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Potential testers in those entries

Some said it before the 1950 census was released on Friday.

And some others said it after the 1950 census was released on Friday.

And The Legal Genealogist doesn’t understand how they could have said it.

How can anyone truly interested in genealogy be sitting there and saying: “I don’t see what I can learn from the 1950 census anyway”?

Okay, so maybe the doubters know where their parents and grandparents and any surviving great grandparents were living in 1950. That’s not true of all of us — I wasn’t 100% sure where I’d find any of those folks personally.1

And maybe those doubters have a 100% complete family tree out to all the second and third cousins however many times removed who were alive in 1950. I’m not even going to dream about that, personally, not with a maternal side of my ancestry that was as … um … prolific … as they were.

But even for those whose knowledge of their families and their 1950 whereabouts is better than mine — there are wonders to be plucked from the pages of this brand-new census release.

There are potential DNA testers in those entries.

That census gives us names of folks we may not have known about otherwise who may be just the right folks we need to trace that YDNA line or that mitochondrial DNA line that we thought might have died out.

1950 census and DNA helix

That 17-year-old third cousin from the 1940 census that we couldn’t find afterwards? He’s now married in 1950, with a two-year-old son who’s also now a candidate for a YDNA test.

That 22-year-old newlywed fourth cousin from 1940 who we thought might have been the last possible carrier of that mtDNA from that female line? She’s now the mother of three little girls.

The thing the doubters may have overlooked is that, while it’s true we may have much more personal knowledge about those alive in 1950 than those recorded on earlier censuses, so many of the more recent records are closed away from genealogical access. Many states have instituted closure periods where birth, marriage and death records aren’t available for research.2 Social Security Death Index entries were closed as of 2013,3 and though the statute only required a closure for three years after a death, the Social Security Administration has provided no public access to later records.

Sure, we may get lucky and find an obituary or the like — but the truth is, we often need all the help we can get identifying those living people who hold the DNA we need.

People like all those kids showing up now on that 1950 census.

So am I excited to see that my parents were still in Golden, Colorado, in 1950? That my grandparents had already settled into the new digs in Virginia by 1 April of that year? That my one surviving great grandmother was still living in Tillman County, Oklahoma?

You bet I am.

But even if I had known all of that…

There are potential DNA testers in those entries.

A decade more of them, to be precise.

That alone makes this release worth spending time with.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “A decade more,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 3 Apr 2022).


  1. See Judy G. Russell, “Time travel with NARA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 1 Apr 2022 ( : accessed 3 Apr 2022).
  2. See e.g. ibid, “A vote for Georgia, NOW!,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 18 Mar 2022.
  3. See ibid., “SSDI: The fat lady sings,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 19 Dec 2013.
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