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1950 Census records are now available; here's how to make your search successful

2020 Census Door Knockers
Posted at 7:33 AM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 07:33:39-04

The records for the 1950 U.S. Census were just released Friday morning.

The National Archives released them just after midnight on April 1, and an agreement was put in place that census records would remain private for 72 years. Those 72 years were up as of 12:01 a.m. on April 1.

To access the census data, all you have to do is go to 1950census.archives.gov.

According to the National Archives, this was the 17th decennial census of the United States.

There are also ways you can help. The National Archives is using Amazon Web Services' artificial intelligence/optical character recognition to extract handwritten names from the 1950 Census population schedules.

That AI is not 100% accurate, so the National Archives said you can submit name records to the index using a transcription tool available on the 1950 Census website. By doing that, it will help improve the accuracy of the name index.

Below are some tips from the U.S. Census Bureau when searching

1: Search for the first and last name of the head of household (plus state and county of residence if known) because the surname was written on the census form only on the line for the head of household and other persons in the household with a different surname.

2: To narrow your search to find specific records, you can select multiple filters. Or to conduct a broader search, you may choose to select one filter at a time.

3: You don't have to know the exact spelling of a person's name in order to perform a name search. Enter as much as you know. The search engine will return any close variations or matches.

4: Once you've found a record of interest, click on the buttons or links labeled "Population Schedules", "ED Maps", or "View Original ED Description" to view a digitized copy of the records.

5: Use the built-in transcription feature to correct and add names to the site's name index. Your contributions can help make the 1950 Census population schedules more discoverable for everyone.

This story was first reported by WXYZ in Detroit, Mich.