GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — More and more people are piecing together their family trees and are now getting some much-needed help. The 1950 census was released in April, and if you’ve been channeling your inner genealogist, here are some tips on how to access this new information.
The very first U.S. census was conducted back in 1790. It’s done every 10 years, mandated by the U.S. Constitution.
Initially, it was used as a way to monitor to country’s population but increasingly gathers additional information about residents like household info, education level and occupation.
In 1978, the “72-Year Rule” was implemented. It means census records cannot be made public until 72 years after the information is collected for privacy reasons.
In April 2022, the 1950 census was released, offering perhaps more pieces to the puzzle of that family tree in progress.
There’s a free website available where the public can access these records.
Simply click “begin your search” and enter information like state, county, city or name and search away.
The info is available now, but is still being indexed to make it even easier to sort through and access.
The 1960 census will be released in 2032.
Special thanks to Lynn Houghton, the regional history curator with Western Michigan University Archives, who helped to provide much of the information used for this story.
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