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1870 Census: Next Steps

Once you've found your ancestor in the 1870 U.S. Census, here are some possible next steps, based on the information found in this record.

>> Look for the family in other censuses (1860, 1880, etc.). Search U.S. census population schedules at

>> Search for historical maps of the area in which they lived Look at what churches and cemeteries are in the area and might have more information on your family. See the heading of the census  page for this information. 

>> Track the family using city or county directories. Search the U.S. City Directory Collection at

>> Using the age and place of birth, seek out birth records for all family members possible. Search the U.S birth records that are available on 

>> Estimate marriage year, possibly through the births of children, and look for marriage record. Column 12 asks whether couples were married within the census year. Search the U.S. vital records that are available on 

>> Note places of birth for individuals and their parents. For immigrants, try to estimate immigration dates, possibly using dates and places of birth of various members of the household and search for passenger arrival records. has a large collection of passenger arrival records in the Immigration Collection.

>> For immigrants, look for potential naturalization records. If you can find the immigrant in the 1920 census, it also includes the date which can help you narrow your search. has a growing collection of naturalization records in the Immigration Collection.

>> Start a family tree on to organize your finds and locate more records. 

>> Share your discovery with family members. It may prompt them to reciprocate with information that they have, and it could even spark a memory that will help bring your family’s story to life.

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