Four short films were created by the US Census Bureau prior to 1940 to train enumerators on their general duties and responsibilities, as well as the correct procedures for filling out the 1940 census. Those films have now been digitized and are available online.
The films describe the three main parts of the census, including the population, agriculture, and housing schedules, and delves into the background of the census and the reasons behind the questions. The duties of the enumerators are also reviewed, highlighting the three major principles of accuracy, complete coverage, and confidential answers.
The training films were produced in the same manner as the old newsreels. While such instructions are always of interest to genealogists, I was intrigued by the clothing and hair styles. In 1940, our country seemed to be far more regimented than today, at least in films. Notice, too, that everyone uses fountain pens. When was the last time you saw that?
You can watch the 1940 census training films at http://www.youtube.com/user/usnationalarchives#grid/user/9C64D8D2FD4C281D or watch the first film by clicking on the image below.