Friday, April 9, 2021

My 1950 U.S. Census Release To-Do List: Find Addresses

When the 1950 U.S. Census is released to the public on April 1, 2022, I want to be ready to find ancestors of special interest. I'm creating a list of priority ancestors and filling in their 1940 address/Enumeration District (ED) and then their 1950 address (see my previous post here). With an exact address, I can find the 1950 ED. This will enable me to browse images before the Census is indexed.

Sources for 1950 addresses

There are many possible sources for finding an ancestor's 1950 address, as shown in the above graphic. You may not find an address for that exact year, but one close to that year is a good starting point.

Today I'm on the trail of a 1950 address for my husband's maternal grandfather, Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970).

Spoiler alert: I don't yet have the address. But I can share the steps I took to try locating Brice in the years surrounding 1950. And I may be successful in the end!

Where was this ancestor in the 1940s?

I know where Brice Larimer McClure was living during and after World War II. The last "known sighting" of an actual address is in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, where he and his wife Floyda Steiner McClure were living at the time of her death on November 2, 1948.

Family story: Not long after his wife died, Brice moved to Willoughby, Ohio and then later, around 1953, he moved to Cleveland to be closer to family.

My search plan for an exact address

I began with a "from scratch" search on all the major genealogy websites, entering Brice's information and specifying residence in Willoughby, Ohio, in the years 1949-1953. That didn't work.

Records show Brice's Social Security card was issued "prior to 1951." Actually, it was just after World War II, when he intended to retire and collect (which he did). Unlikely I will find a Willoughby address on that application (and it takes time and money to get this document). 

Moving on, the Willoughby-area newspapers were either too old, too new, or not very local for my purposes. 

Looking for a house purchase/sale would take time, digging into deeds, land records, etc. I set this aside for now.

Other non-official potential sources I tried, as suggested by Joel Weintraub on his super- detailed, info-rich page about the 1950 Census were: photographs (nope); address book (not that far back); diaries (none that far back).

Check the directories!

High on my list and on Joel's list were--directories! After a few false starts, I checked the local library in Willoughby. The website has a convenient "chat with a librarian" feature (see my screen capture at top).

I typed in a succinct chat question. Within a few minutes, the librarian typed back that directories from the 1950s era are most likely at the Willoughby Historical Society. She provided contact info, and I wrote an email, requesting a lookup when convenient. My husband remembers Brice having a home phone in Willoughby, so he should be listed in either the phone directory or the city directory.

Update: Librarian found no listing in the directory. 

-- For more about the 1950 Census, see my page here.

1 comment:

  1. Marian, this is a wonderful idea. I should follow your lead. Thanks for the post.