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Census Records

Where to find the 1950 Census

"On April 1, 2022, the 1950 Census was released, and users can access it for free through a dedicated website." Search for the first and last name of the head of household (plus state and county of residence if known).

1950census.archives.gov


For resources, finding aids, and webinars visit: https://www.archives.gov/research/census/1950

Other ways to access the 1950 US Census:


"This population census is the 17th decennial census of the United States. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has digitized and is providing free online access to the 1950 Census population schedules for U.S. states and territories, enumeration district maps, and enumeration district descriptions."

Currently, individual census records from only 1790 to 1950 are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, not the U.S. Census Bureau. The Decennial census records are confidential for 72 years to protect the privacy of respondents. The 1950 Census Day was April 1, 1950.

Indexing of 1950 Census

Official 1950 Census Website
"Use the built-in transcription feature to correct and add names to the site's name index. Your contributions can help make the 1950 Census population schedules more discoverable for everyone."

To develop the initial name index, the National Archives is “using Amazon Web Services’ artificial intelligence / optical character recognition (AI/OCR) Textract tool to extract the handwritten names from the digitized 1950 Census population schedules.” This technology will “not be 100-percent accurate” according to the National Archives. Go to: 1950census.archives.gov.

 

1950 U.S. Census Community Project
Family Search allows you to "Become part of this once-in-a-decade community project! You can help by reviewing a few of our computer generated entries and fixing any errors that you see."

"Volunteers will review and improve an automated index created by Ancestry using handwriting recognition technology to ensure that it is complete and accurate." Go to: https://www.familysearch.org/getinvolved/1950

What's on the 1950 Census

For a 1950 Overview of the U.S. Census visit the United States Census Bureau website.
Go to: https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/1950.html

 

"The 1950 census population questionnaire asked fewer questions than its predecessor; the full population was asked only 20 questions. As in 1940, a 5 percent sample was asked an additional slate of questions." Visit the United States Census Bureau website to view the questions asked by Enumerators.
Go to: https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1950_population.html

To view the complete 1950 Census Population Questionnaire documents:

Go to: https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/questionnaires/1950_1.html

 

Questions Asked on the 1950 Census "The 1950 Census had 20 questions for all persons, so it was shorter than the 1940 Census, but otherwise, changes were minimal. Additional questions at the bottom of the schedule (Nos. 21-33c) were asked of six persons whose name fell on a highlighted line labeled “Sample.”
Go to: https://www.archives.gov/research/census/1950/questions-asked

Enumeration Districts

The 1950 census was divided into enumeration districts (geographic areas) created to allow a census taker (enumerator) to visit every house. Enumeration district maps illustrate these districts’ boundaries.

If you wish to browse the area that your ancestor lived in, you will need to know his or her address in 1950 and the census Enumeration District in which that address was located. Then you browse the images in the census population schedules for that Enumeration District.

Wondering where to find addresses? Try looking in the following: city directories; old family letters, postcards, and address books; Military discharge records and index, 1922-1962, Gaston County, North Carolina (available in Family Search ); and the 1940 census if the family lived in the same place at that time. Example: Telephone Directory: Gastonia, Bessemer City, Belmont, Mt. Holly. July, 1950. Corrected Through May 11, 1950. Southern Bell Telephone   and Telegraph Company.

 

1950 Enumeration Districts and Maps

GETTING READY FOR THE 1950 CENSUS:  Searching With and Without a Name Index by Stephen P. Morse and Joel D. Weintraub, explains the background of the census and searching enumeration districts.

  • Obtaining the Census Enumeration District for an 1880 to 1950 Location in One Step. Steve Morse's website provides 3 utilities to find EDs for an 1880 to 1950 Location and go straight to the page you want in the census.
    Go to: http://stevemorse.org/census/unified.html
  • Finding Transcribed ED Descriptions for 1950 in one step
    Go To: https://stevemorse.org/ed/ed.php
  • IMPORTANT NOTE about Finding Transcribed ED Descriptions for 1950 in one step : 'The Census images on Family Search will be published online state-by-state starting at 12:01 AM EDT on April 1, 2022. It might take up to several days for Family Search to complete this process. As soon as the images for an ED are put online, they will be viewable from this tool. So if you get "No Results Found" for a particular ED, try again later. In the interim, you can try other EDs.'

The National Archives Geographic Finding Aids for the 1950 Census provides digital scans of ED maps in the record series, Enumeration District and Related Maps, 1880 - 1990.

  • The National Archives provides an ED Map Search. Enter in the search box: 1950 Census maps + the county + the state. For example "1950 Census maps Gaston North Carolina". Warning: these can be very large images.
    Go to: http://www.archives.gov/research/catalog/
  • View in one step the Enumeration District Maps for 1950 at Census website by Stephen P. Morse, PhD  &  Joel D. Weintraub, PhD.
    Search by state, county, and city to find "Links to NARA viewer" and "Direct links to jpegs on NARA server" of ED maps.
    Go to: https://stevemorse.org/census/arc1940-1950edmaps.html
 

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