The federal government unsealed individual records from the 1940 U.S. Census Monday morning -- 72 years after they were made, MPR News reported.
With 3.9 million images scanned from more than 4,000 rolls of microfilm, the database represents the largest collection of digital information ever released by the Archives, and the first time a census has been released online, Boston.com reported.
Paula Stuart-Warren told MPR News that she found out her family includes a John Dillinger get-away driver, a counterfeiter and a pioneering heart transplant surgeon.
But according to MPR News, the records aren't indexed, which means searchers can't plug a relative's name into a search engine to find the data. They have to know the address and find the enumeration district -- that's how census-takers carved up America's cities and countryside into smaller slices to count everyone.
Questions asked included value of home, marital status, education, citizenship, employment status, occupation, and income.