United States Census, 1870 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Collection Time Period
The U.S. federal census was conducted each decade from 1790-present. This information pertains to censuses conducted in 1850, 1860, and 1870.
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.
Important genealogical information in the 1870 census:
- Full name
- Age (can be used to approximate birth year)
- Whether married during the previous year
- Town, township, or post office of residence
- Month of birth if born during the previous year
- Month of marriage if married during the previous year
- Whether the father and mother of each person was born in a foreign country
How To Use The Record
The U.S. federal census is the best source to quickly identify a family group and residence. Use the place of residence, and the birth state for each person along with his or her age to search for other record types. The census identifies other persons in the household and how they are related. The census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.
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 1870 census covers 80-90% of the population.
Why This Record Was Created
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.
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.
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Known Issues With This Collection
The census of Ripley, Lauderdale, Tennessee: Start of census (p. 1-14) found under Ripley. Census continues with p. 15 at the start of the images for District # 02 and continues to the end.
Several counties in Georgia show the images of the pages in reverse order, starting with the highest numbered page first, finishing with page #1. When this happens, click on the left pointing arrow to see the next page, instead of the right pointing arrow as you would normally. If you are searching for names, when the image appears, click the left arrow to go to the next page, and the right arrow to go to the previous page. If you are browsing the collection, you may want to start on the last image in the group and click on the left pointing arrow to see the next page, instead of the right pointing arrow as you would normally. These counties include Burke, Butts, Calhoun, Camden, Campbell, Carroll, Catoosa, Charlton and Chatham.
Contributions to This Article
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Sources of Information for This Collection
"U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1870" database, FamilySearch; (http://familysearch.org), from United States Census Office. 9th census. Digital images of originals housed at the National Archives, Washington, D.C.. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
"United States Census, 1870." index and images, FamilySearch: (https//www.familysearch.org: accessed April 8, 2011). entry for Robert White, age 60; citing Census Records, North Carolina; United States Census Office, National Archives, Washington, D.C.