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.