Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Prepping for 1950 US Census: Address Details Matter!

As I prep for the release of the 1950 U.S. Census on April 1, 2022, I'm listing  ancestors and researching their 1950 addresses. This helps me find the correct ED (Enumeration District) for browsing Census images before indexing and transcription are completed.

A fair number of ancestors in my tree and hubby's tree are listed in directories. This makes it easy to take the street address and look up the enumeration district (ED) using Steve Morse & Joel Weintraub's fantastic "Unified Census ED Finder" tool. 

North, south, east, or west?

When I was looking for the ED of one of my husband's Larimer ancestors, I used the drop-down menus on the ED Finder tool to specify state (Indiana), county (Elkhart), and and town (Goshen). See image at bottom of post.

Next, I entered the exact number of the residence, which is 205 North 8th Street.

However, the street name on the drop-down menu is shown only as "8th" with no provision for north or south. See the green oval on the image below.

Without specifying north or south, the finder gives me 6 possible EDs (see image at bottom). Yikes, too many!

I mapped both 205 S. 8th (not where the ancestor lived) and 205 N. 8th (star shows correct location). As image at top shows, these two addresses are nowhere near each other and would not be in the same ED! I need to narrow things down.

Use map and cross streets 

The ED Finder can get me much closer to the actual street address. It instructs me to click to look at the map (see purple arrow pointing to "Google map" on image below). 

The next step is to locate a cross street and/or a back street. Those are boundaries for enumerators, and will reduce the number of EDs in which an address might be located. 

Tracing 205 N. 8th, I saw a prominent back street on the same block: Crescent. When I entered that into the ED Finder tool, only a single ED showed up: 20-69.

Paying attention to this address detail will spare me a lot of unnecessary browsing when the Census is made public next year.

Try the Unified Census ED Finder and see how easy it is to locate your ancestor's Enumeration District.

For more posts about prepping for the 1950 Census, please see my summary page.


  1. Great post! I love the use of the mapping tool to narrow down the ED. I have to get going on my list soon, so this is very helpful.

  2. Very helpful in getting ready for it, thank you ;)

  3. Good idea to get ready in advance. My parents were married in September, 1950 so I'll have to wait another 10 years to find them together.

  4. I’m realizing I’m not nearly ready. Thanks for all you are doing to spur me forward.