Remember 1950? Neither do we, but the Kenton County Library can help interpret the 1950 Census

After the required 72-year waiting period, detailed information from the 1950 United States Census became available on April 1.

Genealogists, amateur historians and others have been interested in the release of the census information, as it’s a snapshot of the country at one of the most interesting points in American history, just after World War II and just before the postwar advancements in science, civil rights, and entertainment, according to
The Kenton County Public Library is offering help in deciphering the reams of information that has become available. On Friday, April 15, the library will launch on its YouTube channel a video on how to navigate the 1950 Census.

The library is also offering one-on-one appointments with its local genealogists to help work through the census data.

The 1950 Census was the first federal census that took place after the end of World War II, in which 16 million Americans fought.

The return home of Americans after the war resulted in major demographic shifts. Congress, seeking to help soldiers readjust to civilian life, had passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the “GI Bill.” It gave servicemen and servicewomen access to economic assistance, including guarantees for loans to buy a home, business, or farm; job counseling, and a weekly unemployment benefit of $20 for up to one year for veterans looking for work; and tuition-free education, up to $500, along with a cost of living stipend.

The access to higher education, job counseling, and the availability of government-guaranteed loans set the stage for the economic prosperity of the 1950s and the Baby Boom.

“There’s an opportunity to discover additional information about your ancestors in this census,” says Kate McKenzie, a local history and genealogy associate at the library.

The National Archives has created a new website for the census that  includes a name search function powered by an artificial intelligence/machine learning and optical character recognition technology tool. This is important for genealogists and other researchers, as the Archives has developed a transcription tool to enable users to find specific, hand-written names more easily.

The 1950 Census dataset is more than 165 terabytes of data, including the metadata index, population schedules, enumeration district maps, and enumeration district descriptions for the 1950 Census records. It’s approximately 10 times the size of the 1940 Census dataset, the National Archives says.

To make an appointment, you may go to the link on the library’s website or email [email protected].

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David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.