A Whirlwind of Searching the 1950 Census Digital Images!
Well, the release day of the 1950 census on April 1st was definitely a whirlwind to say the least!
It’s a good thing that it was the first day of my spring break, because I spent the entire day (about 16 hours) searching for my family! Then I was at again the next day! 2 days was my cap, haha! I figured if I couldn’t find who I was looking for manually, then they were most likely not on the census.
Just as many of you have done, I had created a list of who I wanted to find first in the 1950 Census. After I had already made my list, which took quite a while, MyHeritage came out with a super cool new 1950 Census tool, called Census Helper, that does all the work for you (if you have a tree on MyHeritage 😉)!
Using the 1950 Census Distict Finder Tool from Ancestry to Search the 1950 Census Digital Images:
With the 1950 Census district finder tool from Ancestry, that I spoke about last, in Get Ready for the 1950 Census with New Updates and FREE Cool Helps from Ancestry, I was able to find anyone I had an address for, right away!
When it came time to search for anyone with just a city with their tool, it just took a little more effort.
Using NARA to Search the 1950 Census Digital Images:
That’s when I went to NARA (National Archives) and used their tool. With NARA you also are able to search for a name with their 1950 Census Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning index. Don’t confuse it with the standard searchable index that you’re used to though. The AI was better at getting some names more than others, and remember if you search for a last name, it will only be attached to the head of household. I found it much more concise with first names. If you only have a city and name, you will have to look through quite a few digital images. If you only have a county and name, then you will most likely be searching through tons of images!
I also used this tool in conjunction with Ancestry’s 1950 Census district finder; it helped to narrow things down, especially when I had to search counties and sometimes just states. I was able to view other counties around the area of the city and county they should have been in, by finding the enumeration districts of all the areas close by, then plugging them into NARA with names, sometimes just a first name in case the AI couldn’t decipher the last name.
Using MyHeritage to Search the 1950 Census Digital Images:
AT some points, I also took the info from Ancestry’s ED district finder and NARA’s AI/ML searchable by name index and headed on over to MyHeritage to search. I found that MyHeritage had everything much more organized and laid out for me, minus the other’s tools. I also thought their digital image viewing was much easier to see and use.
Using FamilySearch to Search the 1950 Census Digital Images:
FamilySearch also has the 1950 Census digital images available! Although Family Search is usually my first choice for accessing online records, I just didn’t need to access it with the other 3 already being used in conjunction.
I did realize that the most difficult family/ancestors to find were the ones that weren’t where they should have been or moved around A LOT. Of course, for these ones I had to go back into my tree and search for more directories; more of their family members in directories; more marriages, births, and deaths for any of their family members around that time; and more, so that I could get their addresses as close to 1950 as possible.
I eventually found everyone I wanted in the 2 days I had searched, except for my mom and her mom, and one great grandfather. I’m not sure why I can’t find my great grandfather, as I know from directories and other documents of the city he was living in, but for my mom and her mom, I think they just slipped the census. Her mom was an unwed teenager at the time, with my mom being 1 1/2. I know where my mom was born, I searched all family members (painstakingly), and she was with none of them. I searched my mom’s stepfather, who her mom had married just a few weeks later, and she was not with him. I then searched ALL the areas around him, then the entire county, then the state. They are no where to be found, as of yet. 😉
As of today, the states of Wyoming and Delaware are fully searchable in the 1950 Census!
Did you search the 1950 Census for your family on release day? What sites or tools did you use to search through the 1950 Census digital images? Did you prep beforehand with a list of relatives you were going to search for? Were you able to find everyone you had hoped to find? Let me know how it went or ask me any questions, below in the comments!
More Genealogy Resources:
Find other useful genealogy resources under the Genealogy Resources category and on my dedicated Genealogy Resources page!
More Genealogy Records:
Find my other posts on the U.S. Census records under the Genealogy Records category!
As of today, Vermont and American Samoa are fully searchable!
As of today, Alaska, New Hampshire, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are fully searchable!
This post is a participant in the Genealogy Blog Party!
Related 1950 Census content that may be of interest:
Evalogue.Life, Heart of the Family, Molly's Canopy, Climbing My Family Tree, Cami Mayer, Field Genealogist, Ancestor Detective, DNA Breakthroughs, Your DNA Guide, Ancestral Findings, Genealogy Tip of the Day, Family History Daily, Genea-Musings
I hope my family history and genealogy blog on genealogy research tips, resources, events, and more, along with my own genealogy journeys, will help you in your research and in building your family tree to learn more about your ancestors and family history to preserve for future generations to come!