1950 USA Census
By Dave Gorz, GGD Treasurer
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has released the 1950 US Census. The pages of the census were scanned and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence were used to try to interpret the names. OCR of handwriting is still in its infancy, for example one family found their surname "Gorz" in the index as "Dary". They only found the census information because they knew the street name.
Any group of records is tagged as to state, county, and city and also by Enumeration District (ED). For very large cities, such as Chicago, the number of ED’s is quite large.
If you know the address of the people you’re looking for, the ED within the city can be determined and that narrows down the search. This web site will help you determine the ED:
Note that there is a drop down list at the very top of the web page where the year of the census can be set so make sure it is set for 1950.
There are drop down lists where you can enter the state, county and city and entering those three will give you a list of ED’s. If you enter Illinois, Cook, Chicago, you get hundreds of them. So the next step to narrow things down is to enter a house number and street name, if you know them. But there’s still more to go. If the street is quite long, there will by many ED’s associated with it, but you can continue to narrow things down by entering the cross streets at both ends of the block and/or entering a street that runs parallel to the street being searched. For small towns you’ll probably get only a few ED’s, so you may not need to enter the cross streets and searching should go quickly.
Many small towns do not show up in the list of towns/cities in a county but you’re given the option of selecting “Other” and entering a name. If that fails to give you ED’s, you may have to look at an Enumeration District map to find the number for your town. There is a link button for viewing the ED map for the state and county you’re searching.
After entering all the information you know for the location you’re searching, clicking on an ED number will take you to another page where you can select the viewer that you wish to use. The current choices are the NARA viewer, Family Search, and Ancestry; though right after the census was released the Ancestry viewer was not available. It appears that the Family Search and Ancestry viewer web sites are in the process of indexing the names, so it may take some time before they’re useable.
Make a note of the ED of interest because once you have that you can go directly to the NARA site and enter it along with the state and county and start searching again.
Although they’re not quite ready to go, Ancestry and MyHeritage have a 1950 census web page.
Paper Based Maps and Map-related Books
Some of these resources are dated. Please refer to our maps page for online maps that are now of such good quality that paper maps are seldom ordered.
Historical Atlas of East Central Europe - by Paul Robert Magocsi. A History of East Central Europe, Univ. of Washington Press, Seattle, ISBN 0-295-97445-1. Can also be ordered through inter-library loan.
Sections, Townships and Ranges - Ray Hill. Article describing the grid system used in sections, townships and ranges. SGS Bulletin #29, #4, Dec 1998 page 135. to help you locate your ancestor's homestead in provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Western Canada).
Galician Cadastre Maps - Land Surveys of 1849 and 1874 by John D. Pihach. Article in SGS Vol. 27 #1, March 1996, page 24-31. Cadastre maps are a collection of texts and maps that provide a snapshot of a community a century and a half ago. These maps can be found in the archives of Vienna, (Austria) Przemysl, (Poland), and Lviv (Ukraine) for those searching in Galicia. Article tells how to read the maps and other info.
Galician Cadastre Maps: Land Surveys of 1849 and 1874 - article by John Pihach. EEG June 1994, Vol. 2, #4, pages 16-24.
Josephinian Land Survey Maps "Josephinischen Landesaufnahme" at the War Archiv "Kriegsarchiv" in Vienna. Article by Brian Lenius. EEG Vol. 5#3, Spring 1997. Survey produced between 1760-80's shows roads, villages and other features as they were over 200 years ago. Commissioned by Empress Maria-Theresia and Emperor Joseph II and produced between 1764-1787. Pages 11-24.
Obtaining Galician Maps from Vienna's Kriegsarchiv - article by John Pihach. EEG March 1995, Vol. 3, #3. Includes address
Old World Maps Online has historical maps of the entire world. Many of them are online and can be downloaded, but some are paper based and must be ordered from the publisher. This site has an easy-to-use interface where you put a square around the area of interest and it lists all the available maps on the right hand side.
Tip 15, Organizations and Genealogical Societies
Organizations Related to Galician Research
The Hilfskomitee der Galiziendeutschen (Assistance Committee of the Galician Germans) was organized in 1946 and is an organization that promotes family research of the Germans in Galicia. This website is in German but most of the main pages are also available in English. Their website has Publications, village plat maps ("Ortspläne") available to order, and the Village Family Books project (Digital copies of these familybooks are available for a fee from our website at this link). They publish two publications of particular interest to Germans from Galicia. The first is their monthly newsletter "Das heilige Band. - Der Galiziendeutsche" ("The Sacred Bond - The Galician Germans) and the second will be very familiar to users of this website as much material in our own publication and on our website has come from the "Zeitweiser" Yearbooks published for over 60 years! Both these publications are in German. While the Hilfskomitee der Galiziendeutschen primarily serves the interests of Germans in tracing their lineages back to Galicia, it welcomes members from all countries.
Some members have asked how they could donate funds to the Hilfskomitee. See this page for details.
The The Foundation for East European Family History Studies (FEEFHS)
was organized in 1992 as an umbrella organization that promotes family research in eastern and central Europe without any ethnic, religious, or social distinctions. It provides a forum for individuals and organizations focused on a single country or group of people to exchange information and be updated on developments in the field. While it primarily serves the interests of North Americans in tracing their lineages back to a European homeland, it welcomes members from all countries.
Resource Guide Listings of Organizations Associated with FEEFHS (sorted by country)
Bukovina Society of the Americas
This site is a goldmine of information about Bukovina which was the eastern most crown land of the Austrian Empire; now divided between Romania and Ukraine. Many Galician Germans in the extreme South-East of Galicia had branches of their family in Bukovina.
Ethnographic Map of Bukovina in 1910.
Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe (SGGEE) : The SGGEE is devoted to the study of those people with German ancestry who lived in present-day Poland and also those people who lived in the western part of present-day Ukraine, in the old pre-World War II province of Volhynia. Auch vorhanden auf Deutsch.
East European Genealogical Society (EEGS): The EEGS "identifies and marshals genealogical resources for east European research". Galicia is one of the most popular regions in their mandated area of interest.
University of Alberta, Germanic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics: This site has a single page on Galizien Germans which you can choose from the left-hand menu, and several other pages on the history and distribution of Germans in central Canada.
Black Sea Germans: This website focuses on Germans who settled in Russia around the Black Sea and it has a large database of Germans who lived near the Black Sea at some point. It is helpful for those who have Galician German ancestors who either came from or went to Russia at some point before they immigrated to North America. Be aware that there are Russian villages with identical or similar names to Galician villages (eg. Kaiserdorf).
Glückstal Colonies Research Association: GCRA is a non-profit organization researching family histories of the German colonists living in the Black Sea colonies of Glückstal, Neudorf, Bergdorf and Kassel. Again note that their village list has many entries similar to village names in Galician.
Genealogical Society of Małopolska: This website contains many online books and some maps about the part of Galicia that is currently in Poland, which often include information about all of Galacia. For example, this is the location of the indispensable "Das Kolonizationswerk Josefs II in Galizien". It has an English version, but many of the references are still in Polish or German. The use of Chrome/Edge or Google Translate is recommended.
Culture, Remembrance & Recipes
Perogies, cabbage rolls, blood sausage metzel soup, and much much more!
Family stories that are shared with other members.
Stories about cemetery restoration projects submitted to us by our members.
Frank Petersohn created this site to highlight his collection of "Volkslieder, German and other Folk Songs" that he has collected.
Pages from our members or our affiliated German members that give details about villages, families, or Galicia in general.
Cemetery Restoration Projects
These cemetery restoration projects address works in progress and completed projects.
Koenigsberg Cemetery Restoration Project
Shared with us by Erika Paulson. They may be contacted by email (iben-metzgert-online.de) or postal address 12 Walkmoehle, D23611 Sereetz, Germany.
Münchenthal (Mużyłowice Kolonia) Cemetery Restoration Project
This was a major project directed by two of our members, Brian Lenius and Ed Rozylowicz. The work started in 2004. On September 20, 2018, there was a ceremony to dedicate and bless the cemetery and monument. The project is on-going with grass cutting and cleaning occurring three times a year.
For an overview of the colony and project, members can see the Münchenthal Memorial Project page.
Ed wrote an article on the restoration - members can see this in issue #62 April 2010. He has also created two short video clips showing the decaying church (4.5 min) and the cemetery (14 min). Both are publicly available on YouTube.
Brian Lenius (GGD Member L04) continues to be the contact person for Münchenthal and may be reached at .
Reichau Cemetery Restoration Project
See issue #62 April 2010 for more information.
Members may add to this cemetery restoration list by contacting the Editor
This means that the file is locked. For the Münchenthal Memorial Project, see the login link in the top menu. For past issues of our newsletter, see our newsletter page.