On April 1, the 1950 Census release includes name index. The good news comes from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). No fooling, despite the date!
As I announced in my February newsletter, NARA created a name index using artificial intelligence (AI) and optical handwriting recognition. This is a BIG advance on census usability for genealogists.
About the 1950 Index
A National Archives staff member states, “The National Archives developed a transcription tool to enable users to submit name updates [to the AI index]. This will allow other users to find specific names more easily, and it provides an opportunity for the public to help the agency share these records with the world.”
“’The OCR being used to transcribe the handwritten names from the census rolls is about as good as the human eye,’” said Project Management Director Rodney Payne. “Some of the pages are legible, and others are difficult to decipher.”
Because the initial name index is built on optical character recognition (OCR) technology, it will contain errors. National Archives officials are providing genealogists with a transcription tool to update and correct this index.
NARA Video on the 1950 Census Release
What’s New in the 1950 Census Release
1950 Census release will include for the first time:
- optical character recognition/artificial intelligence (OCR/AI) for handwriting recognition
- transcription tool for users to improve the name index
- ability to download the entire census in bulk
- release of a federal census during a pandemic
- free NARA webinar series on using 1950 CensusNational Archives Genealogy Webinar Series Schedule
March 2, 1 p.m. ET Overview of What’s on the 1950 Census March 16, 1 p.m. ET Mapping the 1950 Census: Census Enumeration District Maps at the National Archives March 30, 1 p.m. ET The 1950 Census Website: Design, Development, and Features to Expect April 27, 1 p.m. ET The Story of the 1950 Census P8 Indian Reservation Schedule May 11, 1 p.m. ET From Parchments to Printouts: History of the Census from 1790 to 1950 May 18, 1 p.m. ET History of Census Records and the National Archives May 25, 1 p.m. ET Historic Census Bureau Sources for Filipino, Guamanian and Chamorro, American Samoan, and Native Hawaiian Research
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