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.