Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen
The New York Public Library (NYPL) is digitizing all of the 1940 New York City telephone directories. They plan to have them available on their website at the time of the 1940 US census release --April 2, 2012. There will be a separate website for this, but at this time that url is not known. However, there will be a link to that website at the time from the NYPL. Go to: www.nypl.org and in the search box type in 1940 telephone directories. When on the NYPL website search box make certain that the NYPL.org button is clicked "not" the catalogue.
For those of us with family in New York City in 1940 this will be an invaluable tool to help with location for searching the 1940 census as it will not be name indexed when first released. Name indexing will take at least six months and different organizations will be working on name indexing. In order to search before the name index is available one needs to know location of the person being researched. Also be aware that in 1940 not everyone could afford a telephone, and therefore, it is possible that the person(s) you are searching may not be found in the telephone directories.
The NYPL digitized telephone directory release will be a seamless tool as they are working with Steve Morse with the "One-Step Website", which will help with the locational tools necessary to find the correct Enumeration District (ED) on the census [ www.stevemorse.org ].
In addition, the NYPL is holding an event on March 24 called the Road to the 1940 Census: In search of your family history (www.nypl.org/1940census). The keynote speaker is Dr. Robert Groves, Director of the US Census. Other key speakers include Constance Potter, The Senior Genealogy Specialist at the Research Support Branch of NARA in Washington, DC, and others. Due to the overwhelming response to this program, the NYPL has moved the event to a larger venue...but RSVP's are still required. The event is free of charge. This program is being presented by the New York Public Library, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee