NARA expects to digitally release the 1950 population census schedules for researcher use on April 1, 2022, which is 72 years after the official 1950 census day.  This is the 25th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

The Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) closely cooperated in the taking of the 1950 census on Indian Reservations.  BIA personnel trained and assisted enumerators, checked the accuracy of Enumeration District (ED) maps, and helped devise the supplemental census schedule, Form P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, shown below:

 

Form P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, 1950 Census of Population and Housing

Form P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, 1950 Census of Population and Housing

 

Native Americans living on reservations were first enumerated on the standard form used in most of the United States:  Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing.  The enumerator then filled out the Form P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, which was a one-sided, one-page form.  At the top of the P8 form, the enumerator wrote the following information:

 

  • State
  • County
  • Reservation name
  • Enumeration District (ED) number
  • Dwelling unit serial number [number of house in order of visitation]
  • Agriculture questionnaire number [these no longer exist]
  • Type of house construction (check one):  Frame, Log, Stone or Brick, Tent, Brush, Mud or Adobe, Other (specify)
  • Type of floor construction (check one):  Earth, Wood, Stone or Cement, Other (specify)

 

Next, the enumerator wrote the person’s name as recorded on the Form P1, as well as the sheet (page) and line number on which the person was recorded in the ED specified above.   The following additional information was then requested:

 

  • Is he [she] known by any other name?

  • To what tribe does he [she] belong?

  • To what clan does he [she] belong?

  • Degree of Indian blood (check one):  full, 1/2, 1/4, or less than 1/4 degree

  • Does he [she] read, write or speak English? (yes/no)

  • Does he [she] read, write or speak any other language? (yes/no)

  • In 1949, did he [she] attend or participate in any native Indian ceremonies?

 

The Form P8 was intended to be a household form with lines for 10 persons, so each sheet should only contain one household.  If more than one sheet was required, the enumerator would check the box at the bottom next to the words “Household continued on second sheet.”

 

There are approximately 33,000 Forms P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, and about one percent have information recorded on the reverse side.  The 1950 census release on April 1, 2022, will include digital images of these records.

 

Information on cooperation between the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Indian Affairs can be found in these digitized administrative files in Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

 

  • "Memorandum from John R. Nichols, Commissioner, Bureau of Indian Affairs, to Area Directors, Superintendents, and Other Indian Service Officials, Subject: 1950 Census Training Program for Indian Reservations, with Accompanying Materials from the Bureau of the Census" (National Archives Identifier 200281085) provides information for training enumerators.
  • "File 16014-1949-034" (National Archives Identifier 202807689) discusses the 1950 census as well as the BIA’s own Indian census records.

 

 

 

 

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