United States Census, 1870 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Census, 1870 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
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Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Population Schedules
Record Group RG 29: Records of the Bureau of the Census
Collection years 1870
Microfilm Publication M593. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. 1748 rolls.
Arrangement Arrange alphabetically by state, and by county, by city, township.
National Archives Identifier 2353570
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration



What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of an index and images of population schedules listing inhabitants of the United States from the ninth decennial census taken in 1870. NARA microfilm publication M593 Ninth Census of the United States from Record Group 29 Records of the Bureau of the Census.

Related State Census Collections

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census, 1870.

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can This Collection Tell Me?

Information in the 1870 census:

  • Town/township, county and state where census was taken
  • Date of enumeration and name of post office
  • Dwelling number and family number
  • Name of each person in household
  • Age of each person in household (can be used to approximate birth year)
  • Sex of each person in household
  • Race of each person in household
  • Occupation of each person in household
  • Value of any real estate
  • Value of personal property
  • Birthplace
  • Was father foreign born
  • Was mother foreign born
  • Indicate month born if child born during past year
  • Indicate month married if person married during past year
  • Indicate if person attended school during past year
  • Is person able to read and write
  • Is person "deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic"
  • Male citizens of United States of 21 years of age and upwards
  • Male citizens of United States of 21 years of age and upwards, whose right to vote is denied or abridged on other grounds than rebellion or other crime

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The age and birth place of your ancestor.
  • The names of other family members and associates who lived nearby.
  • The state and county where your ancestors lived.

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select State
  2. Select County
  3. Select Locality to view the images.

Keep in mind:

  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s census record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Download a copy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the estimated age to calculate a birth date.
  • Use the age and residence to locate the family in church and land records.

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals with the same family number.
  • There is also the possibility that a family was missed in the census.

General Information About These Records

The U.S. federal census was conducted each decade from 1790-present. This information pertains to censuses conducted in 1850, 1860, and 1870.

Federal census takers were asked to record information about all those who were in each household on the census day, which was 1 June. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day. The basic census enumeration unit was the county. Each county was divided into enumeration districts, one for each enumerator. The completed forms were sent to the Census Office in the Commerce Department in Washington D.C.

The U.S. federal census was taken at the beginning of every decade to apportion the number of representatives that a state could send to the House of Representatives in Congress. In the absence of a national system of vital registration, many vital statistics and personal questions were asked to provide a statistical profile of the nation and its states.

Population schedules consisted of large sheets with rows and columns. The schedules were arranged by place, such as township or post office. The places were not filed in any particular order. The arrangement of families on a schedule is normally in the order in which the enumerator visited the households.

Federal censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.


Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"United States Census, 1870." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing NARA microfilm publication M593. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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