Happy Pride Month Everyone!!

This is a month to honor all LGBTQ+ folk past, present, and future. As genealogists and family historians when we come across someone in our trees that raises our rainbow flag/gaydar, then we should pay attention to that tingling, and follow it through. This LGBTQ Genealogy Blog Series has been all about that.

Here is a good example that brings together ideas on census records (part 5), the use of the role ‘partner’ (part 6) in the census, and gay neighborhoods (part 15).

On this one page from the 1950 census, we find three same-sex couples living together.

In lines 4-5, we find Robert K. Bellamy, age 33, never married, from Arizona, Art Director, as the Head of House. His partner was Robert Wardlow, age 26, never married, from New Jersey, Private Secretary.

1950 Couple 1

In lines 15-16, we find Helen M. Foster, age 50, never married, from Pennsylvania as the Head of House. Her partner was Angelyn Collier, age 63, widowed, from Ohio.

1950 Couple 2

In lines 20-21, we find Valerie Harvey, age 38, never married, Australia as the Head of House. Her partner was Constance O. Magan, age 31, never married, from Georgia.

1950 Couple 3

These are three Head / Partner relationships enumerated on one page of the 1950 census. That page is from Greenwich Village, Manhattan, a well-known gay neighborhood. Five of these six people had never married. I see three queer couples here. These are not just roommates or lodgers sharing the cost of rent. The next step would be to find other documents showing that these couples shared a life together – perhaps obituaries, gravestones, newspaper articles, probate records, or property records.

LGBTQ people have always been here and always will be. As family historians we want to invite them back into our family trees and tell their stories honestly and truthfully, giving them a voice they may not have had during their time on Earth.

1950 Census page for Greenwich Village, Manhattan
1950 U.S. census, New York, New York, pop. sch., New York (Manhattan, Greenwich Village), ED 31-81, page 16; digital images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/62308/ :  28 May 2022); NARA microfilm RG 29.