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.

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