1870 US Census

The 1870 US census was taken as of June 1, 1870.

As you no doubt are aware, the American Civil War occurred between 1861 and 1865. Just prior to the beginning of the war, a number of states - mostly those which made use of slaves on their plantations - withdrew from the Union, and formed a confederacy. However, by the 1870 US census, all of the confederate states were back in the Union, and were part of the census, and a few others had been added, as follows:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

US map - 1870
US map - 1870





The 1870 US census was very similar to those from 1850 and 1860, with the addition of a question regarding place of birth and parentage.

There was no longer any need for a slave schedule, or for a breakdown of people on the basis of "whites, freed colored people, and slaves", as all slaves had been freed as a result of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

However, a person's race was still recorded, and in fact, the number of categories of identifiable "race", based on skin color, expanded to five from the former three. The census also asked a question regarding “constitutional relationship”.

That is:

  • name of every person whose regular abode on June 1, 1870 was in this family;
  • age;
  • gender;
  • color (white, black, mulatto, Indian, Chinese);
  • profession, occupation, or trade of all males over age 15;
  • value of real estate;
  • value of personal estate;
  • place of birth (state, territory, or country);
  • was father or mother foreign born?
  • if born within the year, state month;
  • if married within the year, state month;
  • whether attended school within the year;
  • cannot read or write;
  • Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or convict; and
  • Constitutional Relations:
    • male US citizens 21 years of age and over; and
    • male US Citizens 21 years of age and over whose rights to vote is denied on other grounds than rebellion or other crime





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