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The Daily Genealogist: The 1950 Federal Census

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
Betlock Lynn

Lynn Betlock
Managing Editor

It may be hard to believe but preparations are now underway to prepare the 1950 census for public viewing. When the 1940 census was released, tools on Stephen Morse’s One-Step website helped researchers locate addresses when a name index did not yet exist or was faulty. On the day the 1940 census was released — April 2, 2012 — the One-Step site received over 2.25 million hits. The One-Step tables “developed for these utilities were also used by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on their 1940 website, on their initial 1940 offering, and the NY Public Library’s digitized 1940 phone book website.”

An announcement from Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub introduces the One-Step site’s Project 1950:

“If you wondered how we produced free locational tools for the opening of the1940 census on the Morse One-Step site, wonder no more and be part of the team to do the same thing for 1950. We have opened up ‘Project 1950’ to prepare searchable ED definitions and street indexes for the opening of the 1950 Census in 2022. With the help of about 125 volunteers we produced our 1940 tools, and now are looking for about 200+ volunteers to help with Phase I (transcription of Enumeration District definitions) and Phase II (creating urban area street indexes) for 1950. An explanation of the two phases and what needs to be done can be found at It may seem too early to be doing this, but it took us over seven years to produce the 1940 tools that were used by…millions of researchers.”

There will be differences between the 1950 census and the 1940 one. The 1950 census contains less information than the 1940, and it was the first census to enumerate Americans abroad. It was also the first to be partially tabulated by computer, the UNIVAC I. To learn more about the 1950 census, visit the National Archives 1950 overview.

While the One-Step website ( offers many helpful census tools, it also provides useful assistance for accessing a variety of other records. Look for information on Ellis Island and passenger arrivals; Castle Garden years (1855–1891) plus other New York arrivals; other ports of immigration; Canadian and British census; New York census; births, deaths, and other vital records; calendar, sunrise/sunset, and maps; dealing with characters in foreign alphabets; Holocaust and Eastern Europe; and genetic genealogy (DNA).

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