Tuesday, April 27, 2021

My 1950 U.S. Census Release To-Do List: "Who Was There" List

With my eye on the public release of the 1950 U.S. Census in less than a year, I'm preparing to look for ancestors I'm particularly interested in.

No indexing will be available on April 1, 2022, so the only way to find these ancestors at first will be to browse enumeration districts where they were living. The catch is, I need some idea of where each ancestor was residing in 1950. 

Generating a RootsMagic "Who Was There" List

As an experiment, I opened my RootsMagic7 genealogy software and looked for a report that might give me a head start in grouping ancestors who were (1) alive in 1950 and (2) living in a certain area.

At top is a screen shot showing me preparing to generate a list of "Who Was There" in Ohio in 1950. I set the parameters for everyone in that particular tree (my husband's Wood family). 

I could have narrowed the parameters to everyone in Cleveland, Ohio, for instance. 

In this case, the list for Ohio ran for a dozen pages. It was initially organized alphabetically by surname, showed birth and death dates, and showed in detail each person's residence and key facts. A bit too much detail, but I expect to learn how to refine the list as I gain experience.

Next, Save and Sort the List

Importantly, I was able to save this list in my choice of formats. I selected .rtf so I can open it in Word and then sort as I please, choosing to sort by any of the columns. 

Here is an excerpt of the Wood list for 1950, sorted by "place" (the final column). This gives me a starting point for seeing where each ancestor was in 1940 and then researching a more specific residential location to search in the 1950 Census. Only a starting point, because I'm also looking for more recent directories and other sources to bring me closer to the 1950 address.

About the column marked "age"--it indicates the ancestor's age in 1950, not the ancestor's age at death.

This experiment encourages me to explore more ways to use the software and learn more of its functions on the road to the 1950 Census release next year.


For more posts about prepping, please see my special page on the 1950 Census.


  1. I explored doing this in Family Tree Maker last Sunday after hearing Steve Morse (stevemorse.org) speak about the 1950 U.S. census. Thank you for the reminder that I should see about exporting it into a spreadsheet.

  2. This is a great idea! I think I will adopt it. Thanks.