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The 1870 United States Federal Census lists the inhabitants of the United States for the apportionment of representations for each state.  It includes:  aliases, post office boxes, names, ages, gender, race, personal property values, occupations, real estate values, birthplaces, dwelling places, and the names of census officers.  


The 1870 U.S. Federal Census is the ninth census of the United States.  


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


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.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.


The following examples show ways you can use the information:


  • Use the estimated age to calculate a birth date.

  • Use the age and residence to locate the family in church and land records.

  • Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • 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.


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.


To view a full description of the 1870 US Federal Census or to search the database online click here.



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