More on the free 1950 census name index from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). I posted a few days ago about the name index NARA is releasing on April 1, along with the digitized census schedules.

free 1950 census name index census taker

A census enumerator visits a Virginia household for the 1950 census. (NARA ARC Identifier 207899869)

A NARA public affairs officer got in touch in response. The 1950 census name index is created by the National Archives, so it will stay free. NARA writes:

We are very excited for the 1950 Census launch and appreciate your enthusiasm, too!

The name index will be generated by the National Archives (NARA), and the name index is completely NARA’s. We think of the index that we will make available on April 1 as a first draft. We are very excited to have the public’s help on refining the name index.

The name index and all of the digital copies of the census records will be on our website and will remain free to the public to use.

We also have a free bulk download option of the digital copies of the census records….  You’ll be able to access the bulk download, the name index, and the census records themselves from our website for free:

For email updates on the census release, subscribe here:…

Creating the Free 1950 Census Name Index

How has NARA been able to create this index and digitize at the same time?

Archivists are deploying artificial intelligence (AI) and optical handwriting recognition tools. On April 1, NARA will also launch a new transcription tool to the public. Volunteers (i.e., genealogists still up at 2 a.m. searching!) will be able to correct AI-created entries. This improves the accuracy of the free 1950 census index. Kudos to NARA for increasing access to digitized records and make searches more accurate for researchers.