Ancestry.com has added 540 million names from US Census records from 1790 to 1930 to their online database. The project took 6.6 million hours of labor. Workers scanned and transcribed 13 million original census images 15,000 rolls of microfilm.
Ruth Carr, department chief of local history and genealogy at the New York Public Library, said researchers have had to work with “thousands of reels of microfilm.”
“With the digitization of the census, it is now possible for someone to type a name in the search box, and within seconds view the image of the actual census page,” she said.
The records revealed some quirks. For instance, Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary, reported growing only seven years older between the 1850 and the 1860 census.