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1950 U.S. Census release provides volunteer opportunity to learn, support local history

1950 U.S. Census release provides volunteer opportunity to learn, support local history


FARGO, N.D. — Have you ever wondered about what Great-Uncle Joe did for a living in Hillsboro, North Dakota? Wanted to know where great-grandparents who lived on a farm in North Dakota were born? These mysteries and others will soon come to light with the April 2022 release of records from the 1950 U.S. Census that gathered such information on 151 million people.

Scheduled for release on April 1 by the National Archives and Records Administration, the records will be open for searching by those with interest. The records are likely to provide insights into those who were helped by the G.I. Bill, the first children in the Baby Boom generation, and perhaps one’s own family stories. While you can find Albert Einstein in these records, of greater interest might be one’s own relatives.

While the records will be somewhat digitally searchable, an opportunity to assist major family history organizations—Ancestry and FamilySearch—is available to those who want to help index the records and vastly increase the ease of searching them. Basically, an online volunteer army is needed.

To begin learning, Ancestry has created a digital portal to forthcoming 1950 U.S. Census information at its 1950 U.S. Census Countdown page. Similarly, FamilySearch makes it easy to get started with its online portal to the 1950 U.S. Census Community Project or at the event Facebook page. How can you do more?

While many pieces of information connect us with our family stories, census records provide a bold snapshot in time that can be a major catalyst for conversations about one’s family history. Ancestry is using AI technology to create an initial index that can be searched. Then, thousands of volunteers are needed to get involved and review these entries, making sure each name is included and indexed correctly. To get involved and help out, begin by using the FamilySearch Get Involved app, which is available free from Google Play or the App Store.

Using the app, you can review and verify names from your own family or a small community you lived in easily. Here’s how the process works:

  • A user pulls out their phone or other digital device and clicks on the “Get Involved” app.
  • The user selects a location, perhaps where relatives lived.
  • A record appears with a highlighted name. The user is given options to confirm the name, edit it if needed, or click “Unsure.” The name appears correct and the user confirms it.
  • The task takes just a minute or two to complete per name, and then you can proceed to the next record.

While you can get involved individually, you can also participate and track your activity as a FamilySearch Group. Gather some friends or family members, get your church involved, or team up with folks in a veterans’ group or other organization. Working as a group lets you share messages about the project with others, set and complete volunteer goals, highlight stories, and celebrate shared accomplishments.

This is a historic, once-in-a-decade opportunity to learn history, get involved, make a difference! So, check out joining the 1950 U.S. Census Community Project today.

To get further information, visit the linked pages at Ancestry or  FamilySearch, go to the National Archives, check out your local historical or genealogical society, or look up and visit a  Family History Center in your local community.

Proposed Caption: The 1950 U.S. census, scheduled to be released on April 1, will allow people to find family members and details about their lives. Photo: FamilySearch


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Media Contact:

  • Sean Brotherson, Communication Director, LDS Fargo North Dakota Stake; 701-200-0139;


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