In case you haven’t heard (not sure how you missed the news!), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is releasing the 1950 U.S. Census at midnight on 01 Apr 2022. NARA will provide free online access to the population schedules for U.S. states and territories, enumeration district maps, and enumeration district descriptions.
According to NARA’s website, they used Amazon Web Services’ artificial intelligence / optical character recognition (AI/OCR) Textract tool to extract the handwritten names from the digitized population schedules. Because the initial name index is built on optical character recognition (OCR) technology, it will not be 100-percent accurate. NARA, FamilySearch, Ancestry, and a host of others are calling for eager volunteers to help “check and correct” the census — not transcribe names like we’ve done in the past. FamilySearch published a great “how-to” video during RootsTech on how to get involved in their effort. The video is available here.
Even though an index won’t be available for a while (hopefully a short while), you can still find your people (or maybe even yourself!). Steve Morse has published an excellent article on getting ready, including how to find your all-important enumeration district.
FamilyTree University is sponsoring a free interactive webinar called “Don’t Be Square — Discover Your Family in the 1950 Census.” Thursday, April 7 at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The instructor will be Jim Ericson who manages the marketing efforts of FamilySearch in Europe and North America. Click here to sign up!
We live in a remarkable time! New technologies and process innovations will unlock billions of records for more people than ever. These records can help us to learn and discover information about our ancestors.
The innovations that Ancestry and FamilySearch are applying create a searchable index of the 1950 US Census. They also provide us a glimpse into the future of records publication and accessibility.
The creation of automated indexes using artificial intelligence and handwriting recognition technology—combined with volunteer crowdsourcing to review and improve the results—will usher in a new age of genealogical discovery.
What you’ll learn:
- What has happened since the 1950 census was released by NARA on April 1st?
- Why are Ancestry and FamilySearch working together to create a separate index?
- How will the index created by Ancestry and FamilySearch be made available?
- How can you participate in allowing everyone to experience this unique piece of history?
Click here to sign up!