Where is President Truman's record on the 1950 Census

This is a rhetorical question as I've done much research on this.  1. President Truman, his daughter (Mary) Margaret, and his wife Bess (Elizabeth) were enumerated in the "Little White House" vacation site in Key West Florida.  That is not his usual residence.  They were enumerated by (Gertrude) Eileen Nolte.  I found easily Eileen who was the enumerator for her own district in Key West!  She is shown on press pictures writing down the Truman's answers on the regular Population Schedule, not an ICR.  It was likely a publicity stunt before the cameras, but there was information being gathered.  I searched without success for the Trumans in Florida using the state and county.  I searched through all the pages of the ED for the Little White House.  So the next thing is to find their "usual" residence.  Initially I thought it was the White House in D.C.  Doing a search for the  Trumans (Harry S.... used his middle initial) by name in DC didn't yield anything.  Looking at the White House ED (1-251) I see Margaret at the end ..... looks like her name was added from some other source with little information shown, it shows White House for her address.... and her name is lined out as is another White House person on that page!!  According to the Key West news, Margaret was asked the sample question.  No other Trumans are shown in 1-251.  However, I found out that the White House was undergoing renovation during the Truman years, and he and his family stayed at the "Truman White House" which was at Blair House.  OK.... I looked through all the sheets for the ED that has Blair house.  The Trumans are not there.  I also looked at his address in Independence MO, there is another surname at that address.  Now one would think that the easiest person to find on this census is the President of the United States?  Right?   No.  Could he have been in a witness protection program? (Just joking).  So let's see what you can do with this.  Good luck.

  • The notes on the population schedule for District of Columbia ED 1-249  sheet 2 says "Blair House (line 27) guard & usher reported instructions that all Census Information about Blair House was being taken care of at Key West. This means that no information about Trumans or servants will be given out."

    The enumeration district for the Little White House would be Florida, Monroe County, ED 44-16.

    The very first listing on the first page is "Non-Residents -  Occupied by"

    Might that be the Truman family?



  • 44-16 does not have the Trumans.  In any case that's not their "usual residence".   We know where the President was during this time.... it's not him we are looking for but the census papers and what ED they should have ended up in, and whether the census material for the Trumans has been lost.

  • My point is not that they are listed by name in 44-16, but that because it was not their "usual residence" that perhaps they are the "non-residents" noted in that district.

    At any rate, it looks to me that Truman and the Census Bureau managed to mess things up.  The Census staff in DC were pointedly informed that no information would be provided in DC.  The Census staff in Key West failed to forward the information to DC, but at the same time did not record them in Key West because it was not their "usual residence."  Speculation, but it seems to fit what you found.

  • Greetings from the Truman Library,

    Thank you for your question! Like you, we have yet to find the Trumans in the 1950 Census. President Truman, Mrs. Truman, and Margaret were all in Key West until April 10. The only person who might have been at the White House during the first part of April was Mrs. Truman's mother, Madge (Margaret) Gates Wallace. We also have yet to find the Truman Home in Independence where it ought to be in the Enumeration District, although we have found the homes of Bess's brothers and their spouses, George and May Wallace and Frank and Natalie Wallace, which are directly behind the Truman Home. We've also found the home of Mr. Truman's cousins, Nellie and Mary Ethel Noland, which are across the street from the Truman Home. The Truman Home is bounded by a large iron gate, which might have prevented a Census enumerator from coming to the Home. The only person who might have been living in the house at the time would have been Mrs. Wallace, and/or Mrs. Truman's youngest brother Fred Wallace and his family. It may be that the Trumans were enumerated on a special form or sheet, and that sheet has since been lost. It is indeed a mystery, one we did not intend to have to solve!

  • Greetings to you from Harry S Truman National Historic Site and the National Park Service. We manage the Truman Home in Independence, Missouri.

    We are experiencing the same bewilderment that you are. When April 1 came, we immediately started searching.

    The Truman Home in Independence was actually, legally, the home of Mrs. Madge Gates Wallace (she was often referred to as Mrs. D.W. Wallace, Mrs. David W. Wallace, etc. Her husband died in 1903.) Mrs. Wallace's parents, George Porterfield Gates and Elizabeth Emery Gates built the home eventually addressed as 219 North Delaware Street. Mr. Gates died in 1918, Mrs. Gates in 1924. Madge Gates Wallace bought the home from her parents' estate.

    It remained in her possession until her death in December, 1952, shortly before the end of her son-in-law's administration. Harry and Bess Truman then bought the home from the estate in an interesting arrangement.

    So, for the 1950 census, we wondered if Harry Truman would be listed as "head of household" for 219 North Delaware, with Madge Wallace as owner, with Bess Wallace Truman as resident, and, possibly, Margaret Truman, who by this time was in her professional singing career.

    But, as my esteemed colleague Tammy Williams correctly says, 219 North Delaware is not enumerated. Bess Truman's two brothers are, as are the Nolands across the street. Did Secret Service not allow 219 N Delaware to be enumerated? Not sure. Were they counted in Florida? Washington DC? We have found this to be a puzzle.

    After 16 days of digging into this, I am inclined to agree with Tammy in that there may have been a special count for the President that is either lost, or hasn't been discovered yet. I am rather astonished that no notation whatsoever of 219 North Delaware is present on this sheet. There has to be a reason. The search continues!

    1950 Census Delaware Street Independence Missouri
  • OK. Here is one riddle sort of solved, which leads to another.

    This is from the "Missouri, Jackson, 48-7" fileset. The Wallace/ Truman Home at 219 North Delaware is listed as vacant. (From 1945-1953, it was known, often, as the "Summer White House.")

    1950 Census, Independence, MO, 48-7
  • That is one major league bureaucratic snafu.  Hard to believe that the then-President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, does not appear in the 1950 US Census.  Initially, I thought it was my imagination when I tried to find him, but nope, my worse fears were confirmed with this blog.

    In addition, I live in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York, and I went through my entire hometown Richmond, Ontario County, New York.  What was very odd was the Town Supervisor, Arthur Treble, and his family was not recorded in the census.  Moreover, Philip J. Rowley, who later became Town Supervisor in 1956, and his family did not appear in the census.  One thing I know is the Rowleys had three little kids to take care of, so I fail to see how an enumerator could have possibly missed them.  Mrs. Rowley was a stay-at-home mom, with three small children to take care of while her husband was working.  Plus, he was a dear friend of my family, and it was heartbreaking they were not enumerated.