Chilton County Historical Society 1950 US Census
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1950 U. S. Federal Census

Friday, April 1, 2022, the 1950 U. S. Federal Census was released to the public, 72 years after it was taken, as allowed by law.

The National Archives (NARA) released scans of all the images Friday, as well as a computer generated index based on Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of the cursive handwriting - a technology I didn't even know existed! The results are very impressive, however, there are many many errors, as you can imagine.

As soon as they were made public, Ancestry and Family Search were ready to take the scans and do further work on them. They have teamed together and their project is under way to index the entire census, 150 million people - a MAJOR undertaking. As I understand it, Ancestry is processing the entire set of census pages using their OCR technology, state by state. As the states are OCR'd, volunteers, in a huge "crowdsourcing" effort based out of, are reviewing the machine generated names and editing them. As that review progresses, a very good name index will start being available at Ancestry and Family Search. Later stages of the project will review the family relationships shown in the census and ultimately the entire contents will be transcribed. Current status is that Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, and Utah have finished Name Review and are preparing for Family Review. Name Review has begun for New Mexico and Florida.

Below are some links and hints that might help you get started looking at the census. Both Ancestry and Family Search require logins to be created for most work. Anyone can get a Family Search login and help with the Name Review and follow-on work! I believe all access to the census will be free. The following links are ones I have found helpful:

National Archives site:

NARA site - machine generated name index.

Family Search sites:

Family Search site to start.

Family Search site for indexing.

Family Search site to browse images.

Family Search Community Project FAQ


Ancestry sites:

Ancestry site to browse images.
Ancestry ED map
The territory covered by the census was divided into Enumeration Districts (EDs) to make organization easier. Without an index you have to look into the State, Community, then ED and start browsing through census pages to find your individual. To help find the ED of the area you are interested in, several sites have published and animated the original maps. Ancestry's is very good.

Steve Morse ED website:

Steve Morse Enumeration District website
Steve Morse has had helpful websites for genealogy researchers for many many years.