As we mentioned in the EasyGenie blog a few weeks ago, the 1950 Census is now available online. We've had a chance to give it a spin, and we have some first impressions to share.
The good news: Most of the records are free to view on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website, and it's possible to find ancestors or other people of interest.
The bad news: The NARA search engine, based on unfiltered "machine learning" results, is very rough around the edges.
You can search for names in a given location, but we've found that too many results are returned and it doesn't work well with common first names. The search results will show "hits" whenever anyone on the sheet has that first name, regardless of whether it is associated with the last name you specify.
We were unable to find Ian's parents. But we did find a great uncle and his family, and it was fun to chat about them with Ian's father on Easter. We have a short video below showing how to use the 1950 census archive on your phone for basic searches, while we wait for FamilySearch and the paid services (such as Ancestry and My Heritage) to create better searchable indexes of these important records.