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.
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 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 3 Apr 2022).
- See Judy G. Russell, “Time travel with NARA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 1 Apr 2022 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 3 Apr 2022). ↩
- See e.g. ibid, “A vote for Georgia, NOW!,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 18 Mar 2022. ↩
- See ibid., “SSDI: The fat lady sings,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 19 Dec 2013. ↩
I found my parents living in a place in the same city where I never knew they lived. So that was totally new information to me although most of the other data was a rehash, it’s still nice to get the verification!
There are TONS of reasons why that census is a joy — and adding new DNA testers is just one more I don’t want folks to overlook.
My father died when I was seven, so despite being a professional genealogist, I really don’t know that much about his early life. It was a thrill to find him in the 1950 census, and to learn that he was then a census enumerator — he enumerated himself and the entire town. I loved seeing so much of his handwriting, and learning that we had something in common — I was a census enumerator in 1990.
What a treasure this census is for you, then!
I agree. We don’t have census data in Australia, except for a smidgeon from 1841 and 1891. With 1950 census data I could solve a heap of problems of where people went in the mid 1900s. (A lot moved during and just after the War.)
In particular I could find out what a whole heap of DNA matches mean and use their segment data to help me with my researches in the 1700s.
English 1921 Census data is just out but I have not had a chance to get into that, and Scottish 1921 near the end of the year.
Ah well. Some cousins just tested their DNA to find out their ethnicity estimates.
So it goes.
I found my father and his family in the house they lived in all my father’s growing up years and where my grandparents lived when I was a child. However, there was an unknown woman listed in their household. When I asked my uncle who this was, he replied that my grandmother rented out the upstairs room to a local teacher and the rental money was my grandmother’s fun money. I never knew and would never have thought to ask without seeing the 1950 census data.
I was happy to find myself, since I was entirely omitted from the 1940 census. I also was able to confirm that I was related to half the residents in my E.D., just as I suspected after years of genealogy and DNA matching. All those names from my small town and my high school yearbook in 1950! Even the enumerator was a cousin.