All community (user-contributed) transcriptions will be released under an open license that permits both commercial and non-commercial uses. We will make the data available for download on this page as transcription progresses. We encourage you to contribute if you can to help offset the cost of developing, maintaining, and hosting the project, however there is no requirement to do so.
Since it might take a while for the community to complete transcription, we will also make early versions of the database available that are augmented by automatic transcriptions (generated using automatic handwriting recognition software). These augmented databases may be released under a different license.
Census images (without transcriptions) are available for free online at archive.org, made available through collaboration between the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana and the Internet Archive.
For researchers building and improving automatic handwriting recognition / transcription software: we will be making a dataset available for free download here in the near future that you can use for training, testing, and comparing your algorithms.