The 1950 U.S. Census: A Postwar Snapshot into the Lives of Our Ancestors!
Are you excited for the release of the 1950 U.S. Census record coming out on April 1st? Well, I know I am! I can’t wait to find my mom, my dad, and others in this census! Get familiar with it before it comes out and get a closer look at all the information you’ll get from it!
Did you know that U.S. Census records are the only records in genealogy research that describe an entire population (except for those that slip through the cracks 😉) of the U.S. on any given day, and they can give you the most details about a person and their family? These amazing genealogy records can give you a snapshot of how your ancestors were living at a particular time and are the best starting point, after starting with what you know, in your next step of research. They offer a plethora of details on your ancestors that will start you off, while leading you to many of your next steps. Not only can you find the standard information on your ancestor and their descendants like their name, age, birthplace, and residence; you can find so much more! Depending on the census record, you can also find their address, their occupation, their parents’ birthplaces, their citizenship status, their year of immigration, their marriage info, their military service info, how many children they had, others living in the household and their info, the value of their home and personal belongings, and so much more!
Continue with me as I close this in depth series on the 1850-1950 U.S. Federal Census records, with the 1950 Census.
The 1950 U.S. Census:
This was the eleventh U.S. Census that listed EVERY household member by name, had detailed categories, and was enumerated starting on April 1st, 1950. This census reflected postwar America, and it was a much shorter form than the 1940 Census, with only 20 questions. Compared to the 1940 Census, the changes to this census were minimal. This census introduced the new details of where one was living a year before the census (if they landed on the sample line); if they were a U.S. citizen born abroad; how much money they made the previous year from interest, dividends, veteran’s allowances, pensions, rents, or other income; and how many years since this person was last married (either from marriage, divorce, separation, or death).
This census record had many of the same categories and details that had been seen since 1850 such as including ALL household members’ names, ages, sex, color, place of birth, and occupation information, but with a few changes and additions. There were changes to the traditional census as we knew it with a simpler form that reflected the times.
Check out the changes below!
Category Name Changes: See above
Categories Eliminated: All the categories as we knew them were eliminated and most were changed into 3 all-encompassing categories- See above
Note: The 1950 Census included a special section at the bottom for additional questions from a sample of the population. Each census page had 6 out of 30 predesignated sample population lines that your ancestors randomly fell under. The ancestor who fell under the last predesignated sample line had yet more additional questions. If you’re lucky enough to have one of your ancestors fall on one of these 6 lines, then you will have extra clues to help in your research! The luckiest of them all will have an adult, especially an adult woman, ancestor fall on the last sample line! These questions are a genealogist’s goldmine! I hope some of my ancestors made it to the sample questions! I especially hope my 2 grandmothers made it to the last sample line!
Sample Line Questionnaire Categories for 6 Samples:
Sample Line Questionnaire Details for 6 samples:
Sample Line Questionnaire Details for Last sample Line: Same as above plus below
Use this census to get a glimpse into the postwar lives of your ancestors. Were they thriving economically? Did they show signs of more equality? Were more of your ancestors getting a higher education? Also use this census to find out if your ancestor was previously married or when they were married, divorced, separated, or widowed! 😉
Although the 1950 Census was the first census where enumerators made a special effort to make sure all the information was as complete and accurate as possible; they were not required to get proof of information. 😉
EVERY detail/clue helps in genealogy! 😉
Did You Know?:
Did you know there were 5 Versions to vary the “Sample” questions?
Let me know what you think of this fantastic genealogy research tool below in the comments! Are you ready for the 1950 Census release? Do you have your ancestor’s info ready?
Find my other posts on the U.S. Census records below, and under the Genealogy Records category!
The 1940 U.S. Census Record in Genealogy: Reflecting on the Great Depression
The 1930 U.S. Census Record in Genealogy: A Closer Look
The 1920 U.S. Census Record in Genealogy: A Closer Look
The 1910 U.S. Census Record in Genealogy: A Closer Look
A Closer Look at the 1900 U.S. Census in Genealogy Research
The 1890 U.S. Census: A Tragic and Sad Loss!
The 1880 U.S. Census: A Closer Look at the Even Better Census!
The 1870 U.S. Census: A Closer Look
The 1860 U.S. Census: A Closer Look
The 1850 U.S. Census: One of the Golden Genealogy Records
Check out more information about the U.S. Census on the United States Census Bureau website and the National Archives and Records Administration website!
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
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!