Learning How to Access the 1950 Census
It’s important to realize that 1 April 2022 kicked off the first stage of access, and in the coming months it will be easier and more fruitful to search records in the 1950 census. Now that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has provided access to the digitized census forms, other organizations can begin to work their magic as well. The bottom line is that we need patience, not everything is easy or automatic, and we each have a role to play by preparing for our own research and working together to refine the indexes.
Attempting to demystify some of the uncertainty connected with access to the 1950 census, I talked to colleagues and experts and surveyed the available information to gain a better understanding. There is a fair amount of material to help genealogists, including video presentations, articles, and blog posts from a number of sources, especially NARA, the Census Bureau, and FamilySearch, listed at the end of this article.
If you have trouble logging on or accessing the articles, please contact [email protected]
I long ago found the ED for my family in the 1950 census. We lived within a township but in a rural, unincorporated area. When I search by ED all I get is aa page with collective information. there are no lines for individual entries. I am unable to figure out from all your instruction where the problem lies.
Frances, I am unsure what the issue is. Would you please send me some additional information on the family surname, locale, ED and even a screen shot. of the collective page. I will look into this problem and see what I can find. My contact information is in the APG Directory.
Sorry for the delayed response, we had some WordPress issues that had to be resolved in April.
Very nice job, Terry. I have been searching on the archives.gov site. Sometimes the name search works well. Other times I have just had to read through the E.D. pages. The latter works when I have a pretty good idea where a family lived.
Nice to hear from you! Your experience is very similar to others working with the NARA site–sometimes the name search works, often not at all. ED searching works best when you can create cross street boundaries around a 1950s era address for the family. Many researchers are having success using Steve Morse’s one-step tool ED finder. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D_f8YOzTpw.
Sorry about the delayed response, there were WordPress issues dogging us in April.
I have had good luck using the NARA website and searching by name, state and city. I found everyone I was looking for so far and then transcribed those pages.
Sandra, Thank you for letting us know what is working for you. I hear from other genealogist the websites showcasing 1950 census records are working better after several months of many webmasters working on issues and folks like yourself contributing transcriptions. Thanks for contributing to the NARA database! Terry
I signed up early on the NARA website to search and transcribe. I had trouble finding my own family and had to instead find the street we lived in and my address then. The transcriber had used my father’s middle name as the family last name, so no wonder I couldn’t just search for my name! It was fun looking up and down the street and finding a few favorite names, including my little 3-year-old friend Butch Brown and his parents, and another woman down the street who was my Mom’s best friend. It was interesting to see the mix of people on our street of 2- and 3-bedroom bungalows populated mostly by young families probably using the GI bill like our house in those post-WWII years. I also went to other states and transcribed pages where my other kin and my husband and his parents lived.
Thank you for posting your comment. It will help others to solve a similar problem if they come across it. I enjoyed your memory about your parents living in a small bungalow built for GI’s after WWII. My older sister told us stories of my parents living in GI housing in the late 40s that were Quonset huts converted into modest family homes to help relieve the housing shortage as many men came home and got married right away.
Thanks for giving your time to transcribe. Best Wishes, Terry Koch-Bostic