Ancestry® offers new features to help you understand, save, connect, and share discoveries from the 1950 Census and beyond.
Today, the highly anticipated 1950 U.S. Census was released! Ancestry is turning it into a fully searchable collection, available to everyone for free. In the meantime, you can browse all of the record images now.
For census records to be searchable, they have to be indexed, which means “reading” what the record image actually says. This process takes time, but we’re working around the clock to index the records state-by-state–and we’re using our new AI handwriting recognition technology–so you can find your relatives’ names even faster.
We have already made some states searchable, including Wyoming and Delaware! Don’t see your state? Sign up here to get notified when it’s ready.
What’s exciting about the 1950 U.S. Census is that you will find information about more recent family members–with details like names and ages of members of the household, address, occupations and salaries, military service, and more. In fact, if you were born before 1975, you are likely to find your parents in the 1950 Census if they were U.S. residents–and if you were born before 2000, you could have a grandparent who was enumerated.
The Power of Exploring the Census on Ancestry
By pairing this new 1950 Census collection with billions of other Ancestry records, Ancestry can provide you with more details of your family’s story and show you a more complete picture of not only what their life was like at a moment in time, but also how it had changed over the decades.
New Product Features
Ancestry will debut exclusive product features to make the most comprehensive and searchable 1950 U.S Census index, including:
1950 Census District Finder: By combining a census enumeration map overlay with a modern-day interactive map, you will be able to compare landmarks, roads, new developments, and other marked features on the maps to see how much has changed over the years, and how much is still the same. This innovative feature will allow users to search for cities and even street addresses, and take you directly to your family’s enumeration district. From there, you can browse the census images directly while you wait for the full index.
- A Personalized Guide to the Census: The Record Tour feature will provide a step-by-step guided experience, showing what’s in the census record and what it means. It can help people better understand their story and reveal new details about their relatives and their world in 1950.
- AI Powering Quicker Discoveries: Ancestry developed precise machine learning to power its proprietary AI Handwriting Recognition technology to make all of the fields of these records searchable, rather than just names–enabling anyone to quickly and more accurately find family members. For example, someone looking for John Smith may see hundreds of names, making it difficult to know which one is their ancestor. The Ancestry AI helps better pinpoint specific people to reduce the time it takes to make discoveries.
- Look at Your Ancestor’s Life Over Time: Get snapshots of relatives’ lives across the decades by comparing multiple records–even adding additional historical context to discover what remained the same and what changed from one decade to another. For example, a great-grandfather may have been a factory worker in the 1930 Census and later a factory owner in the 1950 Census.
- Short Shareable Stories, Without Any Research: Simply input a grandparent’s or parent’s name, where they might have lived, and birth year and you could get brief shareable stories about an ancestor’s life at the time. With a few clicks, Ancestry technology can quickly extract key details from 1940 U.S. Census records and add historical context in short story form, including insights like where they lived, if they owned their home and its value, the level of education of everyone in the household, and more. Once the 1950 Census is fully indexed, this experience will provide stories using those records.
What You Can Learn Using the 1950 Census
The 1950 U.S. Census provides a fascinating snapshot of an era in our collective history. Taken as a whole, it shows trends in the country—jobs, education, family size, and more. However, the magic of the census happens as you look closer—to the cities, the districts, the streets, the addresses, and the individuals who resided there. You can learn rich details about your family’s life at the time, such as:
- Address and whether a farm or ranch, as well as if the property was 3 or more acres
- Names of head of household, all household members and relationships
- How race and gender were recorded
- Age at last birthday
- Marital status
- State or country where born, or whether naturalized
- Details about working, employment status, and hours worked (14 and older)
- Nature of work and business (14 and older)
- Additionally, 20% of the population answered supplemental questions, such as:
- Whether living in the same house, same county, or on a farm a year ago
- County and state where living a year ago
- Highest grade level attended, whether finished, and whether attended school since February 1950
- How many weeks looking for work or weeks working (14 and older)
- Nature of work and business (14 and older)
- Wages earned and household income
- Whether they served in Armed Forces
- Covers the Continental US and Territories of Alaska and Hawaii, as well as American Samoa, the Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and some smaller island territories
Find Your Ancestors’ Stories
Ancestry invites everyone to join in celebrating the release of the 1950 U.S. Census by sharing your discoveries using #MyAncestryStory. To start building a family tree for free and to stay up-to-date on when your state’s 1950 U.S. Census records have been made searchable, visit Ancestry.com/1950Census.
Blog Post Author: Ancestry TeamHomepage Position: 1