Look out social media, stand back hottest app of the day, I have a new research obsession: The 1940 Census.

Thanks to the National Archives you can now locate responses for individuals and families from the 1940 Census. Details include age, gender, marital status, education, employment, residency in 1935 and more.

While there isn’t a name search, there is a tool that allows you to search by location. The Washington Post also has a guide to using the site.
 
The information is hand-written and a bit tricky to look at, but it’s well worth the effort. Apart from stalking my grandmother, I’ve been contemplating potential journalistic uses of the records.

This data can give us information at our fingertips about people from the 1940’s that was previously unavailable. Use that information to beef up profiles, verify historical information, find leads for an investigation into the past and more. Additionally, the records are divided up by location so each document read as a whole can offer a historical snapshot of communities you currently cover.

Lastly, as the United States is struggling to come out of economic hardships, I find it fascinating to see the demographics of people dealing with the Great Depression. With a bit of work,I think the data could provide an interesting comparison to our current realities. Regardless of the use, this is definitely a research item to tuck away in your toolbox.