Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Stories From the 1950 Census ~ Census Number 10 For Aunt Claude

My second great grand aunt, Anna Claudine Freeland, lived long enough to be enumerated in ten federal censuses!

I have previously written about Great Aunt Claudine Freeland. I have also shared her brief obituary. (She outlived her four siblings by several decades.)

Sadly, as genealogists know, the 1890 federal census didn't survive a fire in 1921, with most of the damage coming from water used to put out the fire. Following is a summary of what I have found for "Aunt Claude" in all the other federal census records.

Year      Name                                Age      Occupation            Head of Household                  
1860     Hannah E. Freeland             5            -                         her parents, James and Nancy
1870     Clara Freeland                   15         at school               her widowed mother, Nancy
1880     Claude A. Freeland            25        School Teacher     her widowed mother, Nancy
1900     Anna C. Freeland               43        School Teacher     her widowed mother, Nancy
1910     Claudie Freeland                41        School Teacher     her (unmarried) brother, William
1920     Glaudine Freeland              50        School Teacher     lodger living in a boarding house
1930     Anna Claudine Freeland    75        None                      roomer living in Orlando, Florida
1940     Claudine Freeland              85        None                     lodger living in a boarding house

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Stories From the Census ~ Libby in 1950

My paternal grandmother (born Elizabeth Adsit) was called by her nickname, Libby, even by her grandchildren. I found her under the name Elizabeth A. Rust relatively easily in the 1950 census using the National Archives index.

She and her (second) husband, Edgar C. Rust, lived in Newton, Massachusetts.

Not all their information in the census is accurate, making me wonder who provided the details to the census enumerator. Perhaps Libby provided the information and didn't want to be truthful because she was about 15 years younger than her husband. The census reported that they were five years apart in age.

1950 U.S. census, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Newton, ED 26-89, sheet 8, lines 1-5, household 51 (Edgar C Rust & family); U.S. National Archives, 1950 Census (

Edgar C. Rust, age 65 [actually 67], and Elizabeth A. Rust, age 60 [actually 52], both born in Massachusetts [actually Libby was born in Illinois], lived at 22 Gatehouse Rd. in Newton. (Not quite the right address - more about that below.)

Edgar worked 45 hours the previous week as an Executor in a Banking Firm. Libby is listed as "H" (keeping house). Three maids lived with them: 65-year-old Katherine M. Fannon, a widow, born in Ireland; 50-year-old Theresa Walsh, never married, born in Ireland; and 45-year-old Susan H. MacWhister, never married, born in Scotland. These women worked 60 (!) hours during the previous week as maids for a private family. (Libby's "keeping house" was likely telling the maids what needed to be done.)

The 1950 census included space either at the top or the bottom of each page for the enumerator to write additional notes about the households on that page. Be sure to take a look at any notes on the page.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Stories From the 1950 Census ~ My Great Aunts Were Farmers

I previously shared that my mother remembers walking (quite a distance) to visit her grandmother Marguerite when she was growing up outside of Pittsburgh. She was supposedly her grandmother's favorite grandchild and even spent three months living with her when she was eight years old and recovering from (possibly) rheumatic fever, which left her with a lifetime heart murmur.

My great-grandmother, Marguerite (Lysle) Hunter, was the first ancestor I found in the 1950 census when it became available on April 1 at the National Archives website. No, I didn't find her by searching for Marguerite Hunter (a relatively common first name combined with a very common surname in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania). I searched for her divorced daughter, Mary Gerken.

1950 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Hampton Township, ED 2-366, sheet 7, lines 17-19, household 55 (Marguerite Hunter & daughters); U.S. National Archives, 1950 Census (

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Stories from the Census ~ Dad (Again!) in 1950

 Last week, I shared my dad's story from the 1950 census.

A couple of days later, I learned that has made their 1950 US Census index available for all states and territories, due to confidence in their proprietary artificial intelligence technology that created a separate index than what NARA has (both created by using OCR on handwriting but using their own technology). You do have to set up a free account, but that provides you with access to not only the 1950 US Census, but the 1940 US Census and the 1880 US Census among other free indexes.

You can hear Ancestry's Crista Cowen excitedly explain what Ancestry has done in a YouTube video from last Wednesday.

So to check out this newly-available index, I entered Dad's name into the search boxes. He appeared at the top of the results page... twice! Notice the differences in the column "Home in 1950."

The first result is the one I shared last week. Dad was living at 156 Thornton Road in Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

The second result (Jeannette's name was spelled incorrectly in both indexes), shows that he lived at 156 Thornton Road, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Stories From the Census ~ Dad in 1950

Finding my dad in the recently released 1950 U.S. Census was a challenge, as he wasn't living where I thought he would be living.

He was in Brookline, Massachusetts, at 156 Thornton Road, which is about as close to the border of the Boston neighborhood of West Roxbury as you can get. The red line on the enumeration district (ED) map below represents the town/city line for Brookline and West Roxbury.

The map suggests that Thornton Road was quite new. Look closely at the lettering where the white arrow is pointing in ED 11-137 - it looks like it was added after the rest of the lettering on the map.

This was and still is known as the Hancock Village apartments. These low-rise brick apartment buildings were built in the late 1940s for returning WWII veterans. Some more history of this area can be found at the Preserve Brookline website.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Stories From the Census ~ Copeland Family in 1950

The 1950 United States Census became available to the public on April 1, 72 years after its official date. It has been "kind of" indexed, using OCR and artificial intelligence technology. (I say "kind of" because, although the National Archives likes to say it's been indexed, I haven't had much luck just entering names and places into their search fields.)

See the National Archives FAQ page here and start searching here. Read the search tips before you start searching.

One of the first families I looked for was my mother's family in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This was a challenge, even though I knew exactly where they lived: on Mount Royal Boulevard.

It turns out that they lived on the border of their enumeration district (ED), a defined region for a census taker (an enumerator) to collect information on the residents who lived there.

The red star indicates where my mother's family lived. The corner of Mount Royal Boulevard and Sample Road turns out to be at a corner of ED 2-365. The blue star indicates where my great-grandmother, Marguerite (Lysle) Hunter lived with her two daughters (in ED 2-366). They lived less than 3 miles from each other. My mother has told me that she and her sisters often walked to visit their grandmother and aunts.

Click on the following images to enlarge them.

1950 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Hampton Township, ED 2-365, sheet 39, line 30 & sheet 40, lines 1-4, household 555 (Lowell Copeland family).

Lowell Copeland, my grandfather, was the 48-year-old head of household. The house was not on a farm, but was on more than three acres of land. Lowell was born in Illinois and was working most of the previous week, a 40-hour workweek as a salesman in the industry "Mine Supply." I was able to ask my mother about his occupation and she tells me he sold industrial supplies.

His wife, Helen, age 43, was at the top of the next page and her primary work the previous week was "H" for home housework.

My mother was disappointed that her name was misspelled. (It should have been Margot, with the "t.") Unfortunately, we don't know who provided the information, but my mother believes that if her mother had provided it, she would have said my mother's name, then spelled it.

Everyone age 14 and older was asked about what they did during the previous week. My mother and her sister Ann were "OT" meaning "other." They were in school.

My grandmother, mother, and her sisters were all born in Pennsylvania.

The 1950 census includes six entries on each page for individuals who were asked additional questions. My aunt Ann was asked the additional questions, but all that provided was that she was living in the same house a year prior and was a student with the highest grade of school being 8th grade. (I know she was in 9th grade at this time, a year behind my mother; they were both young for their grades.)

I look forward to sharing more stories from the 1950 U.S. Census.