Jump-start Your 1950 U.S. Census Research with the Census Helper™

Jump-start Your 1950 U.S. Census Research with the Census Helper™

We’re happy to introduce the Census Helper™, a useful and free tool that scans your family tree and compiles a list of your relatives who are very likely to be found in the 1950 U.S. census. This tool is available immediately for all MyHeritage users. If you are not using MyHeritage yet, now’s a perfect time to sign up and bring your tree over (via GEDCOM import) and benefit from this useful tool, which will save you time and give direction to your research.

Use the Census Helper™ now – it’s free

The release of the 1950 U.S. Census is fast approaching, and many genealogists are awaiting it with much enthusiasm. Federal U.S. Census records are released once a decade, and these records will reveal a wealth of new information about relatives living on U.S. soil (and some U.S. citizens serving abroad) after the conclusion of World War II. The 1950 U.S. census records will be published very soon by MyHeritage and will be totally free. The indexing process will begin as soon as the census images are released, starting on April 1, 2022.

In the meantime, we recommend that you prepare for the census release by creating a list with the Census Helper™ to focus your research. Armed with this list, you’ll know exactly which family members to find in the newly released 1950 census records. Next to each relative the Census Helper™ provides a convenient button to research that person in the census in one click. The names of people you’ve already researched will be indicated, as will the names for whom automatic Record Matches were found in the census. This makes the Census Helper™ a comprehensive research tool that allows you to squeeze every bit of valuable information out of the census without missing a drop.

The Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

The Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

How does it work?

When you access the Census Helper™ for the first time, it scans your family tree on MyHeritage to identify all people who are most likely to be found in the 1950 U.S. Census. It then saves the results to allow you to access them very quickly at any point afterwards. The list of results can be easily exported for use outside of MyHeritage.

The purpose of the Census Helper™ is to find the people in your family tree who were alive in April 1950 and living in the U.S. Because the 1950 U.S. census was a nationwide survey, almost everyone living in the U.S. at the time was enumerated. This means you can find valuable information about those people in the 1950 U.S. census.

To find the relevant relatives, the Census Helper™ rules out those who missed being included in the census: they were either born after April 1950, or died before that month. When dates for an individual are missing in the family tree, it deduces them from other relatives. For example, an undated individual who fathered a child in 1840, will not appear in the 1950 census. Once it determines that a certain individual was alive in 1950, it searches for evidence that they were in the United States at the time, by analyzing place information entered for life events in the family tree, such as birth, baptism, residence, marriage, death, and burial. When absent, it deduces this from events of relatives. For example, if a person’s parents were married in the U.S. in 1930, it is quite likely that this person was in fact in the U.S. in 1950, even if no birth or residence information is available for them in the tree.

Additional cues used by the Census Helper™ are matches to other U.S. collections; for example, if an individual has a Record Match to the 1940 U.S. census collection on MyHeritage, or to the Social Security Death Index, evidence increases for their presence in the U.S. While such logic may sound excessive for our American users with a majority of relatives who lived in the U.S., it becomes very valuable for the millions of non-American users on MyHeritage, who have some relatives in the U.S. but they are a minority in their family. Like sorting the wheat from the chaff, the Census Helper™ will easily find them.

Based on this analysis, Census Helper™ generates a list for you with the people most likely to be found in the 1950 U.S. Census.

Click “Show lower-confidence results” to also show people who were likely alive in 1950, but for whom we found no evidence that they were in the United States at the time. Although those people are less likely to be found in the 1950 U.S. Census, there is still a chance that they might be.

Show lower-confidence results in the Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

Show lower-confidence results in the Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

You can later revert and choose to hide the lower-confidence results again from the list.

If there is information available indicating that certain individuals were not alive in 1950 or not living in the United States at the time, they will not be included in either list.

Accessing the Census Helper™

If you already have a family tree on MyHeritage, access the Census Helper™ on your family site under the “Research” tab on the navigation bar.

Accessing the Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

Accessing the Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

If you don’t yet have a family tree on MyHeritage, you can upload your tree as a GEDCOM file through this landing page. The tool is completely free to all. Once your tree is uploaded, you’ll be taken to the Census Helper™ page, where the tool will immediately start scanning your tree.

As your tree is being scanned, a progress bar will indicate how much additional time is required to complete the scan. The first time around, it may take a short while, depending on the size of your tree. You’ll receive an email when your results are ready. The results are stored so that when you visit this page again, it will load the report immediately.

When ready, the list of results includes the following fields for each individual: their profile photo from the family tree, name, relationship to you, date of birth and death, age at the time of the census (exact or estimated), and details that the Census Helper™ found that support their chances of being found in the census. These details include their location in the U.S., making it easier for you to find them in the 1950 census, in case they were still living at the same address in 1950, or in the same state.

Using the Census Helper™

When the list of results is ready, you’ll want to click Research for each person in the list of people likely to be found in the census, to retrieve information about them. Click the Research button to do this. This opens a new tab with a search on this individual in all previous U.S. censuses on MyHeritage. As soon as the 1950 census collection is available on MyHeritage, that’s where the research will be conducted.

Census record search (Click to zoom)

Census record search (Click to zoom)

When you’ve found a relevant record, click “View record” to see it, and then you can save it to your tree.

The icon with 3 dots to the right of the Research button opens a small menu that lets you view that individual in the family tree or view their profile.

Options available (Click to zoom)

Options available (Click to zoom)

Click on the relationship (underlined with a dashed line) to see your relationship to that person. This is useful if your family tree is large and you could use a reminder from time to time about how you are related to various people in your tree.

Relationship diagram (Click to zoom)

Relationship diagram (Click to zoom)

More options available

The top right corner includes icons for performing additional actions.

You can download the results to your computer as a spreadsheet for further reference.

The refresh button allows you to recalculate the list for your tree, which is useful if you’ve added much data to your tree since you last ran the Census Helper™.

Refresh and Download buttons in the Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

Refresh and Download buttons in the Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

If you have multiple family trees in your site on MyHeritage, you can run the Census Helper™ on any of them. To do so, open the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the screen and select one of your family trees.

Selecting a different tree for the Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

Selecting a different tree for the Census Helper™ (Click to zoom)

Be systematic

In the list, people you’ve already researched will be shown with their name appearing slightly grayed out.

Additional icons indicate whether a Record Match was found for a person in the 1950 census (and you’ve confirmed it), and whether you’ve saved a record for that individual from the 1950 census collection. These indications allow you to go over the list systematically, name by name, to ensure you extract census information to your tree for each and every individual likely to appear in the census. Every person for whom you confirmed a Record Match, or saved a record from the 1950 census collection to your tree, is one fully handled in this respect.

Using the Census Helper™ for other census collections

This tool is called the Census Helper™ and not the 1950 Census Helper™, because it is generic and was built to work well for any nationwide census. Its initial release supports all U.S. censuses from 1790 to 1950. To pick a census other than the 1950 U.S. Census, use the census selector.

Selecting another U.S. census from the list (Click to zoom)

Selecting another U.S. census from the list (Click to zoom)

For example, if you pick the 1930 U.S. Census, the Census Helper™ will prepare a new report showing you everyone in your family tree that was likely to appear in that census. You can then systematically go over them and save the information from that census to your tree, or export the list to process later.

In its upcoming updates, the Census Helper™ will soon support nationwide censuses in other countries found on MyHeritage, such as Canada, England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Denmark, Norway and more. For example, if you are a MyHeritage user with Danish roots, you’ll be able to use this to find all the information on your relatives who likely appeared in the 1940 Denmark census (a unique collection found on MyHeritage that isn’t found on other commercial websites). You‘ll be able to use this out of curiosity to see which people in your family tree might appear in the other nationwide census collections, and then find their records and save them to your tree. It is a very satisfying feeling, to be thorough and successful in your family history research.

Cost

The new Census Helper™ is completely free to use. Once you receive your list of results, you’ll be able to search the U.S. Census collections listed.  Once the 1950 U.S. census collection is available on MyHeritage, it will be completely free as well.

Other U.S. census collections on MyHeritage can be searched for free, but to view their records or to save them to your family tree, you’ll need a Data or Complete subscription.

Summary

The upcoming release of the 1950 U.S. census is a cause for celebration. This once-in-a-decade event will provide a wealth of information on almost all your relatives who lived in the U.S. in April 1950.

We developed the new Census Helper™ tool to help genealogists adopt a thorough approach of combing the 1950 census collection (or any other nationwide census collection on MyHeritage) for all information on all relevant people in their family tree who are likely to be found in the census, without wasting time researching those who cannot possibly be included.

The Census Helper™ is so useful, that even users who normally don’t use MyHeritage can take advantage of it for producing the report that it generates, and then export it. But earnestly, we hope, that in the process they will fall in love with MyHeritage’s features and functionality!

Both the Census Helper™ and the upcoming 1950 U.S. Census collection on MyHeritage are provided free of charge!

We hope you’ll enjoy using the Census Helper™ and look forward to hearing your success stories that will come from its use. Enjoy!

Comments

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  • JG

    Jeannet Greiving

    April 2, 2022

    MyHeritage has given me the most useful tools! I really appreciate their effort and success.

  • FL

    Frank Locke

    April 3, 2022

    Played around with it last night. I wish you all the luck in the world transcribing those names so they can be indexed for searches. Some of the census-takers’ penmanship is no better than chicken scratch.

  • SH

    Shirley Hartje

    April 5, 2022

    Wonderful information on the list. How can I print out the entire list?