NARA released the 1950 population census schedules for researcher use on April 1, 2022, at https://1950census.archives.gov.  This is the 60th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.  All 1950 census blog posts are subject to revision if we later determine that our information and analysis was in error.  This blog post was last updated on June 6, 2022.

The notations "Persons Transcribed from ICRs" or "Persons Transcribed from ICRs and MPFs" are often written on the final page(s) of most Enumeration Districts.  You'll notice that the handwriting is different from the enumerator's handwriting and often in much lighter ink.  After this notation is one or more individuals with their information.  In addition, "Not Assigned to Dwelling Unit" - which is often written as "Not Assigned to D.U." - may also be indicated.

ICR - Individual Census Report

The Form P2, Individual Census Report - abbreviated as "ICR" - was filled out by people who were traveling or on military bases See 1950 Census:  T-Nights, April 11 and 13, 1950 for more information about travelers and 1950 Census:  Enumeration of U.S. Coast Guard Personnel as an example of military enumeration.  In addition, some enumerators noted on the standard Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing, that ICRs had been left for members of an absent household to fill out upon their return.  Sometimes the enumerator was able to obtain the ICRs from the household and then transcribe the information onto sheets numbered 71 and higher.  In other cases, the individuals may have mailed the ICRs to the Census Bureau whose clerks added the information later.

MPF - Missed Person Form

The "Missed Person Form" was the Census Bureau's last attempt - in May 1950 - to try to reach people who had not been counted.  These were often published in newspapers, such as the Nome (Alaska) Nugget, Friday, May 12, 1950, page 4, shown below.

Missed Person Form, Nome (Alaska) Nugget, Friday, May 12, 1950, page 4
   Missed Person Form, Nome (Alaska) Nugget, Friday, May 12, 1950, page 4

ICR and MPF Information on the Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing

Now that we've discussed how ICRs and MPF were created, let's see how the information from these forms were annotated onto the standard Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and HousingThese persons were added either at a district census office or possibly in Washington, DC.  The ICRs and MPFs were destroyed sometime after the information was added to the Form P1.  Let's consider an example from Enumeration District 92-200, in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Detail from 1950 Census, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, ED 92-200, Sheet 75, indicated "Persons transcribed from ICRs & Missed Persons Forms" and "Persons Not Assigned to Dwelling Units" - Image processing software has been used to make the handwriting darker than it appears in the original image.
Detail from 1950 Census, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, ED 92-200, Sheet 75, indicated "Persons transcribed from ICRs & Missed Persons Forms" and "Persons Not Assigned to Dwelling Units" - Image processing software has been used to make the handwriting darker than it appears in the original image.

In the far left margin there will be various unknown annotations. Then we see the person's address.  Sometimes the address was not written down.  In the above image (click on it for an enlarged view), we see:

  • Line 7:  August J. Vana was associated with the dwelling whose serial number was 41 - a number sequentially assigned by the enumerator.  On Sheet 4 in the same Enumeration District we find that serial number 41 was 4210 Trowbridge Ave.  No one was at home at the enumerator's first visit, but the occupants were later enumerated on Sheet 71, lines 22, 23, 24, and 25:  Walter F. and Mae L. Ventker and Edward H. and Laura C. Van Bergen.  There is no indication in their entries that anyone in their household (or building) is missing, so this suggests that we should all check the ICR and MPF listings for the ED to see if there was an additional person associated with a dwelling of interest.  Mr. Vana's relationship to the head of household is 7 (annotated in Column A), which equals "other relative of household head," as discussed later in this blog post.
  • Lines 8 to 10:  William H., Ruth, and Penelope Winters resided at 3500 W. 39th Place.  The "901" number is an assigned artificial dwelling serial number.  (Same for numbers 902 and higher.)
  • Line 12:  Donald Cross resided at 3951 Trowbridge.  Scrolling through the Enumeration District pages, we see all even-numbered addresses for Trowbridge Avenue.  Typically, street addresses are all even on one side of the street and all odd on the other side of the street.  Comparison to a modern online map indicates that 3951 Trowbridge is, in fact, on the south side of Trowbridge Avenue, in the block that includes W. 41st Pl., Atticus Ct., and W. 39th St.  Referring to the 1950 Census ED maps for Cleveland, we see that 3951 Trowbridge is in "block 18" of Enumeration District 92-220. 
Detail from Enumeration District Map showing EDs 200 and 220, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Detail from Enumeration District Map showing EDs 200 and 220, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

So.... why is Donald Cross included in ED 92-200 instead of 92-220? The Individual Census Report included a box for the enumerator to indicate the address and Enumeration District and an opportunity for the individual to indicate whether he or she lived somewhere else.  The Census Bureau had the means to determine the Enumeration District to which the address should be allocated.  At this time, this writer's best guess is that the default was to go with the Enumeration District indicated by the enumerator if the name (or surname) and address could not be matched to another dwelling on the P1 forms for that Enumeration District.  There is one other clue that may help a researcher interested in this person:  Donald Cross's relationship status to the head of his unknown household is 3 (annotated in Column A), which equals child, as discussed next in this blog post.

Detail from Form  P2, Individual Census Report - showing box for Enumerator to Indicate state, county, city or town, house number and street, and Enumeration District NumberDetail from Form  P2, Individual Census Report - showing box for the Person to Indicate state, county, city or town, house number and street, of usual residence
Detail from Form  P2, Individual Census Report - showing box for Enumerator to Indicate state, county, city or town, house number and street, and Enumeration District NumberDetail from Form  P2, Individual Census Report - showing box for the Person to Indicate state, county, city or town, house number and street, of usual residence

Next, we see that the clerks who added ICR information inserted a code instead of words in some of the columns.  Some of these codes are shown in Form 17P-255, 1950 Census of Population and Housing Transcription Instructions for Nonresident Individual Census Reports, Missed Persons Forms, [and] Confidential Income Reports (National Archives Identifier 195980257) and other coding manuals.  Examples:

  • Column A ("Leave Blank") has been annotated with relationship codes:
    • 1 = Head
    • 2 = Wife
    • 3 = Child
    • 4 = Child-in-law
    • 5 = Grandchild
    • 6 = Parent
    • 7 = Other Relative
    • 8 = Employee and members of employee's family
    • 9 = Other nonrelative.
  • Column 9, Race (Continental United States):
    • 0 = White - People with Spanish surnames in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas
    • 1 = White
    • 2 = Negro [sic]
    • 3 = American Indian
    • 4 = Japanese
    • 5 = Chinese
    • 6 = Filipino
    • 7 = Asiatic Indian, Korean, Eskimo, Malayan, Polynesian, Hawaiian, and "Mixed Stock" races in selected countries
    • Race codes in Hawaii were:  Caucasian 1; Negro, 2; Hawaiian, 3; Japanese, 4; Chinese, 5; Filipino, 6; Korean, 7; Puerto Rico, 8; and Other, 9.
  • Column 10, Sex:
    • 1 = Male
    • 2 = Female
  • Column 12, Marital Status:
    • 1 = Married
    • 2 = Widowed
    • 3 = Divorced
    • 4 = Separated
    • 5 = Never married
    • 6 = Married, on sample line, spouse present (Go see answers to sample questions at the bottom of the page)
    • 7 = Married, on sample line, spouse absent (Go see answers to sample questions at the bottom of the page)
  • Column 15, Employment Status:
    • 1 = I worked at a job, or in my business or profession, or on a farm.
    • 2 = I did housework in my own home.
    • 3 = I am permanently unable to work.
    • 4 = None of the above applies to me.
  • Column 17, Employment Status:
    • 1 = I was looking for work.
  • Column 18, Employment Status:
    • 1 = I had a job, profession, or business from which I was temporarily absent.
  • Column 20a, 20b, 20c, relate to occupation and industry.  These are often left blank.  Instead, the occupation and industry codes were inserted in Column C at the far right side of the form.  These codes can easily be found at:
  • Column 26, Highest Grade of School Attended
    • 00 = "I have never attended school"
    • 11 = Kindergarten
    • 21 = 1st Grade
    • 22 = 2nd Grade
    • 23 = 3rd Grade
    • 24 = 4th Grade
    • 25 = 5th Grade
    • 26  = 6th Grade
    • 27 = 7th Grade
    • 28 = 8th Grade
    • 29 = 9th Grade
    • 20 = 10th Grade
    • 2X = 11th Grade
    • 2V = 12th Grade
    • 31 = 1st year of college or professional school
    • 32 = 2nd year of college or professional school
    • 33 = 3rd year of college or professional school
    • 34 = 4th year of college or professional school
    • 35 = 5th year (or more) of college or professional school
  • Column 30, How many weeks worked in 1949?
    • Blank or V V = Not reported
  • Column 31a, 31b, 31c - Person's Income
    • Loss = V0
    • None  = 0
    • $1 to 99 = V1
    • $100 to $199 = 01
    • $200 to $299 = 02
    • $300 to $399 = 03
    • $400 to $499 = 04
    • and so forth to
    • $900 to $999 = 09
    • $1000 to 1099 = 10
    • and so forth to
    • $9900 to $9999 = 99
    • $10,000 or more = 9V
    • Not reported, don't know, refused, not applicable, illegible  = V V
  • Column F (Leave Blank) - This is the total of 31a, 31b, 31c
    • This is the total of columns 31a, 31b, 31c added together and may be expressed as a code (see above for Columns 31a, 31b, 31c)
    • Not reported, don't know, refused, not applicable, illegible  = V V
  • Column 32a, 32b, 32c - Household Income - Same as Columns 31a, 31b, 31c (above)
  • Column G
    • This is the total of columns 32a, 32b, 32c added together and may be expressed as a code (see above for Columns 31a, 31b, 31c). 
    • Exception:  If the person was the Head of Household, this number will be the total of 31a, 31b, 31c, 32a, 32b, and 32c.
    • Not reported, don't know, refused, not applicable, illegible  = V V

Additional Resources

To learn more about the ICR and MPF transcription process, see Form 17P-255, 1950 Census of Population and Housing Transcription Instructions for Nonresident Individual Census Reports, Missed Persons Forms, [and] Confidential Income Reports.

What Should You Do When You Find a Person Transcribed from an ICR, MPF, or Not Assigned to a Dwelling Unit?

I recommend that you analyze each component of their entry just as I have done here, considering these questions:

(1)  Can you find the serial number (column 3) or address (columns 1-2) on another page in the Enumeration District (ED)?
(2)  Does the entry on that other page refer to a second entry on Sheet 71 or higher?
(3)  If not assigned to a dwelling unit, does that address belong to this ED or a different one?
(4)  Is there a household or individual with the same (or similar) name in this ED (or the alternative ED identified in step 3)?
(5)  Translate the code numbers to words for the person's relationship to head of household (Column A), race (Column 9), sex (Column 10), martial status (Column 12), and occupation and industry (Column C).
(6)  What is the person's age (Column 11)?

If you take these steps, I think you will have learned as much as you can about that person from this unusual census record.

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Updated June 6, 2022.