Monday, April 5, 2021

My 1950 U.S. Census Release To-Do List: Who and Where

With the public release of the 1950 U.S. Census records less than a year away, I'm prepping to be ready for April 1, 2022. 

That mid-century Census will not be transcribed or indexed when first released. I won't be able to simply type a name into the search box and magically find my screen filled with the correct 1950 Census page. Not until the Census is indexed and transcribed, which will be months after the release date. 

In the early weeks, I'll be browsing lots and lots of handwritten pages to try to spot the people I want to find. 

From my experience following a similar process when the 1940 Census was released, I know some browsing may involve only a few pages per person. Of course, some ancestors will be found on the final page of a large district, or spread across two districts. I have to be ready for any of these possibilities.

Which ancestors do I want to find?

My first step is to list the ancestors I want to find in the 1950 Census, surname first. Setting my priorities, I'm listing my closest ancestors on each side, followed by more distant ancestors. I didn't note relationships, but I may refine my table to indicate that later on. 

As shown in the sample at top, I created a table in a Word document so that I can sort by surname, sort by 1940 location, sort by 1950 location, etc. I've left space for the 1950 Enumeration District (known as an ED, more about this in a later post). 

Sorting is important because I might find, after listing dozens of ancestors, that two or three or more live in the same ED. For more efficient browsing, I'd want to group those together. 

In this sample, I entered the names (no maiden names) of three members of my father's Mahler family. I also noted any name variations I found in the 1940 Census, as a reminder about creative spelling by enumerators. 

Where were ancestors in 1950?

The next very important step is to note where my ancestors were living in 1950. In the case of my great aunt Dora Mahler, I can be pretty confident about her address in April of 1950 because she was at that address when she died in June of 1950. She had a chronic illness and had lived with her mother for years, which is why I listed my great-grandma Tillie Jacobs Mahler at the same address in 1950. 

My grandmother Henrietta Mahler was living at 3044 Valentine Avenue in the Bronx, NY when her husband Isaac Burk died in 1943. Tentatively, I've listed that as her address in 1950, along with another possible address: the apartment building where her son and daughter lived in 1950. Maybe she was living in the same building by 1950?

I'll have more to say about ways to find 1950 addresses in my next post!

No comments:

Post a Comment