Within hours of the release of the 1940 census data this morning, Kathy Amoroso had already looked up her father, who was a 9-year-old living with his mother, father, brother and sister in Lewiston when the census taker came to their door 72 years ago.

She discovered her grandfather, a salesman, earned $2,300 the year before.

“It brings history to life,” said Amoroso.

The data release was eagerly awaited by family and historical researchers and is online for the first time.

The Maine State Library in Augusta is marking the release with a celebration, complete with cake. The library, along with other historical archives across the state, is offering help in navigating the new information.