From the Church

New tech lets computers—not perplexed humans—scrutinize writing on 1950 census forms. But you can still help

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This week, FamilySearch International announced that it will participate in the 1950 U.S. Census Community Project.

► You may also like: The 1950 US census data is coming soon. Here are some of the family mysteries people are hoping to solve

According to Newsroom, FamilySearch will team up with other organizations on the project, including, which will use state-of-the-art technology to recognize handwriting in the census images to create a functioning, searchable index of the data.

This approach eliminates the need—at least initially—for head-scratching humans to puzzle over handwritten records, a situation many indexers have grown accustomed to.

But warm-blooded humans will still need to double-check the machines’ reading of the records, and that’s where indexers come in. FamilySearch is crowdsourcing this work and looking for volunteers to help verify the 150 million records in the onlinecomputer-generated index.

According to Newsroom, data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau comprises some of the most popular online databases and are used by millions of people for family history research.

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