On April 1, 2022 the 1950 U.S. Census was released and Ancestry® has been working around the clock to create over 150 million searchable records, state-by-state using our new AI handwriting recognition technology. We are excited to announce that just 9 days later, all states have been processed - the next step in enabling users to find relatives and more detailed information, faster than ever before. When Ancestry created a similar index in 2012 for the 1940 U.S. Census, the manual transcription process took over nine months.


The work Ancestry teams did to train the AI has produced incredible results, transcribing every field of information on the census form to create a searchable index. Before we release each state index, we’ve partnered with FamilySearch volunteers to evaluate the handwriting recognition extraction and ensure a complete and accurate index.  This dedicated community of volunteers has been amazed at the quality of the index they are reviewing. 


“The volunteers working on the project have been amazed at the remarkable quality of the handwriting recognition technology from Ancestry, even with names that are difficult for humans to decipher. Many people have suggested that the automated indexing was able to interpret writing that they may have missed or indexed incorrectly. While the automated process can’t account for every anomaly on the forms, the volunteers working on the project have been impressed by its overall quality and accuracy.”


 - Jim Ericson, FamilySearch Marketing Manager for Europe and North America


Ancestry developed machine learning to power its proprietary AI Handwriting Recognition technology to make all of the fields of these records searchable, rather than just names–enabling anyone to quickly and more accurately find family members. For example, someone looking for a frequently used name like John Smith may see thousands of names, making it difficult to know which one is their ancestor. The Ancestry AI powered index of all of the fields can help you better pinpoint specific people to reduce the time it takes to make discoveries. 


Help Review Your State Index

It’s easy to volunteer. You can do it at your own pace and whenever you have some free time. If you would like to volunteer to help your state become available faster, please visit familysearch.org/1950Census to learn more. 


Follow Along On Our 1950 US Census Progress 

Join our weekly YouTube live episode with Ancestry Corporate Genealogist Crista Cowan for the latest updates on the 1950 U.S. Census, broadcasting each Wednesday at 10 am (PT) / 1 pm (ET). Watch episode 1 today! And don’t forget to follow us for additional updates on FacebookInstagramTikTok and Twitter.