Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Mailbox: Searching the 1870 Census

Dear Insider,

Hi there,

Is there any way of searching the 1870 US Census records? Great to be able to view the images especially as I don't have access to US databases.

I want to find Fannings in this Census and look at the images. Is there any way I can do this?


Kathleen Fanning

Dear Kathleen,

You can search the 1870 US Census without an subscription. There are several ways to search the 1870 US Census without an subscription:

  • Use There are two ways to search for Fannings in the 1870 census. First, you could search for Fanning and then use filters to narrow the results to the 1870 census. Second, you could browse to the 1870 census and then search for Fanning.
  • Use at your local Family History Center.
  • Check for availability to the larger libraries in your area.
  • Lastly—and this is more academic than practical—search without a subscription. The results are “masked,” but unmasked information is name, approximate birth year, county, and state. Treat this like the finding aids we used back in microfilm days. Then treat the digitized ACPL census microfilm on the Internet Archive as you would actual microfilm. Crank through the images until you find the pages of interest.


--The Insider


  1. The Internet Archive also scanned all the extant US Censuses. They're not indexed, but you can browse them, by state and microfilm roll–all completely free.

  2. As to the availability of HeritageQuest Online, Check with your local library to see if you can assess the web site thru your library card.
    To access HeritageQuest Online you will need your library card barcode or Access Code.
    All I had to have is valid library card and Library Access Code provided my the librarian.
    Over the last several years I have accessed I have assessed the Heritage Quest thru my local libraries genealogy resource page.
    This was true for 2 different states that I lived in. Your local library is there for you!
    Find your Library at the following link: Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter > Reference for Encyclopedia of Genealogy >

    And don't forget the library for those books that you find that contain important family history using the Interlibrary Loan system!
    Search for that book at
    > Find items in libraries near you!

    For more tips and help check out my favorite sources:
    Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
    The Genealogy Guys Podcast
    The Ancestry Insider


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