You would have thought it was the census Brigadoon, never to be seen again after Monday, April 2nd. Every blog, facebook post, and tweet was focused on the release of the 1940 census. Being the rebel I am, I swore I wasn’t going to succumb to this silliness.
I smirked at 9am, thinking about everyone hunched over their ED spreadsheets they’d carefully made with all of their first-day “must-finds” just waiting for the opening bell to sound so they could rush madly into 1940. At 9:01, I started to wonder whether all the idiots had crashed the servers yet. At 9:02, I became one of the idiots. And the servers were crashed.
This is not a whiny post about the fact the servers were overwhelmed. It’s not a post about how the government can’t get things right or how Ancestry is inherently evil. It’s not a post about anything at all negative. On the contrary, I thought the excitement and fervor brought about by the release of the 1940 census was an undeniable reminder why we all do this. All genealogists, family historians, or any other label you want to apply — realized the rarity of this event. It only happens two, maybe three, and rarely four or more times in a genealogist’s lifetime. Every professional genealogist I know dropped what client work they were doing – at least for the day, and sometimes the week – to try and find their own families, It was an overpowering reminder of exactly how passionate genealogists are about what they do. It was clear evidence that regardless of whether or not we exchange money for research, none of us have forgotten why it is we’ve chosen this line of work. Whatever our personal or professional motivations might be, we’re all like kids in a candy shop when an event like this comes about.
Rock on my friends, rock on.