Footnote.com announced yesterday that its 1930 US Census is going to be available free online through the end of August. The direct URL for the resource is http://go.footnote.com/1930census/.
You will have to register to have free access, but all the registration asks for is an e-mail address and a password.
There are over 123 million names included in this census. The front page lets you do just a first name/ last name search. Once you’ve run that search you can narrow it down further by searching for any number of additional factors like place, year, age, county, etc. Search results have the name from your search results and place of household, with more pointers to other family members. Click on a name to be taken to an image of the census. Footnote lets you go through the census line-by-line, pulling out key facts about each people listed. (Though strangely not everything. A popup window tells you the estimated date of birth for a person, but not their listed occupation.)
You can save images to your hard drive, or print them out, but what’s interesting are the social media aspects of Footnote’s census. You can add images for a person, or a comment or a story, or you can even create a page for that person on Footnote.com. (Here’s the page I created for early cowboy movie star Tom Mix.) On this page you get a timeline for the person that’s also populated with world events, add comments/pictures/stories/links, or create a memorial page on Facebook.
Of course, information about any random person in a census is only going to be as good as its provider. But if you have a baseline of information about them — enough to be able to evaluate submitted information — what a great way to make contact with distant cousins and gather a little more stuff for your family tree. And of course, for the month of August the census is free.