News from the Reference Desk Category: History

1950 Census Records Coming Soon!

After a 72 year waiting period, the personal records from the 1950 Census will be made available online to researchers by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on April 1, 2022. The records will also be available at the major genealogy online resources including Ancestry.com, Family Search, and My Heritage. The National Archives’ 1950 Census page is now live and has a lot of information to help you prepare for the actual release of the records. NARA will be using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the host for the digitized records. AWS is using optical character recognition (OCR) technology to digitally index the records. However, this indexing will not be 100% accurate so NARA is seeking volunteers to help submit name updates. Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will also be using similar technology to create initial automated indexes. FamilySearch is asking for volunteer indexers as well. If you are interested in helping with this project, please go to their 1950 Census website.

You will also be able to search the 1950 Census by location. To do this you will need to know the Enumeration District (ED) number. The enumeration district was an area that could be canvassed by a census taker within a certain time period. It is possible to get an enumeration district number if you know a family’s address in 1950. Once you have an address you can go to the Unified 1950 Census ED Finder website prepared by Stephen Morse. At this site, you can enter the city, state, and county of the location you are seeking and add the address. You will be able to narrow the number of ED districts that appear by adding the cross streets of the location. Armed with the ED number you will be able to go to the 1950 Census records and just search in this enumeration district. This process is more time-consuming than searching by name but the option will be helpful especially if your family’s record does not appear using the name search function.

In 1950 the Mount Prospect area was more rural than it is today with a population of just 4,009. There were two enumeration districts covering this area. The portion of Mount Prospect which was in Elk Grove Township (south of Central Road) was in ED 16-257 and 16-258. The portion of the village in Wheeling Township (north of Central Road) was in ED 16-259. If you have relatives who lived in Mount Prospect then and whose records do not come up by the name search, you can look through the listings in these enumeration districts.

There are several videos on YouTube which discuss the 1950 Census and how to search it. One of them was prepared by Stephen Morse. In this video Morse discusses the 1950 Census and the location search process in depth.

If you would like some assistance in preparing for the release of these records or help searching the 1950 census once it is released, please contact genealogy librarian Anne Shaughnessy to set up a reference appointment.

1950 Census Enumeration District map showing Mount Prospect north of Central Road

Preservation Week 2021

vintage and antique photos and docuomentsAn initiative of Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures which is a division of the American Library Association, Preservation Week (April 25-May 1, 2021) highlights what libraries and individuals can do to preserve our personal and shared collections. The American Library Association webpage for this event guidelines for how to preserve items in personal collections (photographs, audio recordings, films, textiles) and webinars which give additional information about preservation issues. The University of Illinois Library also has information and webinar links on its Preservation webpage.

The Mount Prospect Public Library has several books in its collection which can help individuals care for their own treasures. Two of these are An Ounce of Preservation by Craig A. Tuttle and Windows on the Past: Identifying, Dating and Preserving Photographs by Diane V. Gagel.

If you would like to contact a professional conservator for advice about an item in your personal collection, check out the Find a Conservator Portal offered by the American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works.

Pandemic Moments 2020 Project Update

2020 Pandemic Moments in Mount ProspectA few months ago the Mount Prospect Historical Society along with the Mount Prospect Public Library launched a community history project focused on the experiences of residents during this pandemic.  To see what kinds of things can be included check out two of the submissions.  One is from a furloughed soccer player while the other explores the experiences of a college student. Please do not hesitate to share your own stories; each one adds a unique touch to the history of our community. You might even receive a gift certificate for Capannari Ice Cream! For more information about how to contribute to the project, please go to the Pandemic 2020 Moments page of the Mount Prospect Historical Society website.

2020 Pandemic Moments History Project

2020 Pandemic Moments in Mount Prospect

The Mount Prospect Historical Society in partnership with the Mount Prospect Public Library has launched a new community project. Residents and others affiliated with Mount Prospect are asked to share photos and videos and to write essays, impressions and even poems to help others among us put this experience into a larger context and provide those who come after us with a snapshot of what life has been like in Mount Prospect during this COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about this project and how to share your experiences, please see this page on the Mount Prospect Historical Society web site.

National Geographic History

national geographic magazine coverNational Geographic History magazine is coming to our subscription of the National Geographic Virtual Library which contains every page of every issue ever of National Geographic & National Geographic Travel. As of the time of publishing this blog post, History is not yet part of the browse function but will show up in search results. National Geographic Travel magazine will cease to publish at the end of this year but the issues we have already will not vanish from the Virtual Library.