More about the 1950 US Census

On April 1st, the 1950 US Census was released. That started the clock for each of the big-name genealogy companies, Ancestry and MyHeritage, to get working on giving us the census images. They each gave us tools to help us search and find out families. They each brought the photos up in record time, first MyHeritage and Ancestry close behind. For each of the companies, it’s FREE to search.

In due time you’ll be able to search the indexes on these sites and find your family, but there is an opportunity to see them prior if you just can’t wait.


One of MyHeritage’s tools to help you with your 1950 census experience is Census Helper™.

This is how it works. If you have a tree already on MyHeritage, it searches the people in your tree and lets you know who you might find in the 1950 census. Keep in mind that this can include a lot of people. I’m from Canada, but potentially many of my ancestors or their families could be in the U.S. in 1950.

As they complete registries for various locations, they let us know. So far, MyHeritage has already advised that they have registries for Wyoming, Delaware, Vermont, and American Samoa and just on Tuesday had three additional locations. Those being Alaska, New Hampshire, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Searching is free; just go to Research at MyHeritage


Ancestry used new priority handwriting AI to first have machines read what’s written on the census. These transcriptions will be part of the registers sent to FamilySearch to have humans check on any of the issues that AI had when trying to decipher the handwriting.

On April 2nd Ancestry confirmed that the images on their site included the total 6.57 million that NARA reports, plus the 33k from the Indian Schedules and Overseas Islands.

Each week they have been added registries as well. I watched a Facebook live on Ancestry and learned from Crista Cowan that if you find your family and the family is listed as not at home, don’t be discouraged. Continue to scroll to sheet 71; you’ll see the second pass the Innumerator took. I thought that was a beneficial tip.

At the time of launch, Ancestry offered a tool called the 1950 Census district finder to help you locate an enumeration district if you know where your people were at the time.

Ancestry’s 1950 census images are Free to search, and you can search HERE

National Archives

National Archives Logo

The National Archives (NARA) has been the keeper of the 1950 US Census for the past 72 years, so you can also search the records here. They have a great search tool where you can put the location, name, or enumeration district, and then you can scroll through the results.

I’m from Canada, so I don’t really have any family to search for in the 1950 Census. I do have a couple of people, but I think I’ll wait with a name like Clark. But I did try out the search feature on April 2nd for a friend and found her family in just 8 minutes.

Who are you searching for? Are you waiting until Ancestry or MyHeritage has the indexes done? If you’ve searched and found your family… what interesting things did you learn?


  • Patricia Kellen says:

    I found myself, my parents, and my grandparents on NARA, except my paternal grandfather. He would have been released from jail just before the census. To my surprise, my grandmother listed herself as a widow, not married, on the census! Perhaps she was embarrassed?

    • Patricia, What a great find. You are probably right about your grandmother being embarrassed. My step-great-grandfather’s first wife always listed herself as married despite him also being shown as being married to my great grandmother at the same time. I have never found a divorce from her or marriage to my great-grandmother. So I don’t know if there was a divorce, and that was not something she wanted to tell everyone or whether they never divorced, so she was just stating the facts.