Ancestry.com has provided us, the Ancestry.com 1940 Census Aces, with some information about Monday's release of the 1940 census images:
The National Archives and Records Administration will open the 1940 U.S. Federal Census on April 2, 2012—the first time this collection will be made available to the public. Once we receive the census, we will begin uploading census images to our site so the public can browse them. Initially, this collection will be what we call a browse-only collection. This means a person can scroll through the pages of the census districts much like you would look at a microfilm or a book. At the same time, we will be working behind the scenes to create an index of the census that will eventually allow people to search for their family members by name as they currently can with all other censuses on Ancestry.com. Note also that the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be accessible free of charge throughout 2012 on Ancestry.com.
As to how long it will take to get all the states online, this is going to be a rather massive project. As Ancestry.com puts it: "We like to use this analogy: think about how long it takes to upload all of the images on a memory card onto a home computer. Now imagine that memory card holds 3.8 million, very-high-definition images. You get the picture."
Sure, it will take some time. And during the upload process, they will be working on the index, too. I will be one of the ones waiting for the index to come out, because I do not have the slightest clue where to look for my parents. I have other things to keep me busy in the meantime, including (and chiefly) getting ready to graduate from college.
So get ready! The 1940 census is coming!
Now I think I'll go play with some ED maps, because I know where my grandparents were!