1950 US Census coming FREE to Ancestry & FamilySearch


31 March 2022
The collaborative aim of Ancestry and FamilySearch is to make the 1950 US Census available for people to search in record time and FREE.

The 1950 US Census – why it’s so important

Being infrequent (typically once a decade) and national (covering an entire population of a country), censuses spark extreme excitement among family historians worldwide. The latest census to be soon made publicly available for the United States of America is the 1950 Census. It’s being released by the National Archives (of America), launching 1 April 2022, and contains the names, ages, birthplaces, residences, and relationships of more than 150 million people in the country at the time. This is a period from which many people living today will find recent and current family members including perhaps themselves.

Ancestry will be using brand new handwriting recognition technology to speed up the census transcription and indexing process, and FamilySearch is encouraging volunteers to step and help work on the 1950 US Census records too.

The collaborative aim of Ancestry and FamilySearch is to make the 1950 US Census available for people to search in record time and FREE.

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Find family members faster thanks to new AI technology

Quite aside from actually finding family members, friends and distant kin on the census, genealogists from around the globe will also be interested in this census release due to the brand new Artificial Intelligence handwriting recognition technology has been developed for working with this census. The aim is to help to make the details for the 150 million people recorded on this census more swiftly available to the public.

From 1 April, when the original census pages are released, then the handwriting recognition technology will be put into use, transcribing the census in a matter of weeks (a task that in the past has taken years). Ancestry hope that by the summer the entire census will be searchable.

Experimenting & anticipating

To develop the AI handwriting recognition technology, Ancestry had to work with mock-ups of the 1950 US Census records (as the originals are/were not available from the National Archives (of America) until 1 April 2022). As the census collection is 70 years old, it is inevitable and anticipated that some of the pages will have suffered damage through the passage of time. Thus the technology needs to not only be able to successfully read handwriting, it also needs to be able to do so on potentially time-damaged documents. To this end the Ancestry team have put their handwriting recognition technology through its paces, simulating the appearance of old documents by burning, scrunching, walking on and driving on the mock-up pages.

How to get started searching the 1950 US Census

From 1 April 2022 Take the new Ancestry Record Tour feature - offering a step-by-step guided experience, showing what’s in each census record and what it means.

Input a relative’s name, where they might have lived, and their birth year to reveal brief shareable stories about an ancestor’s life at the time. 

Volunteers needed too

FamilySearch is also calling on volunteers to help to work on the 1950 US Census. To find out more, about how you can lend a hand, and to keep up with the latest 1950 US Census news, see:


At this link you’ll also see a video discussion between Ancestry Corporate Genealogist Crista Cowan and Stephen Valentine FamilySearch Senior Vice President Europe and North America, and they share how Ancestry and FamilySearch have been and will be collaborating to bring the 1950 US Census to family historians worldwide in super-quick time, and freely available. When volunteering it is anticipated that you can choose the geographical area that you wish to work on.

Sign up for your State

To find out when your State becomes available, see https://www.ancestry.com/c/1950-census

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