The 1950 Census Is Out. And It Really Is A BIG Deal!

genie observations Apr 01, 2022

Genies... One of the advantages of living in the Mountain Time Zone is that midnight Eastern Time comes here at 10pm. And last night I was able, with no sleep deprivation at all, to be online when the National Archives released the 1950 Census after 72 years! Using Ancestry's 1950 Census District Finder tool, I made my first find within four minutes. Wow!  However, as NARA's images were rather fuzzy, I decided to wait until morning knowing that on Ancestry, we would certainly have clearer views. They did not disappoint. It's taking time for all the state images to be downloaded, but they're rolling out quickly.

If you're just getting started in genealogy, this release is a huge help. For people born before 1975, this is likely the first census in which parents can be found. And for people born before 2000, it's the first census in which grandparents can likely be found. 

Ancestry did a fascinating study and found that more than half of Americans cannot name all four of their grandparents. I would never have thought that. Even in family-history-crazy Salt Lake City, 44% could not name all four grandparents!

Ancestry is unveiling a slate of exclusive features to power discoveries with little research, including:

  • A new Record Tour feature offering a step-by-step guided experience, showing what's in each census record and what it means.
  • New proprietary AI handwriting recognition technology that will make all fields of the records searchable, completing in weeks what used to take months–ultimately helping people find their family members faster.
  • Short Shareable Stories, Without Any Research: Simply input a relative's name, where they might have lived, and birth year and users could get brief shareable stories about an ancestor's life at the time.  

Every time a census is released, it's a big deal. This one is even bigger considering it reflects the largest population released to date, and the technology is available to get us where we want to go faster than ever before.

Happy hunting!

Scott Fisher


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