1940 Census Site Crashed By Curious

New data dump proves too popular for its own good with 22.5 million hits

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 3, 2012 8:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – The National Archives wasn't prepared for just how many people would be clamoring to check out its newly released trove of detailed data from the 1940 census. Hordes of curious browsers flooded the site within minutes of its launch yesterday, overwhelming the servers and leaving it essentially unusable, the LA Times reports. "In the first three hours, we had 22.5 million hits," an Archives spokeswoman says. "We're a victim of our own success."

Individual census records are kept sealed for 72 years. Every 10 years that expires for a new census, but this is the first time one has been made available for online search, and armchair genealogists and historians everywhere were eager for a look. "It's frustrating, and we share that frustration with the public," the spokeswoman said. "We're working as fast as we can to fix the problem."

A poster used for promotional efforts during the 1940 Census is seen in this file photo.
A poster used for promotional efforts during the 1940 Census is seen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/UTA Library via The Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
This screen grab taken on Monday, April 2, 2012, shows the page for the 1940 Census on the National Archives website.
This screen grab taken on Monday, April 2, 2012, shows the page for the 1940 Census on the National Archives website.   (AP Photo/National Archives and Records Administration via World Wide Web)
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