Preparing Your Genealogy Research for the 1950 Census Using City Directories

[This article is by Diana Crisman Smith for Research Write Connect]


Have you heard the exciting news? The 1950 U.S. Federal Census will be released on 1 April 2022!

I’ve been waiting for this one to see what all the family that I know were up to at that time (I hadn’t yet made my initial appearance). It is understood that, as with the 1940 census, it is planned to be released UNINDEXED, then crowdsourcing will index it. It was expected that would take a year - but you know how impatient genealogists are: we got together on several platforms and went to work - it was done in 6 months. I expect 1950 will be a similar effort.


Blank 1950 Census Form

In the meantime, however, there will be records out there that we want to see NOW. This will be possible, but that means you need to know where to look. There are some aids in development which will help. But we need to do some homework first.

1. Figure out who was living in 1950 and start trying to put together your list:
    a. Names of all family members, with birth year and place for each
    b. Address where they were BELIEVED to be in 1950. The more exact, the better.

2. If you don’t have #1b available, time to get to work with those city (or rural) directories.

Page from the 1950 Titusville, Pennsylvania City Directory

If you haven’t used city directories much in the past, try my course Using City Directories for Genealogical Research: Windows to the Past to learn more. (Save $20 through 30 April 2021 with promo code SPRING21). Click here to register now.

It’s self-paced with 3 lessons to guide you through learning to get the MOST from city directories, as well as help trying to find them. Each lesson includes a text with illustrations to get familiar with the topic, then a video of a case study or methodology for what was in the lesson, then a suggested exercise for you to practice. I have a private Facebook group to which each student is invited. You can stop by and share your eurekas (or frustrations) with other students, ask questions, or just talk about what you’ve learned. I check in frequently to help however I can.

I suggest starting soon so you can have ample time to get ready for April 1, 2022 - and it’s no April Fool’s Day joke!

I’m excited - hope you are too!

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Copyright 2021 Diana Crisman Smith, Research Write Connect

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