Thursday, January 20, 2022

Seeking City Directories for Your 1950 US Census Prep?

With 71 days until the release of the 1950 US Census, this is the time to find 1950ish home addresses for ancestors who will be in that Census. 

A great tool for finding an ancestor's street address is in a city or phone directory published around the time of the Census (1948-1952, for instance). Expand the search to earlier and later years if needed. 

Not every directory for every year is available online--some may be available for research in local libraries or archives if you can visit in person. 

Family Search has links to city directories online, indicating both free and fee-based sources, as shown at top in a page from its invaluable wiki. has lots of city directories. I went to the card catalog and did a search for "U.S., city directories," and 15 state-by-state collections turned up, as shown here. There are other directories in the card catalog, as well--but again, not necessarily in the time period for the 1950 US Census, so check dates carefully.

For more links to US city directories, check The Ancestor Hunt and Cyndi's List, which both have links to directories in various states and for various years.

Also check, which has lots of directories from all over the country for a wide range of years. At left, a screen shot of part of a page from the 1950 directory for Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. 

If you take the time now to locate ancestors' addresses, you can turn them into Enumeration Districts using the handy ED Finder by Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub, and be ready to browse the population schedule on April 1. Good luck!

For more about the release of the 1950 US Census, and how to get ready to find ancestors on April 1, see my summary page of posts here

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