You can search the 1950 US Census!

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Searching the 1950 US Census will be an awkward and cumbersome search until every field is indexed. But you can give it a try.

Be sure you to navigate to the search page:  https://1950census.archives.gov/search

The 1950 US Census NARA Search Page



The search has limited features that include: name, state, county and enumeration district. You do not have to enter search terms any field. For example, you can leave the county or the enumeration district blank.

1950 US Census Search Inputs


If you cannot see the population schedule sheet for the search result on the right, click on “Population Schedule” to see the actual census sheet.

Of course I had better luck in small towns with families having unique names. Just as in any census, try to search for unusual family names. I have even had some success searching boroughs of New York City.

How about a quick hands-on exercise to find a name on the census? I have a simple example using my favorite poet, Ogden Nash.


Name: Frederick Ogden Nash
State: Maryland

1950 US Census Search fields for Ogn Nash


The first result on the right-hand side, listed Odgen Nash (rather than Frederick Ogden Nash) and showed him with his wife Frances, and his children Linell and Isabel. Note: this result came up without entering a county or enumeration district.

Ogden Nash search result in 1950 US Census

On the bottom of each search result is the “Machine Learning (AI) Extracted Names” section that can help by showing you the names that appear on the same census sheet. The AI-generated indexing was surprising to me because it does try to offer alternate spellings of names.

Odgen Nash and family in 1950 US Census

To download the sheet, click on the three dots that appear under “Help Us To Transcribe Names” to see the option to download the sheet.

Option to download

Only the first entry is expanded. If your family member is in one of the other entries, click on “Population Schedule” to see the actual page of the census.

Multiple results (unexpanded)

And the population schedule for that result will expand. (Only one population schedule sheet will appear in the results on the right at one time.)

Expanded Population Schedule

I have posted a short video on our YouTube channel with the example search in action at: https://youtu.be/rLgq2nqNmbA

Let me know how you do.

Speaking at RootsTech Connect 2021!

RootsTech Connect Speaker badge

This year RootsTech is all virtual and free to register! Have you registered?

I hope you will have a chance to check out my lecture: “Write Their Story: From Timeline to Young Readers’ Book” (Lecture Session 471160). 

For RootsTech Connect 2021, each lecture session will be 20 minutes long. My lecture will be split across two 20-minute sessions.  I hope you will join me!

Session ID: 471160
Session Title: Write Their Story: From Timeline to Young Readers’ Book
Session Type: Lecture Session

When more details are shared, I will post them on Facebook, too.

See you at RootsTech Connect!

Travel to Where Your Ancestors Worshipped (Virtually)

The pandemic has affected every part of our lives, including how people are able to attend religious services. Many people are attending virtual religious services on the web. That means that many places of worship are uploading videos of religious services to the web.

This may be a way that you can attend a religious service where your ancestors worshipped! The services might be hosted on a variety of websites for video services. They might be found on YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook.

Use Google, or your other favorite search engine, to locate the place of worship that your ancestors attended. You may know the place, or may find it on marriage or other records of events. If you are still unsure, a Google search around their residence may shed light on possibilities. When you visit the homepage for the place, there should be a link to services, or other information leading to how worship is being shared.

It is worth learning some of the history of this place of worship. You may find that it has been renovated since your ancestors worshipped there. It may also be that parts of building were preserved and have remained unchanged.

Last week, I attended Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, RI. This is where my great-great-grandparents were married, where their children were baptized and where their funeral Masses and that of their oldest child were held. It is also where John F. Kennedy wed Jaqueline Bouvier. Being able to virtual attend a Mass there was a virtual trip to a place that is definitely a future destination. The homepage for St. Mary’s has a link to where you can view “Mass Online at St. Mary’s.”

Genealogy and the 2020 U.S. Census

You have probably received, or are about to receive, your invitation to complete the 2020 U.S. Census online.

One thing I always recommend at census time is saving a paper (and electronic!) copy of the census after you fill it out. Since the censuses are closed for 72 years, how great would be researchers to have copies of our censuses for those years?

I’ve seen a lot of comments about how disappointing it is that you cannot print out all the responses when you are done completing the online forms.

With that in mind, here are two solutions:

1) Take screenshots as you fill out the forms on your computer. You can save them as images, or just cut-and-paste them into a word processing document.

– OR –

2) A better choice is probably to download and print a pdf file of the 2020 Census. Then you can fill it in and have all the answers together in one place. Of course, feel free to scan it and have it both on paper and electronically!

The 2020 Census Form can be downloaded here.

If you missed saving you previous census forms, you can find blank forms and instructions to enumerators here.

You can select the census year to locate links to blank forms. For 2000, you might want to reconstruct the long version of the form.  

The US Census Bureau website hosts a wealth of information and data, so explore it if have a chance. Educational material about the 2020 Census can be found here.

RootsTech London 2019 Videos and Handouts

Rootstech London 2019 is over, but we can still enjoy it.
You can download the syllabi from the presentation list here. Click on the arrow next to the name of the presentation to see the description and a link to the syllabus (if there is one).

There are links for RootsTech London 2019 Keynotes & General Sessions and some selected Sessions here. More videos from past RootsTech presentations can also be found on that page.

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair 2019

Are you looking for an easy way to learn about using the National Archives? Would you like to know more about researching your genealogy at NARA?

The 2019 National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair has come and gone, but the videos have been posted on YouTube, and the handouts are still available. You can learn directly from NARA personnel in the videos and have the handouts for reference. This year’s topics are the History Hub, Preserving Personal Collections, Immigration Records, WWI Navy and Marine Corps Records, Indian Affairs School Records and The Homestead Act.

Check out the 2019 National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair webpage for the topics and links to the videos and handouts. You can follow the links on that page to watch presentations from the day on YouTube.

If you want to head straight to the presentations on YouTube, you can use this link.

Consider taking the time to fill out the Event Evaluation Form to let NARA know how much you appreciate this Virtual Genealogy Fair.

While you are there, follow the links to check out the presentations and handouts for the previous years, too. There are links for the genealogy fairs going back to 2010.