Ancestry To Apply AI-Driven Handwriting Recognition Technology

The Ancestry Team stated that access to this highly anticipated census collection will be available to search sooner than any previous census collection.

Using new, proprietary Artificial intelligence (AI) handwriting recognition technology, Ancestry announced it will deliver a searchable index of the 1931 Census of Canada to customers faster than ever before. This census is expected to be available on Ancestry in early June 2023.

The 1931 Census of Canada is set to be released to the public on June 1st 2023. With handwriting recognition technology, what previously took months to index, now will only take weeks. Ancestry anticipates a searchable version of 1931 Census to be available on Ancestry just days after the images are released to the public.

Corporate Genealogist Crista Cowan explains the value of census records in powering meaningful discoveries saying, “The 1931 Census of Canada contains the details of names, ages, birthplaces, residences, and relationships of more than 10 million people. Occupation and work hours could also be available as well as information around religion, parents’ birth places and languages spoken. On this census, additional questions were also asked, including details around the size and materials on the home, and whether a household owned a radio.

This glimpse into Canadian households during the inter-war period will shine a light on a critical time in Canadian history and will help people discover even more about the effects of the Great Depression, and the impact of environmental issues including prolonged periods of drought. Many of our customers will see their parents grandparents’ names in this census for the first time, which will bring even more family stories to life.”

Cutting-Edge Technology to Power Discoveries

Ancestry developed machine learning algorithms to power our proprietary handwriting recognition technology. Ancestry created AI software that reads handwriting from historical documents and transcribes the data, enabling our community to easily and quickly search historical records. The technology uses a unique and interactive blend of machine and human evaluation which is based on an Ancestry-developed confidence score framework. The 1931 Census will be the first Canadian census that Ancestry will have applied its proprietary AI handwriting recognition technology.

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