As I had mentioned previously, census records can give you the most details about a person and their family than any other record and can give you a snapshot of how they were living at a particular time; after starting with what you know now, the first step in genealogy research, the census records are the best starting point in your next step of research. They offer a plethora of information that will start you off and lead you to many of your next steps. Not only can you find the standard information on your ancestor like their name, age, birthplace, and residence; you can find so much more!
Follow me in this series where I focus on the 1850 to 1950 U.S. Federal Census Records, in which the 1870 census will be the topic of today.
The 1870 U.S. Census: This was the third U.S. Census that listed EVERY household member by name and had detailed categories, and just as in the 1850 and 1860 censuses, it was enumerated starting on June 1st. The data taken for this census had reflected the changes that occurred as a result of the Civil War.
This census had some of the same categories as the 1850 and 1860 censuses such as including ALL household members’ names; their ages, sex, color, and place of birth; whether they were deaf/mute, blind, insane or “idiotic”(underdeveloped mentally); whether any of the household members were married or attended school within the year; occupation information; literacy information; and the value of any real estate and personal estate (1860) owned.
There were no longer details of whether they were a pauper (relied on charity or local welfare, such as a poor fund or an almshouse) or a convict.
Some new categories were added, along with a slight change to a previous category. The “Value of Estate Owned” was slightly changed to the “Value of Real Estate Owned”; they added a “Parentage” Category, an “Education” Category, and a “Constitutional Relations” Category
This census now had also included much more detailed categories and information such as 2 new race details added, which included Chinese and Indian (Native American😊), along with White, Black (African American😊) and Mulatto; the occupations of ALL household members regardless of sex or age; the literacy of ALL, instead of just each over the age of 20; if anyone in the household had parents born in another country, the MONTH of any births or marriages of that year, any male CITIZENS 21 and over, and any males 21 and over denied the right to vote (such as from not being a citizen, participating in a rebellion or another crime, etc.).
Use the data on this census to see how your family’s life was affected from the Civil War such as if they changed their occupation, if they migrated due to the Civil War, or if there was a life lost from the war, and more!
Just as previously mentioned, the relationships of each person in the household were not shown, so be careful assuming the young ones were children; they could have been nieces, nephews, laborers, children taken in, etc.; the same also goes for any others listed. 😉
Once again, depending on where and by whom the census was taken, I usually don’t find this census filled out consistently, and the last categories are underreported, but if it is, then you have a lot of details to help you in your research! EVERY detail/clue helps in genealogy! 😉
Follow my other posts on the U.S. Census in Genealogy Records below:
The 1880 U.S. Census: A Closer Look at the Even Better Census!
The 1860 U.S. Census: A Closer Look
The 1850 U.S. Census: One of the Golden Genealogy Records
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