Do Family Review to Help Release the 1950 Census Index Sooner

A mother and daughter work together on a computer.

Greetings to all volunteers who are helping—or wish to help—with the 1950 U.S. census project! May we issue you a challenge?

FamilySearch has released 7 fully searchable states in the 1950 census collection. We are very grateful for everyone’s contributions so far and appreciate any time you have dedicated to help people connect to their families. We need your help doing Family Review so we can release even more states—and then the entire 1950 collection!

What Is Family Review?

If you visit the 1950 census Get Involved page, you will find 2 activities you can choose from: Review Families and Review Names. In order to release a state’s information for the 1950 census, FamilySearch needs a review of both the names and the family information for each household. Some states have already had all or most of their names checked by a volunteer, but the family information may still need review.

Family reading a census record.

Family Review involves seeing if the individuals in a list are part of one household on a census record. Then, we do a quick check of the entire household’s important information. Although Family Review requires a few more steps than reviewing names, it’s easy to get the hang of it after the first time through. In fact, long-term indexers may find they love helping to review family information because it allows you to learn more about individuals and families you are indexing for, which can be a lot of fun for volunteers.

Note: Because Family Review requires looking at a larger portion of the census document at a time, it is only available on desktop browsers and tablets with a wide enough screen size.

Our Challenge

FamilySearch is aiming to release as many states as possible in the next 2 months. Want to help? Try Family Review now, or check out the tutorials below to learn more about it.

Note: To help with the state that is almost complete, look for the blue banner near the top of the page. There you can jump right to the place we need help with the most.

Family Review Tutorial Video

For a quick look at how to review families and households in the 1950 census, watch this video:

Family Review Step-by-Step Guide

To do Family Review for the census, sign in to, and click the Get Involved tab and then 1950 U.S. Census. From this page, you can scroll down a bit until you find 2 white boxes. One says Review Families. Go ahead and click Get Started!

Screenshot showing how to navigate the FamilySearch site.

Reviewing Families in 3 Stages

There are 3 main parts to Family Review. We’ve provided helpful screenshots below for each step.

1. Do we have all the right people for this household?

Look at the list in the right sidebar of your screen, and compare it to the census document. You’re looking to see if all of the individuals checked are part of one household. If any name doesn’t seem to belong, simply uncheck it. If you think a name needs to be added, scroll up and down to find the names you can add to the household.

Note: A household can be any number of people living in one residence, whether they were related or not. The first person in each household was always indicated with the word Head next to their name. Other members might be listed as “wife,” “son,” “daughter,” “boarder,” or other descriptor. Each household will start with “Head” and end just before the next “Head” of household.

Screenshot showing how to navigate the FamilySearch site.

If the family you are reviewing was at the bottom of a census record, you might see a screen that asks if any names on the next page belong to the household. Look at this new page and find the first “Head” of household. If all the blue highlighted names are in the rows above where you see “Head,” they likely belong to the same household you are reviewing.

Screenshot showing how to navigate the FamilySearch site.

2. Help Review the Street Name and House Number

The next part involves checking the street name of your household’s home. FamilySearch highlights the column in the census record that should show the street name in blue. It then asks you to either select one of the computer’s guesses for the street name, write in the street name, or mark that the column is blank.

Note: Census takers usually notated the street name next to the first household they visited on that street, so you might not find the name right next to your household. It will either be above or next to it, or the column may be blank.

Screenshot showing how to navigate the FamilySearch site.

After you are finished with the street name, we do a quick review of the house, apartment, or dwelling number. Simply check to see if the number highlighted in blue has been correctly identified, and click Next if it has.

Screenshot showing how to navigate the FamilySearch site.

3. Personal Information

Each person in the census has some important information listed about them, including how they are related to the head of their household. The 1950 census also identifies their race, age, and birthplace. The last step to Family Review is checking to see if this information has been correctly captured for the household. Compare what you see in the blue highlighted rows to what is typed in the red and white boxes, and correct anything that was misidentified.

Screenshot showing how to navigate the FamilySearch site.

Screenshot showing how to navigate the FamilySearch site.

You’re All Finished!

When you are finished reviewing a household, you’ll see the “Way to go!” message. Every family you review is one more family that will be able to be found in the 1950 census search. Here at FamilySearch, we thank you for your contributions!

Screenshot showing how to navigate the FamilySearch site.


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