National Archives News

Volunteers Can Contribute to Nation’s History by Collaborating on 1950 Census Records

By Editorial Staff | National Archives News

WASHINGTON, February 22, 2022 — When the National Archives and Records Administration releases the 1950 Census records on April 1, 2022, people will have the opportunity to make a direct contribution to the nation’s history by participating in a transcription project to help improve accuracy of the records. 

The National Archives used an optical character recognition and artificial intelligence tool to extract the handwritten names from the 1950 Census population schedules and provide a first draft of the name index for public use. Members of the public can help refine the name index for better accuracy and easier access to the records, using a transcription feature that will be available on the 1950 Census website.

“We are calling on the public to assist with making the name index for the census more accurate by helping to refine the first draft of the names that have been created through our digital tools,” said National Archives Chief Innovation Officer Pamela Wright. “We are asking for volunteers to assist with transcribing those names that were unreadable or misread by the technology.”

People interested in making a contribution, or those simply looking forward to exploring the 1950 Census records, can sign up here to get updates and for a reminder to join the transcription project and contribute to our nation’s history on April 1.

Currently, the National Archives is in the final stages of testing a dedicated 1950 Census website that will feature a name-search function, along with the previously mentioned transcription tool. The 1950 Census website will always be available at no cost to the public. In addition, the full 1950 Census dataset will be available for bulk download on a separate download site.

Offering this level of access to the public will encourage the development of websites and applications that could present census data in a myriad of ways.

“NARA holds these census records in trust for the public,” said Chris Naylor, National Archives Acting Executive for Research Services. “We look forward to seeing how the public creates their own products from the bulk download functionality, and especially how users collaborate and contribute to improving the name index to make these records as accessible as possible to more people.”

Stay updated on the latest 1950 Census information:


Follow along at


Sign-up for updates as we count-down to April 1 and a reminder to join the transcription project and support access to our nation’s history here.


Join the conversation about the 1950 Census and broader genealogy questions on NARA’s History Hub.


Attend the National Archives Genealogy Series: 1950 Census (free and no registration required)

Read more about enhanced digital access and public collaboration opportunities on National Archives News.

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as we share images and documents related to the 1950 Census in the coming weeks.