Apr 1, 2022

1950 Census Released Today

April 1, 2022

Today is a special day for genealogists everywhere. After 72 years under lock and key, the 1950 census is available today. Many genealogists are undoubtedly digging into it at this very moment. To make it even more exciting, for the first time an index is also available at the time of release. This should make finding folks much easier.


I admit I haven’t looked at the new census yet. For me, it’s not quite as big a deal as some of the earlier ones were.  In 1950, my parents were young; I was two years old, and my younger sister was born that February. All four of my grandparents were still alive. In addition, I know exactly where all of them were living at that time.


Although I have gazillions of aunts, uncles and cousins, as far as I can tell, all of them were living in small towns in northern Utah. When I get around to it, it will be a simple matter to find them in the census, even if the OCR index is not very accurate.


I don’t expect any big surprises on the 1950 census. I don’t have any long-lost uncles or missing cousins that I hope to find.  I actually knew the folks that I’ll be seeing on this census. I have memories of them and have collected tons of photos and documents for them. Because of this, I have a good idea of where they all lived and who their family members were.


Unlike on some of the earlier censuses, none of my great grandparents or even earlier generations were still around by the time of the 1950 census. These earlier generations are the ones I knew less about, and finding them on the censuses was a way to get a peek into their lives. One of the thrills of finding an earlier generation in a census was seeing a great-great grandfather with his birth family including siblings, for example.


The 1950 census won’t do much of that for me. What the release of the 1950 census has done is made me think about my family in 1950. My parents were young. They were in the midst of their childbearing and rearing years. My grandparents were all still healthy and active. Before the decade was over, both of my grandfathers would be gone. The aunts and uncles who were still single in 1950 would marry within the next ten years.


Sometime later today or tomorrow I’m sure I’ll be looking for my family. I’m also sure I’ll feel a surge of nostalgia when I find them. There they all will be, frozen at a moment in time. Even me, at two years old.


Now that I think about it, I’m starting to get excited. I think I’ll go start searching.


Carol Stetser