1950 Census Tips
Hopefully, you’ve had time to search the 1950 Census Records for your family. In an earlier blog I pointed you to resources to access that census. This week I want to share a few tips that I think will be helpful.
Like many of you I couldn’t wait to start looking for my family and relatives in the 1950 Census. I found the 1950 Census at 1950 Census - Home | 1950 Census (archives.gov) to be the easiest to circumvent. At least until the big-name sites like Amazon, FamilySearch, MyHeritage and other are fully indexed. It doesn’t mean that you can’t find your information on those sites, it is just that Archives.gov has used artificial intelligence with machine learning to help you search. Is it a perfect model? No but it certainly is a help when you know you have someone in a large city but do not know the address. Let’s walk through an example.
On the main page, choose to begin your search complete this information in the form:
In the example today I am looking for Alfred Hrbacek in Houston, Texas. In my first attempt I chose the city “Houston” and received no results, so I refined my search to be in Houston, Harris [county]. The first result was: “Arbacek Alfred” Hmmm…Looking at the machine learning extracted names below that census record, I see that “Annie” follows Arbacek, Alfred in the listing. I happen to know that that is his wife. Once I open the census record, I can see that it is Hrbacek, Alfred, not Arbacek, Alfred plus their ages, place of birth and other items indicate that I have found my people. You might be thinking that why wouldn’t I just open that census image immediately? In this case, there were only a few results but in other surname searches there are pages of results. This is a quick way to scroll and eliminate those results that don’t apply.
The machine learning helps in the beginning of releasing a census until transcriptions completed by people help fine tune the names and results. Be prepared for some flexibility when searching for your person. I happen to know that Alfred had two other relatives with the same last name—all spelled differently in the search results: Urbacek, Arbacek and Hubacck. None of them spelled correctly in the results but looked correct in the actual census image.
For another family, in Ancestry, I was surprised to find that by putting in a physical address, it would populate the enumeration district. Clicking on that result brings you directly to that group of census records. This helps to find your family if you don’t mind scrolling through the pages available in that district.
For those who have farm families, I have yet to discover if there is an agricultural census that will be available. I think it would be a great snapshot of our ancestors at that moment in time. I have found reference to the agricultural census in the 1950 census but have not found it. Perhaps the results were tallied and then destroyed. I don’t know.
I hope this helps you find your people. Enjoy the fifties!
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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.