After a 72 year waiting period, the personal records from the 1950 Census will be made available online to researchers by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on April 1, 2022. The records will also be available at the major genealogy online resources including Ancestry.com, Family Search, and My Heritage. The National Archives’ 1950 Census page is now live and has a lot of information to help you prepare for the actual release of the records. NARA will be using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the host for the digitized records. AWS is using optical character recognition (OCR) technology to digitally index the records. However, this indexing will not be 100% accurate so NARA is seeking volunteers to help submit name updates. Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will also be using similar technology to create initial automated indexes. FamilySearch is asking for volunteer indexers as well. If you are interested in helping with this project, please go to their 1950 Census website.
You will also be able to search the 1950 Census by location. To do this you will need to know the Enumeration District (ED) number. The enumeration district was an area that could be canvassed by a census taker within a certain time period. It is possible to get an enumeration district number if you know a family’s address in 1950. Once you have an address you can go to the Unified 1950 Census ED Finder website prepared by Stephen Morse. At this site, you can enter the city, state, and county of the location you are seeking and add the address. You will be able to narrow the number of ED districts that appear by adding the cross streets of the location. Armed with the ED number you will be able to go to the 1950 Census records and just search in this enumeration district. This process is more time-consuming than searching by name but the option will be helpful especially if your family’s record does not appear using the name search function.
In 1950 the Mount Prospect area was more rural than it is today with a population of just 4,009. There were two enumeration districts covering this area. The portion of Mount Prospect which was in Elk Grove Township (south of Central Road) was in ED 16-257 and 16-258. The portion of the village in Wheeling Township (north of Central Road) was in ED 16-259. If you have relatives who lived in Mount Prospect then and whose records do not come up by the name search, you can look through the listings in these enumeration districts.
There are several videos on YouTube which discuss the 1950 Census and how to search it. One of them was prepared by Stephen Morse. In this video Morse discusses the 1950 Census and the location search process in depth.
If you would like some assistance in preparing for the release of these records or help searching the 1950 census once it is released, please contact genealogy librarian Anne Shaughnessy to set up a reference appointment.