I confess—I love words. I adore their sound, shape, and history.
One of my favorites is the wonderful word prepare.
Did you know that words, like people, have something of a family tree? In the case of my friend prepare, her loving parents are the Latin prae, meaning ‘before,’ and parare, which means ‘make ready.’
When I think of prepare, I consider how I will “make ready” for life’s unique opportunities long before they arrive. And that takes us to the 1950 U.S. Census release.
On April 1, the National Archives and Records Administration will release for the first time the digital images from the 1950 U.S. Census. By dinner that evening, it’s expected that thousands of volunteers will begin a comprehensive human review of the automated index. This enhancement will ensure the data is searchable by millions of users anxious to mine the census for family history gems.
The time is now to prepare—make ready—for this historic release!
Those wishing to volunteer their time and talents to this critical human review of the index can begin now by becoming familiar with the many tools available on FamilySearch. Consider spending time in previous census records and becoming familiar with the questions asked and the process of indexing handwritten records.
Perhaps you have no experience with family history, but you have a burgeoning desire to get involved. You might schedule a free virtual consultation with a trained family history consultant whose passion is to help you connect with your family history. But these sessions aren’t just for beginners, they’re for anyone at any level with virtually any question about FamilySearch and the myriad tools available.
If you are experienced with the foundations of family history but not the census itself, you might make ready for the April release by visiting the government’s online resources. Census.gov provides fascinating information about every census dating back to the very first in 1790. And while names and other personal information isn’t yet available in the more recent censuses, there is a wealth of valuable population and demographic data already online.
If you already consider yourself an expert and you can’t wait to assist with the 1950 index enhancement effort in April, you could make ready for the release by educating your friends and family about the opportunity.
Help others create their FamilySearch accounts. Inspire them to add memories. Most importantly, describe your own discoveries and share how connecting with your own family’s stories has enriched your life.
No matter how you choose to participate and prepare for the census release, remember that every effort counts. From digital first-timers to seasoned veterans of microfiche and projectors, everyone had a role to play in the future of family history. Uniting our efforts, let’s all prepare for an unprecedented opportunity that will shape family discoveries for years to come.
The clock is ticking. Let’s make ready.
Check out Jason’s new book, Even the Dog Knows, released March 8, 2022.