1950 census

On April 1, 2022, images of the 1950 U.S. Federal Census will be released for the first time. Unlike previous census years, these records will be available as free digital images.

Upon its release, the 1950 U.S. Census Community Project, a joint initiative between FamilySearch, Ancestry, and other leading genealogy societies and organizations, will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and to create a comprehensive index that will be searchable online.

These new records will introduce us to the 40,000,000 people born during this era of baby boomers. Many people alive today will find themselves in the census. Others will be able to readily connect with relatives they knew personally or through family stories.

How You Can Help

Will you consider the 1950 US Census Community Project when choosing your next service activity?

Supported by genealogy giants Ancestry and FamilySearch, along with local and national genealogy and historical organizations, this project will rally hundreds of thousands of volunteers to publish a high-quality, searchable online index of every name in the census.

Rather than starting from scratch, volunteers will review Ancestry’s computer-generated index using groundbreaking handwriting recognition and cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies. This human review will verify that the data is accurate and complete. Volunteers can visit  FamilySearch.org/1950census to review their own family’s information and then review other records to refine the index before publication.

Once the census index is reviewed, researchers, family historians, and anyone else curious about their own family’s story will have access. Finding your parents, grandparents, or even aunts and uncles in the records is the key to unlocking their stories.

“Once you’ve discovered someone in the 1950 census, you can use that information to find that person’s parents in the 1940 U.S. census index, which is already published on multiple websites. You can then continue with 1930, 1920, and so on. You can even dive all the way back to the very first census taken in 1790. Right from your own computer or other device, you’ve traced your heritage back a century or more. Imagine uncovering information that shows your family’s roots are as old as America,” said David Rencher, Chief Genealogy Officer for FamilySearch.

The 1950 census provides a snapshot of more than 150 million people living in the United States at the time. In addition to name, age, gender, race, education, and place of birth, census takers also asked individuals for their level of education, occupation, and income. This historic census comes a few years after America had returned to work following World War II and just months before America would enter the Korean War. Many people in the 1950 census had lived through the flu pandemic of 1918, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. They had witnessed the birth of radio and television, as well as the devastation of the atomic bomb.

Together with the earlier census indexes (1790 to 1940) already available online, it will soon be easier than ever for family historians to extend their genealogical trees well beyond their memories. Over the next decade, the 1950 U.S. census index will easily become the most searched online database.

For more information and to participate, go to FamilySearch.org/1950census. You can soon be a valuable contributor to this exciting national service project.



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