved. To read more about the history of this census and what is included go to: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1911/Pages/about-census.aspx The Canada 1921 census will be released on 1 June 2013.”
Other great things going on digitally in the world of genealogy include a phenomenal mapping project of the Eastern European area once known as Galicia, encompassing parts of what are today Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and more. Whether or not your ancestors came from this part of the world, a visit to the Gesher Galicia map room is well worth the time – you can find it at http://maps.geshergalicia.org/ – I haven’t seen such a wonderful accumulation of maps outside of a map store.