Just in time for the momentous release of the 1950 U.S. Census in April 2022, MyHeritage launched a new feature designed to help make your census research easier: the Census Helper™. The Census Helper™ scans your family tree, automatically generates a detailed list of the people in your tree who are most likely to be found in the census you’re interested in, and allows you to research each person with the click of a button. The Census Helper™ currently supports nationwide censuses from the United States, Canada, England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Denmark, and Norway.
What can I learn about my family history from census records?
Census records are invaluable resources for learning about family members residing in a given place during history. Taken periodically, generally once every 5 to 10 years, censuses were conducted to enumerate the population of a given country to help the government make critical decisions. The information included in census records can provide a snapshot of the lives of our ancestors in that time and place: where they lived, who they were living with, their ages, their occupations, and much more.
How does it help to have a list of relatives likely to be found in the census?
The list generated by the Census Helper™ can save you the work of searching your own tree and figuring out which of your relatives may have been living in the United States in a given year. This will allow you to approach the 1950 Census, and all other supported censuses, in a systematic and focused manner.
Accessing the Census Helper™
The Census Helper™ tool is completely free to use, whether you already have a tree on MyHeritage or not.
If you don’t yet have a tree on MyHeritage, you can upload your tree as a GEDCOM to MyHeritage. Simply export your tree as a GEDCOM file from the software or service you used to build it, visit myheritage.com/census-helper, and follow the instructions to upload your tree and create a free account on MyHeritage. Once your tree has been imported, Census Helper™ will start scanning it and generating results.
If you already have a tree on MyHeritage, you can access the Census Helper™ under the “Research” tab in the navigation bar.
Once you select Census Helper™, the tool will immediately get to work scanning your tree and generating results.
Reviewing your list
The list generated by Census Helper™ contains each person’s name, profile photo, relationship to you, years of birth and death if applicable, and age in 1950 (or the year of the census you’re focusing on). You will also find any additional life facts that you have for this person in your tree.
Click the relationship, underlined with a dotted line, to see a relationship chart detailing the relationship path between you and this person.
On the top left side of the list, you’ll find the total number of people listed, and an option to display an expanded list of lower-confidence results. This will include people who are less likely to be found in the census, but still might have been included.
To generate a list for a different census, click the title of the census at the top of the page. You can scroll through the list to find the census you’re looking for, or enter the name of the census in the search bar.
On the right side of each listing, you’ll find an orange “Research” button. Clicking this will run a search for this person in the relevant census collection using the details in your tree.
Click the 3 dots next to the “Research” button and select “View his/her tree” to view this person in the context of your tree, or “View profile” to go to this person’s profile.
Once you have researched someone in the list, their name will be slightly grayed out. You will also see an icon indicating whether a Record Match was found for a person in the 1950 Census (and you’ve confirmed it), and whether you’ve saved a record for that individual from the 1950 Census collection. These indications will help you keep track of your progress, avoid repetition, and ensure that your research has been systematic and thorough.
Sorting and filtering
You can filter your results by the first letter of married or maiden last names. Click the “Filter” button and select the letter you wish to filter for.
The sort option offers the ability to sort by date added to the family tree, your relationship to the individual, their age in the year the census was taken, or by their last name (maiden name for women).
You can export your list as a spreadsheet for further reference by clicking the download button on the upper right corner of the list.
You can also refresh the list by clicking the refresh button right next to it. This will run a new scan of your tree, and is particularly useful if you have added more information to your tree since the last time you ran the Census Helper™.
If you have multiple trees, you can toggle between them by clicking your family tree name above the download and refresh buttons and selecting the tree you wish to work with from the drop-down menu.
More census research resources
Be sure to visit MyHeritage’s U.S. Census hub for more information and resources on researching your family in the U.S. Census.
You can also learn more in the following Knowledge Base resources:
- How to Search U.S. Census Records on MyHeritage: short how-to video
- Getting the Most Out of Census Record: article by Thomas MacEntee
- The U.S. Census: Tracing Your Family in Census Records: article by Daniel Horowitz
- Using MyHeritage to Prepare to Rock the 1950 U.S. Census: webinar with Lisa Alzo