Attention all genealogists and local historians! The 1950 Census is available online as of Friday, April 1. According to the 72-year rule, census records are withheld from the public for 72 years before the National Archives and Records Administration can release them. You can search the 1950 Census records for free on the National Archives website.
Upon initial release of the records, first and last name searching will be limited to:
- the person designated as the householder
- the person in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented
- members who have different surnames than the householder.
Family members who share a surname with the householder will be searchable only by first name.
As soon as the National Archives releases the records, Ancestry.com will start indexing the census using handwriting recognition software. Ancestry.com and FamilySearch are working together on this project and plan to have the census indexed by this summer. The records for each state will be released as soon as they are complete.
If you would like to be emailed as soon as your state’s records become available, you can sign up on the Ancestry.com website to get notified. Ancestry.com Library Edition is accessible for free on Chicago Public Library computers.
If you don’t find your ancestors by doing a name search, but know where they lived in 1950, you can search for them by location using their enumeration district. Here are two websites to help you find the enumeration district:
- You can use an address convertor from genealogist Stephen Morse’s website.
- You can search 1950 enumeration district maps from the National Archive's website by using these terms: 1950 + the county + the state, for example: 1950 kane Illinois. View Chicago’s enumeration district maps.
Who are you most interested in finding in the 1950 Census?