Accessing and Using 1950 Census Data

The 1950 US Census is coming soon for genealogists and family history researchers to use in finding their ancestors. However, when the files are released on April 1, 2022, they are not going to be indexed like you are used to searching online. You are going to need to do some preparation to be ready to research, but where to start?

One of the most important pieces of information you will need to search the records when they are released is where your ancestor lived in 1950. This will help you find the correct enumeration district, the area that could be covered by a single census taker during a census. You can search the enumeration district maps on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website or use the enumeration district map finder created by noted genealogist Steve Morse.

Since the US Census Bureau and NARA are the institutions in charge of conducting, storing, and digitizing the census rolls, they both have incredible information regarding the 1950 Census. The Census Bureau will be the best place to learn about the census itself, including an overview of the history of the census, examples of the questions asked, sample questionnaires and schedule forms, and instructions for enumerators. For more detail about the work NARA has been doing to get the files ready to go public and an in-depth look at various parts of the census, check out the History Hub blog run by NARA’s Genealogy subject matter expert and archivist Claire Kluskens or the Featured Articles section of NARA’s website.

Many other noted and reputable family history resources have put out their own blog posts in regard to the 1950 census. Check out some of our favorites, as well as Plano Public Library’s own general US Census class for more information.

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