Wednesday, April 6, 2022

FamilySearch: Volunteers Gear Up to Make History with 1950 US Census Community Project

I received this from FamilySearch today:


 Volunteers Gear Up to Make History with 

1950 US Census Community Project 

Crowdsourcing Effort Will Help Make Census Search

Experience More Accurate and Available Sooner


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Description automatically generatedSALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, 6 April 2022—The biggest thing in family history in 2022 is here, and thousands of volunteers are geared up to stake their claim to a piece of history. The 1950 US Census, containing the records of 150 million Americans living in the United States in 1950, has been archived for 72 years in accordance with US laws. On Friday, April 1, 2022, the digital images of the Census pages were released to the public, and now thousands of online volunteers are helping to make a computer-generated index of the census highly searchable and accurate for everyone. Find out more at 1950 US Census Community Project.

Unlike releases of previous US Census records, the first transcription or indexing pass for the 1950 is being done by computers, not humans. In the past 10 years, computer technology, including artificial intelligence, has advanced to the point where computers are now able to “read” handwriting with a high degree of accuracy—as much as 80%. Still, when it comes to searching for ancestors, an 80% result is insufficient.

“When searching for your ancestors, you want as close to 100% accuracy as you can get with a searchable index,” said Jim Ericson, FamilySearch marketing manager for the initiative. “This is why we need thousands of human volunteers who can lend their intelligence and time to improving the accuracy of these published records. Doing so will enable family historians to experience high success rates in discovering their ancestors in the 1950 US Census.”

How to Get Involved

To participate, all that online volunteers need is a smart phone or web-enabled device like a laptop or computer. Volunteers wanting to make their mark on history can help by reviewing the computer-transcribed census information online, using a simple mobile app or web feature (learn more or get involved at The technology engages volunteers by letting them look at highlighted snippets of information from the original handwritten images of the census so volunteers can correct or approve the computer’s work. Each activity only takes a few minutes and is self-explanatory. What’s more, individuals can request to work on specific locations (state and county) and surnames.

Reviewing the census information is available in 3 different activities: Name Review, Family Review, and Header Review.

1. Name Review

This activity presents a single name at a time for the volunteer to check for accuracy. If it matches, click Match. If it doesn’t, click Edit, and fix the spelling to match the name on the image. If you’re not sure, click Unsure. Name Review will be released first and will be available in both the FamilySearch Get Involved mobile app (Download from the App Store for Android or IOS) and at

2. Family Review

Family Review is the main activity for reviewing the census. You will be shown an individual “head of household” and then instructed to mark who is in that household. You will then compare each field on the image to the index to verify that they match. If the computer got it wrong, you can correct the index.

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3. Header Review

In this activity, you will review the information at the top of the census page and compare it to the index below, again fixing what doesn’t match.

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For the 1950 Census Community Project, the machine-generated index is being produced by the handwriting recognition artificial intelligence of The crowdsourcing technology allowing volunteers to refine the machine index is FamilySearch Get Involved. As states are completed, they will be fully searchable at and

If you’re interested in participating, go to for more information or to start helping.

Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

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