It's 2020. In two years the 1950 census will be released

And I will finally be on it! And my brother who is two years younger. Youngest brother has to wait another ten years. I was born in 1946 and have been leading the boomers headlong into the future!

As a nearly-40-year amateur genealogist I was thrilled when the 1940 Census was released, as it contained entries for my father and his siblings. I even volunteered to do some transcription, which was rather much harder than I was expecting (I can barely read my own handwriting let alone someone else’s).

So, I’m looking forward to this as well.

My father will miss being in this census by two months. But the rest of his family will be in it. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on it.

I’ll have to wait until 2052 before I finally show up on a census.

I wondered how that got done. You guys did an amazing job.

It’s a pretty interesting process that they set up. Multiple transcribers were given the same pages, and the back-end system compared the transcriptions across all transcribers (minimum of 3 per page, I believe), and discrepancies are manually reviewed. Painstaking and slow, which makes the number of volunteers very important.

I remember having to go through a qualification process (a test of my ability), as well as online training (cursive styles, what to look out for, etc.).

Same here. I tried doing transcriptions also and got a lot of rejections, even for some that I thought were correct. Very frustrating. I’ll be on this census release (or should be, although living in Alaska may be a factor in accuracy). My siblings and parents were on the 1940 release. A year after that, my mother and sibs were told to leave Alaska following the attack on Pearl Harbor. My mother had to get passage papers from the government to go back there to see her husband, who was working on the Alaska Highway at that time. I still have that document.

So to clarify, the government only allows the Census details to be made public after 72 years? Why that figure?

When did the records start being typed rather than handwritten, thus mooting the need to transcribe? How does one apply for one of those transcriber jobs?

Basically for privacy reasons. The information is available to the person and his/her heirs, but not to the general public. Much information is still collected (or was in 2010, when I worked on the census) by hand.

To do transcription, there’s this website.

I heard recently that the 1940 census asked if people had a radio, and in 1950 if they had a television.

And in 1960, how many televisions the household had.

The 1940 census also enumerated livestock in farm families.

The statistical information like how many of each race lives in an area, or average income, etc is available as soon as it is processed and published. Individual information is delayed for an average lifetime, I believe. The 72 year delay was determined long ago and would be about 78 years if calculated today.

Nothing like that in the 1940 census document I am looking at for my grandparents. 11 questions about employment. Lots of background questions. Oddly there are two places to indicate if you live on a farm. Nothing about animals.

Much detail can be found in rural or city phone directories. I have a large collection of them for Ohio. Many indicate the job title each adult has and the name of the company they work for. Some years of the Elyria, Ohio directory lists the year and model of the car the homeowner drives!

C-SPAN 3 shows old newsreels, educational films, etc. on the weekends, and a few weeks ago, they showed some old census films, which was how I knew this. They actually had separate enumerator staffs for farm families in 1940.

It also sounds like at the time, it was all done face-to-face.

OK, I did some more checking and can clear up some of this. The 1940 Census form did not have a question about radios. However, the 1930 form did. On all the 1930 forms I have saved from my research every family answered “yes” to “Radio set”. So I guess there was no need to ask in 1940.

The question about farms reads, “Number of farm schedule”, not “Number of farm animals”. I don’t know what that means and no one listed anything in that column of the forms that I saw.

Per the 1930 Instructions to Enumerators, they did count livestock, which went on the Farm Schedule. “Number of farm schedule” indicates how many previous Farm Schedules were enumerated for that particular farm.

I found a web site that can answer ALL these questions. Here is a link to the complete index of Census questions over the years:

For many years there were two sets of questions. 5 percent of the people got an additional form with a ton of questions about details of their housing. These are called “Housing” questions. In 1950 people were asked about radios and TVs, just yes/no. In 1960 they were asked about both and answers were, none, one, two or more. In 1970 they asked if you had a battery operated radio and for TV if you had none, one, more then one, and if any were a UHF set.

These housing questions are very detailed about everything in the house, kitchen, bathroom, heating, etc. Very informative. Theye were dropped after 1990.

My parents were just beginning to ***date in 1950.

My mom had just started nursing school. She may be listed at her parents home or maybe the school.

My dad was stationed at San Diago or maybe Pensacola Fl. He transferred to the naval base in Florida in 1950 or maybe 51. It’ll be interesting to see where he answered the census.

***My dad drove from Pensacola to see my mom. He had to do that until she graduated. Nursing students couldn’t marry or have children in that era.

The 12-year-old who would become my mom is on the 1940 Census, living in her cousin’s house, along with the aunt who raised her and the cousin’s domestic partner.

Aunt & cousin moved to Hawaii at some point, I wonder if that’s where they are on the 1950 Census.