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1950 Census

Tips and Tricks

  • Name indexes are often inaccurate due to the misspelling and transposing of letters of names
  • Common last (surnames) names make searching more difficult: Example: Smith, Jones, Cohen, etc.
  • Handwritten records may be illegible.
  • Birth years may not be accurate.
  • Person(s) may not have been home when census was taken or worried about providing information so no record may exist.

Use the Ancestry database to find background information such as birth dates, addresses for homes/apartments, etc. The 1950 Census is not yet in the Ancestry database but earlier census records (up to 1940) are. Also available are the following

  • Immigration records such as ships manifests listing the passengers, the particular ship and the port it sailed from and the port it entered.
  • Social Security death records
  • Draft cards
  • Phone books which have been scanned and may include what the person did for employment
  • Birth records with some newspaper notices
  • Naturalization records
  • Death records
  • Military records
  • Marriage records and licenses

 

Enumeration Maps. These are maps of areas that each census taker was responsible for filling out census questionnaires for. Once you know which streets are included in an enumeration district map you can then find the numbered map.

  • Maps are numbered to correspond with a particular county and then specific areas  (towns/cities) within them. Cities/towns will have multiple sections outlined in orange on the maps. Depending upon the population density there may be one map for a large rural area or a map for one building in a particularly dense population area such as NYC.
  • If you know a street address, a way to find an Enumeration District map and its borders is to do a Google Search on the address to generate a Google Map. This will help you when looking for the surrounding/bordering streets. One thing to note when using Google Maps is that there may be streets reflected on the Enumeration maps which do not exist now or there may be streets/roads built after 1950 not on the Enumeration map.
  • Determine the cross (front and back facing) and parallel streets as these are listed on the Enumeration District map description. Here is an example of  Enumeration District 60-288
  • The maps are of varying quality and age. Some are from decades before 1950 and some have issues such as tears, folds, etc.
  • The first digits for example:  60-stands for the county, a second digit-289 stands for a particular area on the map that has borders such as streets, highways, rivers, etc. 
  • An example illustrated here is Peekskill, NY. Note that there are multiple ED maps.
  • 60-289, You can then look at the Population Schedule to find the person(s) you are looking for based on a street address. You may have to look through multiple pages. Here is an example of a Population Schedule for a relative with the last name of Bondra. Note the misspelling of the last name. Also note other Bondra's may be misspelled. Note: If you find relatives you can greatly help others,  by signing up for an account on the National Archives site to transcribe names as the OCR software sometimes has problems with reading the script writing.
  • Use this Unified Census ED Finder to aid in your search.

How to Save an Image from Your Search.

 

When you select "Download", you'll have the option to choose the resolution of the image. Since some images can be very difficult to read, it's best to download the highest resolution image.