The Federal Government has just released something very cool, the 1940 US Census. It's a very interesting look at a much simpler time. So many people didn't even have indoor plumbing, or a car. And, computer, cell phone, color television, space travel.....what were all those things? Heck, Radio was king back then.

Every ten years, a US census is made available to the public. But, the information in the census is decades old, because there is a mandatory 72-year waiting period before a census can be made public. Even so, census information is usually helpful for people who are attempting to trace their geneology.

This year, the US census from 1940 was set for release, but the National Archives and Records Administration did something a little different. They have put all of the census records online and made them accessible by anyone with an internet connection. And, the pages can be downloaded and shared via social media. Ain't technology wonderful?

Rebecca Warlow is the 1940 census project manager at the National Archives and Records Administration, and said, “There’s a little more excitement this time because it is being released online and it’s immediately available to people. Anybody with internet access can search to their heart’s content.”

You're not able to search by name, but if you’re looking for a relative and you know approximately where they lived, you can find out who the census taker in their area was and search all the handwritten notes taken by that person. Once you’ve tracked down who you’re looking for, you can find their name, age, address, marital status, number of children and sometimes even their occupation and how much they earned.

The 1940 census promises to be much more interesting to people today because it was taken as the US was coming out of the Depression, which is something we all feel a little closer to after our recent recession. Also, according to census officials, of the 132.2 million Americans counted in 1940, 21 million are still alive.

Check out this video explaining the exciting new development in the annual Census below.