We are all eagerly awaiting the 1950 Census release as family historians. By the time this posts we should have access to this census. While the 1950s seems more current than most of our research, it has been 72 years. Let’s look at ways to make the most of this release.
This census will be quite interesting because we personally knew people on the census, including parents and grandparents. We may still have relatives that are living today which is fun. I think this census could help us discover missing relatives who moved away from family and fill in some of those missing years.
How to you plan to explore this new release? Instead of randomly looking at people as I think of them, I’ve decided to take each of my four main branches and methodically start looking for my parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents. I have not decided if I will look for their siblings at the same time. I suspect that I will be more interested in discovering the direct ancestor line first. I do a second round to find siblings of those key ancestors, cousins, and others. I know it is not as efficient, but it will work for me. I will be comparing and updating data in Family Tree Maker. Remember to update and source information in your family tree as you go. It is easier than going back later. (I know it is much more fun to keep researching but trust me it is easier.)
There are many articles about the 1950s census and what you will be able to find. Here are links to some articles.
1950 United States census - Wikipedia
1950 Census Records
1950 Census Records | National Archives
1950 Census Records | Ancestry
1950 Overview - History - U.S. Census Bureau
How Indexing the 1950 Census Will Be Different (familysearch.org)
Census Records: 1950 Census: Infant Cards and ... | History Hub
Where can you find the 1950 Census? It will be available on most major sites, but it will not be indexed right away. There are guides available to help you identify the enumeration and district information. For those who have rural ancestors who stayed in the same place for years, it should be relatively easy to find them in the township and county where they have already lived. Will you need to page through several pages? Sure, but how spoiled are we with online research?! Think of waiting for microfilm to be copied and sent to organizations and the travel to view these, competing with other for the time on the microfilm reader. I’m glad that those days are past.
It is not clear whether the major sites will make the unindexed records available on April 1st, but it is worth checking. The National Archives, which is free to all, has worked on a 1950 Census site which will include a name search function which is powered by Artificial Intelligence. This is a good page to start if you’re not finding the 1950 Census on the major sites. According to the site, it will be available as of 12:01 am on April 1, 2022.
I suspect many of us will be busy researching our people starting in April. Happy searching!
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.