Why is My Ancestor Missing from the 1870 Census?

census records




For the next few weeks I am going to be answering questions from some of my readers.

Question:  I’ve been researching my family, and cannot find any of them on the 1870 census. They are on the 1860, and the 1880, but NONE of them are on an 1870 census

So why is her ancestors not on the 1870 census?                                                             

The reasons he is not on the 1870 census could vary. 

  1. This was probably because the census taker missed them {I have one clan that lived in a township where none of them were enumerated}. This could be because:
  2. that area did not get enumerated
  3. they were not home
  4. they were traveling
  5. they had moved.
  6. You may want to check various spellings on the name to make sure the name was not spelled differently such as Haffer, Haphner, etc. Many census takers spelled the names phonetically.
  7. Also check for initials for the first name.
  8. Check surrounding states to make sure they had not temporarily relocated.
  9. there is one more reason and that is that in the digitization or in filing the census papers, they somehow went missing or were accidentally destroyed. The copies online are from the microfilm and it has been proven that some pages were missed. The only way to find them is to go to the National Archives and view the original pages.   Click here for an article on such a situation. 
Early census taker with a family

While it seems that most likely that area was missed, there are numerous other reasons way we cannot find them.   Don’t rule them out before you check through census records for that entire area.

You may want to check and see if there are any city directories or state census records for around this time in the area where they lived.

I had an entire family cluster missing from the 1870 census.  If all of the family lived in the same area and none are showing up on the 1870 census, it sounds as if you have the same issue I had for that cluster group.  For whatever reason that cluster area was missed.

Do you have a cluster group missing from the 1870 census?

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