April 1, 2022, is a day of celebration for genealogists—it’s 1950 census release day!!! Family researchers have been waiting for a decade for new census data. Get ready to receive lots of new hints on your Ancestry and FamilySearch trees because a whole cache of new information will soon be at your fingertips. 152 million people are included in the 1950 census, and the National Archives scanned 6,373 reels of microfilm to make it more accessible. The census is an invaluable tool for researching your ancestors because it provides so much information about U. S. citizens, including name, age, other household members, level of education, occupation, and much more.

old photo of 1950s family mother father and child

The 1950 census is important for several reasons. This is the first searchable census released by the National Archives. It is searchable by state, country, Native American reservation, enumeration district, and name. Ancestry and FamilySearch are collaborating to add even more searchability functions to the census. This is the first census to include the Baby Boomers, and for the first time, college students not living at home are listed. 1950 is also the first census after WWII and reflects the historical losses that the country suffered during the war and the many people who fled Europe to start a new life in the U. S.

There are a few notable “lasts” to consider as well. This was the last census to be written out by hand, and it was the last census to ask every resident of the country their citizenship status. Keep in mind that when searching by name, you will need to search for the first and last name of the head of household. All other household members will be listed by their first name only (unless they had a different last name).

If you are just getting started with genealogy or would like some help with your research, the Kansas Room offers drop-in genealogy sessions (no appointment needed!) every Tuesday from 10:00-12:00. Zoom genealogy help sessions are also available by appointment. Email the Kansas Collection Librarian for more information.

Learn more about the 1950 census at the National Archives.