Privacy period expired
University of Wisconsin demographers were permitted to construct tapes of data from the 1940 and 1950 US censuses for their ‘40-50 Project’. Their analysis of the government’s census data, coupled with further demographic data they collected from 1960 on, indicates an improvement in the country’s economic conditions as it ramped up for World War II. Shifts in patterns of typical family composition, birth rates, poverty and overall social well-being were better able to be assessed because of the improved data collection of the 1940 census. The serendipitous timing of the improvement proved useful given the magnitude of impending world events that would later impact the nation so irreversibly.
What many people may not realize is that data from the 1960 census was released to the public in 1963. With the introduction of computer capabilities, the 1960 census data was able to be stored electronically. General demographic data was able to be separated from identifying personal information, so the records could be released without compromising personal privacy. Because the 1940 census data was not documented electronically, the personal information could not be separated and therefore the records were kept private until the privacy protection period had expired.
The data contained in the 1940 census is valuable, as it documents the demographics of a nation on the threshold of a major world war, painting a detailed profile of the US population prior to the devastating loss of life, and the resultant changes to family composition and financial circumstances, that resulted from WWII. It has already been used as a comparative research tool in the identification and understanding of the underlying social, economic and demographic changes that occurred in the USA during the postwar period, such as subsequent changes to patterns in rates of birth, mortality, economics and immigration.
Canada’s privacy laws prevent public access to census records after 1911. The release of the 1940 census records in the US will aid in the search of historical data by both research institutions and individuals. For private citizens performing their own genealogical research, it provides specific household data detailing, among other facts, names of all co-habitants, We wish to sincerely thank you for your warm and caring expressions of sympathy in the form of personal visits, phone calls, cards, flowers and delicious food (brought to the house). We are grateful to the C.H.U staff 10th floor Fleurimont and 4th floor Hotel Dieu for their attention and devotion. Doctors Fulop, Lapierre and Leblanc and nurse Manon Lavigne for their constant and delicate updates. It was comforting to know John had such good care. Dr. Félix Ayala Paredes, cardiologist and Dr. Raymonde Vaillancourt, family doctors for the many years of care and follow-ups. We credit them for John’s well being over the years. Father Maurice Domingue, Rev. Doreen Keet Moffat, Rev. Barbara Wintle and the Canadian Legion, branch 128 for the eloquent services. The helpful staff at Cass Funeral homes, Penny, Janie and Leslie. I would like to thank all of you, family and friends, over the years, for making us part of your lives and for so many good times and memories. John often said “We came to Canada to show our appreciation and gratitude to the Canadians for their part in the liberation of Holland, to become a successful farmer and a good life for our children“. He can rest peacefully in knowing he accomplished all three. Few of us will ever look at a peacock feather or a beautiful Christmas scene without thinking of John. It is comforting to know that he will be remembered by so many of you as an honourable, happy man. Sincerely, Rita Brus and family aiding those who seek family members whose names may not be known. The data will provide family relationship information, aiding in the search for ancestors. It also provides socio-economic information about the family. There are websites currently offering access to historical data and documents, but the sites can be costly. Once the census is released to the public, private citizens may research relatives on their own. Most libraries can provide, through inter-library loans, access to pertinent historical documents from distant locations to anyone who knows what they are seeking. The 1940 census records may provide researchers with family members’ names and towns of residency and births, all of which may help narrow searches for specific family members. The data may be the difference between a successful search and a futile search for family members whose names and birth location would otherwise remain unknown.