Mulligan Stew: No fooling, genealogists are giddy about this upcoming day

This year, April Fool’s Day is no joke.  

There are two monumental events happening in my life. First of all, my bonus son, Rick, turns 40 on that day.  I was 26 when I married his father and, at that time, Rick was five years old.  

Although Rick’s father and I divorced after a short, eight-year marriage, Rick never stopped being my child. Having taken him to his first day of kindergarten, and helping to host his high school graduation party in 2000, Rick was, and is, my first child.  

After he was married and announced he was going to be a father, I felt like the wind was knocked from me. It was that instant feeling of delirium that most people get when they hear they’re going to be a grandparent for the first time. And now, although his three children call me by my first name, they are my grandchildren.

The 40th birthday means, in my mind, that you are officially grown. Never you mind, 18, 21, even 30. You aren’t really grown up until you are old enough to run for president at age 35. And then, you really do need to wait until you’re 40. No president has ever been under age 40.

Anywho, I don’t anticipate that Rick will run for president. But something else is happening on his 40th birthday, something that excites a whole lot of people.

On April 1, 2022, family trees are going to be blossoming like crazy! On April 1, 2022, the 1950 U.S. Census will be released by the National Archives! If you were born on or before April 1, 1950, you will now appear in open-to-the-public census records.

Amateur genealogists like myself are so happy! That’s huge! 

According to rules of the U.S. government, 72 years (the average lifespan) must pass before census records are released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration. The National Archives released the 1930 records in April 2002 and most recently, the 1940 records were released April 2, 2012. 

Most importantly for me is that my Uncle Louie and Aunt Beverly, the youngest children in their respective families, will finally appear in Census Records. Bev was born five months after the 1940 census was taken, and Louie, a year later.   

Official Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.  This census will be our first peek at the first four years of Boomers. Never before have we seen census statistics about the families of Presidents Joe Biden, Donald Trump, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, all of whom were born in the 1940s.  

Barack Obama’s census records are protected for another 10 years as he was born in 1961. Uh oh. That means I, too, will appear in the next set of census records to be released in 2032.  By then, I’ll be old and won’t care.

It’s a pipe dream to wish the 1890 U.S. Census records could ever be released. They were heavily damaged in a fire on Jan. 10, 1921, and remain incomplete 100 years later. has a countdown clock running on its website until the records are unsealed. Then we will have even more names to laugh at in our family tree. Can names really be funnier than Fannie Whipskin and Mordecai Mudkins Mullins?