NARA released the 1950 population census schedules for researcher use on April 1, 2022, at  This is the 57th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

Where are my transcriptions?

Your transcriptions are generally indexed within 24 hours of submission. By transcribing names, you help to push those spellings–and therefore those records–to the top of search results when other users search for those names. However, your transcription will not appear in the list of “Machine Learning (AI) Extracted Names” at this time.  We are working on an enhancement to add the transcribed names to the search results display.

Why should I add a transcription?

Your contribution is extremely valuable because it helps improve our computer-generated index of names. When a submitted transcription is approved, it is then searchable, making it easier for others to find the correct name and census record.

How do I use the transcription tool?

You can help transcribe or correct names in the 1950 Census. Enter your transcription using the “Help Us Transcribe Names” button at the top of each image. After verifying your email address, the tool will walk you through how to submit a transcription.

transcribe button

Please review the following steps to transcribe names:

    • Navigate to a page where you would like to transcribe names.
    • Zoom in so that you can read the line number on the far left of the population schedule and the full name clearly.
    • Click the “Help Us Transcribe Names” button, then “Add A Transcription.”
    • Click the “Help Us Transcribe Names” button, then “Add A Transcription.”
    • Select the line number of the name you are transcribing from the drop-down menu.
    • If available, review the machine transcribed name and the name transcribed by other volunteers. If there aren't any names, or if you would like to submit a correction or variation of the name, click Add Transcription.
    • Complete as many fields as are applicable to the name.Click the Enter button to submit your transcription.

Why do you need my email address?

Your email address will be used for verification purposes only. You will not receive notification when your transcription has been approved or removed.

What if the name I want to transcribe does not have a first or last name?

Please enter what is applicable to the name that you are transcribing to the best of your ability. Some names will have a “–” at the beginning in the name field on the population schedule. This was typically used to list people in the same household who had the same last name. In these cases look for the head of the household name and enter the full name for each entry as much as possible.

How do I transcribe quote marks (“) and dashes (–) found in the name?

Sometimes, quote marks (ditto marks) and dashes were used to easily copy a name for a group of people who lived in the same household. In these cases, please enter the full name if possible.

Do I have to enter a transcription in every field? What if it is blank or I can't read it?

If you can't decipher a name, we recommend leaving the field blank. Only fill in the fields you can transcribe. If you cannot decipher the first or last name, skip the entry and move on to a different line. It is not necessary to transcribe prefix and/or suffix fields if you are unable to transcribe the first and last names. Additionally, if the field is blank in the population schedule, please leave the field blank in the transcription.

Why are there multiple transcriptions for one name?

Each line number can have multiple transcriptions. This is to make sure that the correct name and any variations are captured as accurately as possible. Each name can have up to 5 variations.

I submitted a transcription, but I can’t find it within the 1950s Census. What do I do?

All submitted transcriptions go through an approval and publication process which can take up to 24 hours to become searchable. Please try your search again after 24 hours. Transcriptions that do not pass our moderator process will not be published.  Contributions are subject to our Citizen Contribution Policy. Violations of the contribution policy may be removed from the Transcription Tool.

I found an image that is not a population schedule. How do I transcribe these non-schedule image forms?

In addition to population schedules containing names, you may come across extraneous forms, pages, or miscellaneous Census-related images. If there are names listed on these non-schedule images, we encourage you to initiate the transcription tool to add names. If no names are present, simply move on to a different image that contains names.