April 1 is much better than just April Fools’ Day this year. The 1950 United States population census will be released free to the public by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on a dedicated website. NARA’s 1950 census informational page listed first in the helpful websites below will post that link at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. For me in Minnesota, that means 11:01 p.m.
It will be “helpfully” indexed via an artificial intelligence/optical character (AI/OCR) recognition tool that the National Archives will have for us on that day. Users can also contribute additional names and corrections to those that will appear if we see errors.
I have been listening to webinars, reading blogs, and checking social media for news, updates, and tips on accessing the 1950 census that day. Major genealogy websites will be adding the images to their websites. That won’t occur at 12:01 a.m. EDT, though. Then those websites will be actively indexing the census with employees and volunteers. Many genealogists did that for the 1940 census and it was fun and personally rewarding to be part of that.
I have studied addresses of various family members to hopefully be sure where everyone was located. City directories, previous censuses, memories, old telephone books, military records, and many other records we use in our family history research will aid in that address search. I used a photo of 21-month- old Paula Stuart to determine where my parents and I were living in 1950. It was just before my parents owned a house and the photo showed me still in our rented upstairs residence that month. Then I located that address on the East side of Saint Paul on an enumeration map. The enumeration maps show which area of a city, town, county, or other designated place is the area in which your people were living. The ED (enumeration district) is noted on the census pages and will help if the AI/OCR created index doesn’t yield a direct hit for you.
A selection of helpful links to help you learn more as you prepare for searching the 1950 census:
- National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/research/census/1950 Scroll down that page for extensive information and for a list of presentations about the census. Learn more about the Enumeration District Maps https://unwritten-record.blogs.archives.gov/2016/06/08/snapshot-usa-1950-census-enumeration-district-maps/
- Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.com/c/1950-census
- CyndisList: https://www.cyndislist.com/us/census/1950/general/
- DearMyrtle, your friend in genealogy: https://blog.dearmyrtle.com/p/censusgenie.html
- FamilySearch: https://www.familysearch.org/1950census/
- MyHeritage: https://www.myheritage.com/census/us/1950census/
- Steve Morse & Joel Weintraub: https://stevemorse.org/census/1950census.htm and help with Enumeration District Maps: https://stevemorse.org/census/arc1940-1950edmaps.html
- U.S. Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/1950.html
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