This week will see a major event for U.S. genealogists. This is an event that only happens once every ten years. On Friday, April 1, the National Archives (NARA) will release the 1950 U,S,. census records.
The census was sequestered by law for 72 years. If you were born after April 1, 1950, you will not appear.
You will be able to view the census for free at a number of websites, including archives.gov, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. There isn’t currently a complete index, but the National Archives (NARA) has posted a name and location index on a separate website.
To learn more, go to archives.gov/news/articles/1950-census-access, as well as archives.gov/research/census/1950 for various webinars about the index. Other groups have begun creating their own index, including Ancestry.com.
In the meantime, in order to find your family members, you need to know where they were living in 1950. Then, if you use Stephen Morse’s guide to the enumeration districts at stevemorse.org, you will know where to start looking. Search for the state, the county and then the district and browse until you find the street and your family.
Various national and local groups are participating in helping further index the 1950 census. FamilySearch.org and the National Genealogical Society, working together, are the lead groups and are inviting local societies to participate.
OK, here is a question for you: Who is the first person you are going to look up in the 1950 census? A parent? A grandparent? Someone else?
As for me, I have a simple answer to that question. I am going to look up… myself. After spending hundreds of hours looking at various census records (and more) over the past 37 years, I am finally going to look for my own record.
Oooops! I just revealed my age!