US, Puerto Rico—Censo Federal de 1940

Project Instructions

Please Read the Instructions

  • Please read these project instructions carefully before indexing any batches.
  • Review this page and the field helps frequently for updates.
  • Click here for a summary of project updates.

Language for Field Names and Project Instructions

  • The indexing field names and the field helps in the right bottom corner of the indexing screen are available in Spanish and English. To change the language:
    1. In the menu at the top of the indexing screen, click Tools.
    2. Click Options.
    3. Click on the Language tab.
    4. Click in the Language for Field Names box and Language for Field Help and Project Instructions box, and select the preferred option.
    5. Close the data entry screen, and reopen the batch for the change to take effect.


  • Often an entry was crossed out, and a code number was added to the census form. Ignore these code numbers, and index what was originally written in the census field. For example, the letter "C" in column 11 (Condición Matrimonial, or Marital Status) may have been crossed out, and the code "2" added to the field. In this case, type C in the Marital Status field of the indexing data entry area, and ignore the "2."

Account for Every Record on the Page

  • Each census form has 50 entry lines. If an entry line on the census form is blank or has no data to be indexed, mark the record as blank in the data entry area. Be sure to mark the record as blank in the same order as it appears on the census form. Click here to see a census form on which lines were left blank.
  • To mark an entry line as blank, press Ctrl+Shift+B, or do the following:
    1. On the menu bar, click Edit.
    2. Select Mark Field or Record.
    3. Click Mark Record Blank.
  • In some cases, the census taker may have written more than 50 records on a census form. If a form has more than 50 records, please add enough records in the data entry area to match the number of records on the image. To add records:
    1. On the menu bar, click Tools.
    2. Click Records per Image.
    3. Click in the Number of records box, and type the total number of records on the page.
    4. Click OK.

Diacritics and Other Characters

  • If the name of a person or locality is written with a character not on your keyboard, such as the accented é in José, please insert the character by clicking on the Enter special international characters icon (which is a square with an "ñ" in it) and selecting the character you want to insert, or:
    1. On the menu bar, click Edit.
    2. Click International Letters.
    3. Click on the letter you want to insert.

How to Index Ages

  • Index only full years. If fractions of years were recorded, round down to the nearest full year. If less than one year was recorded, index the age as 0 (zero).

Residence, April 1, 1935

  • This census included information about where individuals lived five years before the census was taken. This information may have been recorded as a municipality (a city, town, or village) or it may have been written as a state, territory, or country.
  • If the place-name was misspelled, spell it correctly. If it was abbreviated and you can determine what the abbreviation stands for, type the complete name instead of the abbreviation. Use the lookup list for assistance. If you are not sure what the abbreviation stands for, index what was written, excluding punctuation.
  • If multiple levels of locality were recorded, index all levels in the order they were recorded, separating each level of locality with a space.
  • If a census entry was for a child under age 5, then mark this field as blank, even if a term or place-name was entered in this column on the census form.

Ditto Marks and Other Signs of Repetition

  • You may find ditto marks or similar signs of repetition. These signs may include ditto marks, the word "ditto" or an abbreviation of it, a horizontal line, or a vertical line.
  • If a record includes any of these signs, type the information from the previous record or field.
  • If you are not sure whether a mark is a ditto mark or whether it indicates something else, such as that a field was blank, then use your best judgment, taking into account contextual information. For example, if a child was recorded as being four years old and a horizontal line was written in the Residence (1935) field, then the horizontal line probably means the field should be marked as blank. If, however, a child was recorded as being ten years old, a similar horizontal line in the Residence (1935) field could be considered a ditto mark.

What to Index from the Previous Image

  • The household number needs to be repeated for each member of the household, and the surname needs to be repeated for each member of the family, even if that information was written only for the first member of the household.
  • If the census taker began recording a household at the bottom of the previous census page and continued at the top of the page you are indexing, you may need to look at the previous image to find the household number and the surname.
  • To see the previous image:
    1. On the menu bar, click View.
    2. Click Show Previous or Next Image.
    3. In the window that appears, click the Previous Image button.
    4. Scroll to find the last household number and surname on the previous image.
    5. Type the surname for each person in the family and the household number for each person in the household on the page you are indexing.
    6. Return to normal view by clicking View and then Show Previous or Next Image.

Highlights and the Ruler

  • Highlights are available for this project.
  • If highlights do not appear on the image and you want to use them:
    1. On the menu bar, click View.
    2. Click Show Highlights. If Show Highlights is turned on, that option will have a check mark next to it.
  • The highlights may not line up with the image. To adjust the highlights to fit the image:
    1. On the menu bar, click View.
    2. Click Adjust Highlights.
    3. Move the cursor over the image, and all highlights will appear.
    4. To adjust the highlights, click on and drag a corner of the red outline to the proper location or click on and drag an indexing field to the proper location.
  • Adjusting highlights may be tricky. A key to successfully aligning the highlights with the fields is first to adjust the red outline to encompass the area where the fields are located and then to move the indexing fields to the proper locations.
  • The ruler is also available. If you choose to use the ruler, please be aware that the ruler is not anchored to the indexing screen and does not automatically move as you move to a new entry. To see the ruler:
    1. On the menu bar, click View.
    2. Select Show Ruler.

Handwriting Helps

  • Most of these records are handwritten. The handwriting resource on the data entry screen may help you decipher difficult handwriting.
  • To access this resource, click on the Handwriting Help icon (which looks like an inkwell with an orange feather quill).

Additional Information