Thursday, March 31, 2022

Really Last-Minute News about the 1950 US Census Release

The US National Archives held a very informative webinar on Wednesday, revealing for the first time what the search interface will look like when NARA releases the 1950 US Census on April 1st. 

Search example

Shown above, one of the search screen examples provided by NARA. I added the title to the slide, the thunderbolt (to show the name "John Doe" being searched), and the red boxes (to show two of the results that match the search). 

We can search by surname only, by given name only, or by both. We can add a location (state, county, city, and/or Enumeration District number) to narrow the search. 

We can view the results as a list or in a grid...we can view more than 25 results on one screen...we can click on the "Population Schedules" button to view that ED's pages for a result that looks promising. 

You can watch the NARA video here -- and don't miss the comments in the chat, where we learned two absolutely key details.

Name index not available for bulk download!

NARA will not make its basic name index available for bulk download along with the population schedules. As a result, Family Search, Ancestry, My Heritage, and other genealogy groups that download the entire 1950 Census will not have access to NARA's name index as the foundation for creating their own. 

On April 1, all of these sites will have the 1950 US Census available for browsing. However, they will have NO index for some time (weeks? months?). 

Bottom line: If you want to try a search instead of browsing for ancestors, NARA's site will be the only game in town for now.

Improve the index by adding surnames!

NARA will allow members of the public to improve the index in various ways. Of course, we can correct names that are not spelled correctly. But we can also add surnames to household members who only had a dash, because their surnames are the same as the head of household.

Here's why that is a big help. The automated indexing transcribed each line as it appeared. Let's say one household, a mother and two children, looks like this:

Smith, Mary A. 

_____, John

_____, Tessie

Neither John nor Tessie will have a surname transcribed, because their surname is the same as the head of household and therefore the enumerator was told to only put a dash. The technology used for indexing doesn't read the dash, only the names "John" and "Tessie."

Now NARA will allow members of the public to add the surname to those two children. This will help anyone looking for John Smith and Tessie Smith to find them by their surname AND given name. Otherwise, we'll need to use NARA's recommended strategy of searching for head of household to find Mary A. Smith and then look in her household for the children. 

My plan for April 1st and beyond

My approach on day 1 will be to search NARA first by name/location. Then I'll locate the ED and browse the images for people who don't turn up in my name search results. (NOTE: NARA says it is ready for a surge and doesn't expect the 1950 Census site will crash. Fingers crossed!)

I can browse images on NARA or on any of the big genealogy sites, but I can search only on NARA in the beginning.

I've also signed up with to be notified when it has completed indexing states in which my ancestors lived. Take a look at the Ancestry page for more info here

Plus I'll be keeping an eye on MyHeritage's 1950 US Census plans as they develop. The company just announced its Census Helper tool, which will identify ancestors on your family tree that are likely to be included in the 1950 US Census. 

Want to help index this Census? FamilySearch is inviting volunteers to join the project and speed the process along. Thousands have already signed up. Read more here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Steiner Sisters in the 1950 US Census

Isn't this a delightful tea party, staged for a studio photo about 1903? 

Hubby's maternal grandma is pouring the tea--Floyda Steiner McClure, second from the left. Floyda was the baby of the family, and all the sisters were fond of her.

I used MyHeritage to enhance and colorize this tea party photo, which now looks quite eye-catching. Then I used MyHeritage's new LiveStory feature to pretend that one of the sisters was telling a brief story about the family (click here to view). I recognize that not everyone is crazy about these technologies, but I like experimenting and seeing how they work--while retaining the original photo intact, not colorized or enhanced in any way. 

Sorry to say, only two of these Steiner sisters will be found in the 1950 US Census. Both Etta Blanche Steiner Rhuark and Carrie Steiner Traxler will be in Enumeration District 88-27, because they lived around the corner from each other in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. They were my husband's doting great aunts and I really want to show him their names in the Census on Friday.

This is my "sisters" post for Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors genealogy challenge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

1950 US Census "Sample of Sample" Questions

Just days until the 1950 US Census is released and I'm more than ready to dive in and find my ancestors on April 1st. 

It would be a stroke of luck to have an ancestor selected as part of the "sample" to answer additional, detailed questions about 1949 residence, 1949 income, parents' birthplaces, school attendance, and military service.

Six out of 30 answered sample questions

This sample consisted of 6 people out of the 30 enumerated on every page of the Census. Truly a treasure trove of family history if one of my ancestors is included.

From those who answered the sample questions, one was asked a few "sample of sample" questions. As shown above in an excerpt from the US National Archives page listing all the Census questions for 1950, these questions were for people aged 14 and up.

More details about marriage and children

If one of my ancestors is listed on a line selected for the "sample of sample" questions, the answers will illuminate his or her marital history. Was the person married more than once? How many years since marital status changed? Wonderful genealogical clues for me to follow up and search for marriage or divorce documents!

If I'm really lucky, that person will be one of my women ancestors. Why? Because the final question asks how many children this woman has ever borne.** This will give me hints about whether I've missed an infant death, for instance, and improve my family tree's accuracy for the sake of future generations and future researchers.

1910 vs 1950 question about children

The last time this kind of question was asked was in the 1910 US Census (and before that, the 1900 Census). In 1910, the enumerator first asked how many children the woman ever had borne, and then asked how many were still alive. That's how I knew to look for children who died young or in between Census years. 

Did my paternal grandma Henrietta Mahler Burk (1881-1954) have any children who died young? In 1910, she told the Census she had 2 children and both were alive. Now when the 1950 Census is released, if this ancestor was asked the "sample of sample" questions, I hope to learn whether there were other children I never knew about. 

My great-grandma Tillie Jacobs Mahler (185?-1952), reported 9 children in all and 7 alive in 1900, then 10 children in all and 7 alive in 1910. What about in the 1950 Census? 

My maternal grandma Henrietta Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964) got married and had her children between 1910 and 1920 and never answered this question before the 1950 Census. I don't expect any surprises, but who knows--let's see if she was asked the "sample of sample" questions.

**Note the assumption built into this final "sample of sample" question: If a woman said she was never married when answering question #12 on the Population Schedule, she would not be asked question #38. On the other hand, if she answered that she was married, separated, divorced, or widowed, she would be asked this question if she was recorded on the line chosen for "sample of sample" questions. This assumption didn't apply to the 1910 or 1900 question, apparently.

To see all of my 1950 US Census posts, please go to my summary page here.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Seeing Double in Our Family Trees

Twins definitely run in my Farkas family tree: I have a twin sister and we're daughters of a twin. Above, my mom and her sis (the Schwartz twins) about 1920ish. In addition, the Farkas family included twin boys, "Woody" and "Sandy," my second cousins.

Twins also appear in my paternal line. Among my Dad's 1st cousins on the Mahler side were Harvey Smith (1916-1996) and his twin brother Jules Smith (1916-1996). They died within five months of each other and are buried near one another in Florida. 

My husband's family tree has twins, as well. Born on the eve of New Year's Eve in 1854, twin sisters Amanda "Callie" McClure (1854-1887) and Anna "Addie" McClure (1854-1928) were great-great aunts of my husband. 

Interestingly, these McClure ladies had cousins who were fraternal twins: Jesse McClure (1875-1952) and Bessie McClure (1875-1959), born on January 31, 1875. This brother and sister were 1c2r of my husband.

"Joined together" -- in this post, about twins together -- is the #52Ancestors prompt for week 12 of Amy Johnson Crow's genealogy challenge.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Did You See These These RootsTech Sessions?

Hundreds and hundreds of RootsTech presentations from 2022 and 2021 are still available to view, for free, at

There were many excellent sessions, and I still have dozens more to view, waiting on my playlist. 

Here are five sessions that provided food for thought and encouraged me to dig deeper into genealogy and family-history questions. If you haven't seen them, please consider adding them to your playlist!

  • Dealing with ethical dilemmas in an online world. So many ethical questions arise in today's world of genealogy, and this session looks at a few very timely concerns (DNA, grave memorials, and terms of service, to name just three). A conversation worth watching.
  • When Harry met Dotty. A relatively brief but fascinating and informative case study of how Nick David Barratt used DNA to break down a key brick wall. Maps are part of the story too. A good case study like this can be really helpful!
  • Genealogy YouTubers. I've already blogged about this terrific panel discussion. What did I love? The candid conversation about the challenges and opportunities of using YouTube to connect with an audience of family historians. Interesting and fun.
  • What to do when there's nothing to do. Speaker Renate Yarborough Sanders reminds us of the many things we can do when we choose to take a break from intense research and return with fresh eyes. Thoughtful and encouraging!
  • Family Folklore: Fact or Fiction? Anyone who's heard a family legend will get something out of watching Virginia M. Pratt's talk, featuring interesting case studies of trying to find the truth and suggestions for how to discuss family stories with relatives. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

1950 US Census Prep: Check for Special EDs on the Maps


If you, like me, suspect some ancestors were in a hospital, hotel, or another facility on April 1, 1950, let me suggest something to try as you prep for the release of that year's Census.** 

Check the Enumeration District maps for the county, town, or city where that institution was located. You might be lucky and find a listing of special EDs at the top, bottom, or elsewhere on the map where those buildings are shown.

Above, a partial listing of special EDs from an ED map of one section of the Bronx, New York, showing convents, an orphanage, a reformatory, a monastery, hospitals, schools for the deaf, even a large apartment house. This is an unusually long list--but it's not unusual to find special EDs marked on an ED map. Take a look!

Knowing the specific ED for the institution or facility gives you a head start on April 1, when the Census is made public. You'll be able to either browse the handwritten Census sheets for that one ED or use NARA's initial index to search by name and ED. 

I'm not 100% sure where all of my ancestors will be, or which will be away from home. One ancestor lived for years in a residential hotel and that's where I'll look first in the 1950 US Census. Another died weeks after the Census was taken so she might actually be in a nearby hospital, not at home. In each case, having the ED number for the facility can help me find those ancestors more quickly before full indexing.

The big genealogy sites are gearing up to the 1950 US Census fully indexed sooner rather than later. has an update page where you can learn more about the release and about indexing. If you want to help FamilySearch index the Census, I recommend watching Devon Lee's Family History Fanatics video about indexing

IMHO, since indexing can't be done until April 1st, there is still time to prep by finding EDs and being ready to look for top priority ancestors when the Census is made public!

**To see how to turn a street address into an Enumeration District, I have a case study here. To see how to use Enumeration maps and descriptions, see my case study here.

For even more posts and links related to the 1950 US Census release, please see my summary page here.

Monday, March 21, 2022

1950 US Census Search: Look for Head of Household


The 1950 US Census will be released on April 1st!

Recently, the US Census Bureau hosted a webinar at which Census and US National Archives experts talked about the background of this Census and what will be available on the day of release. That webinar is posted on YouTube.

Claire Kluskens of NARA discussed the basic name and location index that will accompany the 1950 US Census release. It could very well give us a head start on our searches!

My key takeaways from her comments are shown in the image at top.

  1. Try the search functions but remember the name index is only a first draft and will need to be refined with the assistance of members of the public who submit corrections to NARA.
  2. Indexing was line by line on each sheet of the Census, showing the line number and the name written on that line.
  3. Enumerators were trained to write the surname of the head of household and the given name/initials. Others in the household who shared the same surname will NOT have the surname listed on the line number, only the given name or initials.
  4. If someone in the household has a different surname (such as a married daughter or a lodger), that line will show the surname and given name.
  5. BEST SEARCH STRATEGY, says this expert, is to look for the head of household if known--because that line will have the person's full name.
You can try your search with a combination of the head of household's surname, given name, and location (ED or city/town and county). 

Use all your usual search strategies but be prepared to browse by ED if your search doesn't lead you to your ancestors.

Meanwhile, Ancestry and Family Search and MyHeritage will all be working hard to index the Census. 

For more 1950 US Census tips and info, see my summary page here.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Honoring the Memory of Ancestors Killed in the Holocaust


Rezi Regina Schwartz Winkler was the oldest sister of my grandpa Theodore Schwartz. Sorry to say, Rezi and too many other family members were killed in the Holocaust. As I learn more, I've been adding their names to my online family trees, to honor their memory and not let them be forgotten in the future. 

Also I'm specifically identifying the cause of death for these ancestors where they appear on my family trees. 

  • MyHeritage adds an automatic designation of the yellow star when the user selects "Holocaust" as the cause of death from the drop-down menu. This is a visual indication of the fate of that ancestor.
  • WikiTree has different Holocaust stickers that can be posted on an ancestor's profile. I can separately identify an ancestor who died, an ancestor who survived, and so on, depending on each person's circumstances.
  • Ancestry allows me to add a custom TreeTag to ancestors. I created one to indicate any ancestor who was a Holocaust victim. If I choose, I can create a custom TreeTag for Holocaust survivors.
  • On FamilySearch, I created a custom fact for the "other information" field to indicate an ancestor who died in the Holocaust.

Prior to World War II, most of my grandfather's family lived in and around Ungvar, which is now Uzhhorod, Ukraine. One way I'm supporting relief efforts in Ukraine is by attending the all-virtual Jewish Roots in Ukraine workshop on April 3d. The four experts will be talking about research strategies, sources of information, and understanding Ukrainian ancestors in context. I'm registered and ready to learn as well as to aid Ukraine.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Save March 26-27 for History for Ukraine

Want to support Ukraine relief efforts AND learn from well-known history and genealogy experts?

Get ready for History for Ukraine, the star-studded live marathon of talks assembled by Nathalie Pithers and a team of volunteers, taking place March 26-27!

Here are some of the speakers already confirmed to participate: 

  • Josh Taylor, President of the New York Genealogy and Biography Society
  • Judy Russell, "The Legal Genealogist"
  • Amy Johnson Crow, Host of Generations Cafe podcast and #52Ancestors originator
  • Earl Charles Spencer, best-selling history author and founder of Althorp Literary Festival
  • Dr Janina Ramirez, BBC documentary maker, author, and President of the Gloucester History Festival
  • Dr Wanda Wyporska, head of the Society of Genealogists
More speakers will be announced shortly. A few days ago, Family Tree Magazine conducted an interview with Nathalie Pithers. In her words, "History for Ukraine is a combination of Live Aid and Red Nose Day, but for history!"

Although this special event is entirely free, donations will be gratefully accepted! (In fact, donations can be made in advance if you wish.)

All proceeds go to DEC Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal which is administered by the British Red Cross.

Please mark your calendars! See you at History for Ukraine on March 26-27.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

New, Free New York City Vital Records!

Anyone with ancestors who were born, married, or died in New York City from 1855 through 1949 can now search the New York City Municipal Archives site and view more than 9 million document images, at no charge. This action wasn't directly due to any specific lawsuit by the nonprofit Reclaim the Records, although it has sued the agency four times to get public images made public. This particular release of documents is a project that New York City has been working on for years, and now the results are being made available for free

As shown in the image above, note that these images are for vital records only from 1855 through 1949. Also, not all images have yet been scanned, but the majority are available to be found via search or browsing.

Search by cert number

NYC recommends searching by certificate number, borough, and year for the best results. You can find a cert number in a number of ways. There are indexes on Ancestry, Family Search, and other sites, but usually I use the databases at - also free, thanks to the efforts of many incredible volunteers. 

As shown above, you can search the ItalianGen databases for birth, marriage, death by surname and given name or initial, specify a range of years, and narrow the search to a specific New York City borough. When I did this for my great aunt Sadie Mahler's marriage, I found two possibilities. I know her spouse (Samuel Smith) but if I didn't, the ability to look at either of these certs FOR FREE is a big, big plus.

Once I plugged in the cert number, borough, and year using the NYC search function, up popped Sadie and Sam's marriage document, both page 1 and page 2 (with their signatures and the witnesses). I don't need a certified copy for my genealogy, but if you do, you can click to buy.

Want to browse?

If you want to browse in search of an ancestor's cert (maybe you can't find the cert number, for instance), you can use the browse interface here. Select type of certificate, borough, and don't forget to use the slider to narrow the range of years.

What a wonderful treat to have, just two weeks before the 1950 US Census is released!

PS: I tried finding Sadie's marriage cert at FamilySearch but "no image" was available, only a transcription. Much better to have the actual image to view!

Saturday, March 12, 2022

1950 US Census Prep: Finding Small Town EDs

The 1950 US Census is almost here! Only 20 more days until this mid-century Census is released to the public by the US National Archives.

Even though there will be a basic index and the ability to search by name and location, nobody expects the initial index to be perfect or complete. Just in case, I've been using 1950ish addresses to locate the Enumeration District for my ancestors so I can browse the ED pages when they're made public. Or, at the very least, be able to search by name and ED, to be more specific about my searches. 

Most of my ancestors were in big cities in 1950. I described how to turn a big-city street address into an ED in an earlier post, using the incredibly powerful (and free!) Unified Census ED Finder on 

Small town ED process

However, there's a slightly different process for finding the EDs of towns with fewer than 5,000 residents, because Steve Morse has no tables for towns that small. (He explains why on this FAQ page.)

Here's the process for finding a small town ED.

As shown in the screen grab at top, I'm using the example of the small town of Woodbury, Connecticut, which had 2,564 residents in 1950

First, I went to the Unified Census ED Finder page, and used the drop-down menus to specify the state of Connecticut and the county of Litchfield, where Woodbury is located.

Although some larger population centers are available in the drop-down menu for town/city, Woodbury is not. So instead, I selected "other" in that drop-down menu area and typed the town name (purple arrow).

ED map or description or both?

There are five possible EDs in this general area, listed in numerical order in the image at top. I don't want to browse all five in search of a Woodbury resident.

To narrow down my options, I checked the ED descriptions (in image at top, see green arrow). 

This took me to a page with written descriptions of the five possible EDs for Woodbury, as shown directly above. However, I don't know Woodbury well enough to determine from these descriptions which ED would be the most likely for my purposes. Anyone who knows the streets might take a solid guess from these descriptions.

Then I clicked to see the ED maps for the entire county (orange arrow). This took me to the list of map links shown above. The first five of the jpegs are what I wanted to view. These were sections of the entire county map, and I wanted to navigate around each map section to look for Woodbury. 

Most of the town is in one ED 

Of course, the fifth map I checked was the one where most of Woodbury is located. As shown directly above, the town is marked on the map and the ED number for the vast majority of that area is noted as 3-121

Combining the maps with the descriptions narrows things down considerably, even allowing for edges of the town that stick out beyond these straight lines.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Lifespans at a Glance in New MyHeritage Feature

New feature alert!

At RootsTech, MyHeritage announced a number of new features. Today I tried the Family Tree Timeline.

Above, one example of how the timeline allows a graphical view of ancestors' lifespans. I can select any starting ancestor (here, my late mother-in-law, Marian Jane McClure Wood), and see as many as 9 generations back (here, I selected only 3 generations back). The color-coding tells me at a glance which ancestors belong to each branch, a practical visual reminder. 

I particularly like the age of death shown at right of each bar on the graph. When a death date isn't known, the bar fades in color and no "age at death" number appears. I can also turn on and off more complete info to be shown on each bar of the graph (such as birth/death years). I can use the length of each bar and the number at the end to analyze patterns (such as short or long lifespans in a particular branch).

This feature allows me to display or not, as I choose, major historical events (such as World War II), for context. Another useful element is a consistency checker, in which a dot next to a parent/child relationship alerts me to double-check dates (did I list a child's birth date that's after the mother's death, for instance?). 

Hovering over an ancestor's name on the timeline leads me to additional options, such as opening the profile to edit it or researching that ancestor. If I wish, I can download and/or share any timeline with a click. 

In short, I find this an easy and helpful way to visualize lifespans at a glance and put them into both family and historical context.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

What Age Was My Longest-Lived Female Ancestor in 1950?

On April 1, I hope to learn more about my oldest female ancestor, great-grandma Tillie Rose Jacobs Mahler (1852ish?-1952), daughter of Rachel Shuham Jacobs and Jonah Jacobs and husband of Meyer Elias Mahler.

At left, a 1900s photo of Tillie beautifully colorized by MyHeritage in Color.

The story passed down is that great-grandma "fooled" the family into giving her a 100th birthday party...and then died at the age of 99. Even today, nobody knows her true birth month, day, or year, only that she outlived everyone else in the family tree (by a lot).

Census records were inconsistent

I consulted US and NY Census records about Tillie's age and found, as the years went on, a number of inconsistencies. How did Tillie age so quickly between 1920 and 1925, for example? Or between 1930 and 1940? 

Likely it was not Tillie talking with the enumerator, IMHO, but someone else in the household (or a neighbor) giving an age guesstimate in later years. Take a look at how her age changes:

  • 1900 US Census: Tillie is enumerated as 39 years old (Census day: June 1)
  • 1905 NY Census: Tillie is enumerated as 45 years old (Census day: June 1)
  • 1910 US Census: Tillie is enumerated as 50 years old (Census day: April 15)
  • 1915 NY Census: Tillie is enumerated as 55 years old (Census day: June 1)
  • 1920 US Census: Tillie is enumerated as 60 years old (Census day: January 1)
  • 1925 NY Census: Tillie is enumerated as 67 years old (Census day: June 1)
  • 1930 US Census: Tillie is enumerated as 73 years old (Census day: April 1)
  • 1940 US Census: Tillie is enumerated as 86 years old (Census day: April 1) - see image excerpt below. (Note: Neither Tillie nor her daughter has a circled X next to the name, which would ordinarily suggest they were not the informants. Since no names on that page have an X, this enumerator didn't indicate which member of any household gave the information.)
  • UPDATE: 1950 US Census, Tillie is enumerated as 100 years old (April 1).

What will 1950 US Census say?

Looking ahead: If Tillie was 99 years old when she passed away in 1952, she would be enumerated as 96 or 97 years old in the 1950 Census. NOPE, she was supposedly 100 yrs old as enumerated in 1950 US Census.

Remembering Great-Grandma Tillie with affection on International Women's Day.

This is my post for the Genealogy Blog Party of March, 2022.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

RootsTech 2022: Don't Forget to Check the Chats! (Limited Time)

My favorite sessions during the kickoff weekend of all-virtual RootsTech 2022 were the live talks and panel discussions. 

Why? Because these encouraged interactivity and offered a sense of connection even though we were home in our bunny slippers rather than being together in person at the Salt Palace.

Above, the four panelists who spoke on Saturday with enthusiasm and candor about their experiences with YouTube. More than 400 people attended the Zoom. The session is on YouTube here. I'm a fan of these folks and I enjoyed hearing them discuss their experiences, successes, frustrations, and ideas for the future. The audience chat was a mix of questions, comments, and "hi from Connecticut" greetings that added to the community feeling.

Another group discussion I really liked was the Ethical Dilemmas panel, on YouTube here.

Check the chats! Available until about March 13

With prerecorded sessions, the chat box was a great way to interact with other audience members and, crucially, with content experts. During the first day's session about the 1950 US Census (featuring Crista Cowan of Ancestry and Stephen Valentine of Family Search), I actually learned key, updated details from the experts in the chat. My least favorite parts of this session were the interviews with people in New York's Time Square--entertaining but not informative. You can watch the entire recorded session here.

As I watched the main sponsors' keynotes, I joined the chat and was pleased to see links to some of the new features being introduced. A running Q&A in chat (still available after the sessions) was of interest, as well. More than 500 people commented in the MyHeritage keynote chat...more than 230 in the Ancestry keynote chat...more than 550 in the FamilyTreeDNA keynote chat. Not all chat comments were of broad interest, but there were many good suggestions and links.

As of today, "join the chat" is still available for all sessions on my playlist. BUT chats will be unavailable after another week or so (by March 13 approximately). Do take a moment to check the chat for any session on your RootsTech playlist. 

Mark your calendar: The next RootsTech will begin March 2-4, 2023, less than a year away ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Important Last-Minute 1950 US Census Info

We have less than a month to wait for the release of 1950 US Census!

The US National Archives (NARA) has begun posting a series of video presentations to help us get ready to find ancestors in this mid-century Census. No preregistration, no fee, just click to watch.

You can see the full schedule and watch individual videos, as they're posted, on this YouTube page. If you watch as each video debuts, you can participate in live Q&A via chat and get answers from experts in the know! If you watch after that time, you can still read the entire Q&A in the chat box, but you can't ask new questions.

Two highlights from talk by Claire Kluskens

The initial presentation in the National Archives series took place yesterday, March 2d. Here are two of many key takeaways from this excellent talk by Claire Kluskens. 

  • Look for Sheet #71. Once you've determined that your ancestor is likely to be in a particular Enumeration District, be sure to browse the final ED pages. You're looking for sheet #71. Why? Because if your ancestor wasn't home when the enumerator came calling the first time, that household would likely have been enumerated out of order. The details would have been written on sheet #71. Remember, even if an ED was tiny and had only 12 pages, there will be a sheet #71 if any household was enumerated out of order for some reason. It's not that sheets were missing between page 12 and page 71.  The Census Bureau deliberately designated Sheet #71 as the page where households enumerated out of order would be recorded in each ED. So always go to the end and look for sheet #71 (sheet numbers are at far right corner of population schedule, see star in image above).
  • Look at notes section. As shown here, the notes section is a blank area midway on the page. Enumerators might write comments or explanations here (such as whether an age is actually an estimate or whether a respondent might not be telling the truth). Also see whether the little box (red arrow) is checked. If your ancestor is enumerated on the final line(s) of that page, the box being checked is an indication to continue onto the next page to see more people in that same household. Do glance at the notes, if any, and look for the check box.
Don't wait--download NARA presentation slides now!

I highly recommend watching Claire's talk and downloading her slides from this pdf. That way, you'll have the slides at hand for reference.

The next two speakers in the NARA series have already posted their slides for download. I can't stress enough how valuable these slides are, jam-packed with information that will help us find ancestors when the Census is released on April 1. 

Right now: 

Download the March 30th pdfs by Michael L. Knight because you will see, for the very first time, what the 1950 US Census website will look like! 

Here is one excerpt from his talk. The "Begin search" button will lead to a search interface. The "How to search" button will explain the different methods of searching (by location or by name). He shows a sample name search and a sample location search. 

These videos and downloaded slides will give you a headstart before the 1950 Census is actually released!

For more about the preparing for the 1950 US Census release, please see my summary page here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The First Female Ph.D. in My Family Tree

My immigrant maternal grandparents (Hermina "Minnie" Farkas Schwartz, 1886-1964 and Theodore "Teddy" Schwartz, 1887-1965) had high expectations for their American-born children. 

They were big believers in education and encouraged their children to reach for the stars. 

Of their three children, one son and one daughter earned a Ph.D. From immigrants to doctorates in one generation!

Uncle Fred, the family's first Ph.D. 

The oldest child, Fred Shaw (1912-1991), earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree after graduating from James Monroe High School in the Bronx. Just before he married Daisy Katz (1913-1985) on Thanksgiving Day, 1940, he was appointed as an economics teacher at New York City's prestigious Stuyvesant High School.

After a stint as a Captain in the U.S. Army during World War II, he again taught high school economics as he earned a Ph.D. Uncle Fred went on to write the well-regarded book, History of the New York City Legislatureas well as teaching political science at the City University of New York.

Auntie Dorothy, the family's first female Ph.D.

Dorothy Schwartz (1919-2001), my mom's twin sister, interrupted her studies at Hunter College in New York City to enlist as a WAC during World War II. When she returned from overseas in 1945, Sgt. Schwartz initially went to work and then resumed her college career. After graduation, she worked for Macy's, becoming assistant to the wonderful woman who ran the Thanksgiving Day Parade for many years. 

In the 1950s, Dorothy took some education courses and in 1955, she was appointed as a typing and steno teacher at Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, NY. Shortly afterward, she got a job teaching at Christopher Columbus High School, where she spent the rest of her long career. A teacher by day, she was a student by night, earning a master's degree and then a doctorate in education. Auntie Dorothy was my family's first female Ph.D.

My Mom Daisy, behind the scenes support

My Mom, Daisy Schwartz Burk (1919-1981), graduated from high school into the depths of the Great Depression. There wasn't enough money for her and her two siblings to continue to college. Although they would be attending free city universities, money was needed to pay for books, carfare, lunches, and so on. Instead of going to college, Daisy took secretarial jobs to help support her older brother and her twin sister as they studied for their degrees. 

Once she settled down with Dad (Harold Burk, 1909-1978), the focus was on educating the next generation. In later years, Daisy took college courses at night, for credit, while working during the day. She especially enjoyed her literature and history courses, even though she never earned a degree. Her strong belief in education was passed along to her daughters, who all earned masters' degrees. 

You can see how proud I am of my Mom's behind-the-scenes support. I'm proud of my uncle, the family's first Ph.D., and  my aunt, the first female Ph.D. in the entire family tree. This is my week 9 post about "females" for Amy Johnson Crow's series of prompts, #52Ancestors. (Just in time for Women's History Month).