Courtesy NYPL

Courtesy NYPL

Direct Me NYC 1940 marries the 1940 census with the digitized phone books of all five boroughs of New York City. The user unites the two sets of data with the help of Steve Morse’s One-Step site. If you’re still struggling to find elusive NYC family members, this site can help. There’s an article up at the New York Times about the resource at the New York Public Library.

The project permits the user to cross-reference NYC residents’ names and addresses with the 1940 census data made public last year, which includes the person’s age, income, education, occupation, and residences in 1935 and 1940.

There’s a place for users to share their discoveries, and as usual, Thomas MacEntee has beaten us all to the punch. The site also provides context for your finds with a streaming banner of 1940 news from the NY Times archives.

“The result,” according to the New York Times, “is serendipitous and eye-opening for scholars and family genealogists searching out their roots.” I agree: the user interface, instructions, and contextual results are beautifully done.

Now if some other big cities (I’m looking at you, Chicago) would follow suit.