Posted by on May 17, 2010 in Collections

Anyone who has traced family back from 1900 to 1880 knows that a lot can happen in 20 years – particularly when you’re up against that missing 1890 census record (99 percent of the census for 1890 was destroyed courtesy of a fire). But what if your family was missing from every published version of 1880, too?

If your family lived in one of a handful of small townships in Tioga County, New York, in 1880, that’s exactly what you’ve been up against.

We discovered the problem while scanning and indexing U. S. Federal Census Non-population Schedules. Inside the collection of agricultural, industry, social statistics and other special census schedules were a handful of 1880 population schedules, too. Only about 5,600 names were in those population schedules, which cover all of Richford, Spencer Village, and Spencer, New York, as well as 40 pages of Henrico County, Virginia – but if one of those names is perched in your family tree, the find is like striking family history gold.

You’ll find the once-missing 1880 census population schedules today right where they belong: mixed in with the rest of the 1880 U.S. Federal Census at Be sure to let me know if you locate a member of your own family  there — I’d love to hear the story.


  1. Joan Peck

    Great story! Good luck to you, Jeanie! Keep looking, you will certainly find somebody interesting!

  2. carolyn atkinson

    Since you found those people, now please go find my Lena Rivers Allen in Tennessee somewhere.:) Born December 25, 1862 to an UKN Allen and Frances Sarah Ann MURRELL ALLEN.

  3. Mary Beth Marchant

    I wish someone could find the missing part of the 1870 Lafayette County, Florida census. There is only one section that I have found on Ancestry, and/or any other census web site. I got someone who lives in the area to check with the local library to see if there was another part on microfile but there was not. The only part available records the residents around the New Troy Post Office in Lafayette County, Florida but none of the residents around Mayo. Sure would love to find my gg grandpa there in 1870. He lived right in Mayo.

  4. David Williams

    Is it possible that some of Kinmundy, Marion County, Illinois census was MISSING from the 1870 census? I am missing William Mchatton (1805-1885) and his family of 14 children, and several related collateral families.

  5. Karis

    Similiar topic when I search for the surname Arthur or Arther on most of the categories, such as local histories, it will come back with zero results even though I know the family is in the item. I have to search by first name through many, extra names. Is there something about this particular name that makes the searches difficult. This is for upstate New York and Connecticut. I don’t have this difficulty with any other surname.

  6. Sue

    Jeanie, I thought I was the only one trying to trace back info on a Grandfather who my Dad said was wanted for stealing horses, so changed his name and birthday around, making his family almost impossible to trace. But I did trace him, with lots of help from genealogists in England and others tracing the surname. What a fun puzzle it was to figure out and what a specail reward I got at the end, ordering birth and marriage records from his family in England.

  7. Joanne

    It is interesting to hear that some of the records get lost and might be found. I’m tracing the Burns, Bolon, and White families in Belmont County, Ohio. Sometimes I cannot find them on the census even though I know they were there and have checked every spelling that I know of for these names. Maybe the missing ones will be found someday.

  8. Kathleen

    For anyone unable to locate someone in the census: I’ve found it successful to try inputing the given name for the surname, and even vice-versa if using the first name only for your search. Census takers often listed a person’s given name first, so that name was used by the transcriber on the index as the surname. It has worked for me several times.
    Hope this helps some of you find those missing persons.

  9. B.G. Wiehle

    Are there any resources at Ancestry detailing which census districts are known to be incomplete or currently unavailable? I have some immigrant families I cannot find on the regular population schedules. I try to be thorough and in 3 cases I found Miracode entries and those 3 EDs are missing from Ancestry’s 1910 census (Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; EDs 147, 184, 186. Probably all of Ward 7 is missing) Unfortunately, Miracode supplements only a small proportion of census records.

  10. Kimberly

    I have found it helpful to search a first name only in a specific area. One example I have is a family of mine with the last name Vaughan. I tried spelling Vaughan all kinds of ways to find these people in 1870. Finally I just entered the first name of the head of the family and search for everyone in that county with that first name. I found them, with the last name Bond. I guess if someone has an accent, Vaughan could sound like Bond. It was on the original that way. Spelling wise, it isn’t even close and would never show up in any index listing for Vaughan.

  11. Russel Hester

    What a great find, but for most who can’t find someone they know must be there, remember, there are people who are skiped on some Censuses. I have one family that I know where there, but they just can’t be found. I had another group of families that was that way, until a fellow researcher found the entire family, about 40 of them, exactly where we had been looking, and all with a different last name. It seems I had a situation just like Jeanie’s. They had run from Marion County Tennesee after three of them had been involved in the killing of a man, his wife and child. They changed their name from Hester to Horton, and moved to Bartow County Georgia…
    It would be great to be able to search for family groups by first names sometimes!

  12. Diane Noland

    To Karis. Have you tried spelling Arthur with an O as in Orthur or Orther? A’s sometimes look like O’s. I searched and searched for my family of Moseleys and finally found them under Masley. Some names just lend themselves to “creative” spellings.

  13. Terri Hauck

    In the 1850 Georgia Census, are there known missing districts or pages in counties? Would you have a list of those or a list of non-indexed pages? The reason I am asking is that I have followed The Logan White family and I can find them from 1820,1830,1840 and 1860,1870, 1880, etc. They were in Georgia in 1850, but have not been able to locate them. Many of his sons were living nearby in GA, so either the pages are missing for some reason or they are not indexed. It could save me countless hours going through page after page of GA 1850 census if I knew which pages were not indexed yet and what districts are missing from which counties.
    Thank. Terri

  14. Sue McLaughlin

    Jeannie: This is a common Belgian or Walloon/Flemish name. But it is spelled ‘Grossman’. Could it be possible that the census taker made up the spelling himself? If you are saying the name Grossman, and you had an accent and could not spell in English….it would come off as Croasmun. That’s exactly how it would sound. Just a thought. Good luck.

  15. Barbara

    I also am missing some of my family. I started looking page by page and discovered pages 37 thru 56 on the 1880 Headland, Henry Co., Alabama Roll T9_15 Enumeration District 82 are missing. Is it possible they just were never scanned? I hope they are out there to be found. Soon!

  16. Mary Benson

    OH PLEASE HELP ME!!! I’M DESPARATE…I have dreamed for years that I would finally be the family member that goes full circle to learn who my relatives are. My problem? I’m a descendant of Fraley Gulley, born July 1882 in or around Snow Hill, Alabama. Fraley was married to Rosa (Savage) Gulley. I’ve searched ancestry frantically looking for his parents. I can’t order vital records on him because we don’t know who his parents are…all descendants that would know this info are now deceased. If anyone know Fraley parents or relatives that might be able to help. Please contact me. Thank you.

  17. david stanley

    Thank You. I’m glad to see the team is still plugging away and making progress.

    I hope that some day you are also able to find the missing portion of the 1870 Geneva, Ashtabula, Ohio census and do the same. It should be composed of 3 books but only 2 are scanned in.


  18. I am having trouble finding my Great great grandfather he is from Prussia His name is Ferdinand Schmidt and it was changed to Smith when he came to the united Stated in 1852 He came to New york first. Then moved to Iowa.He was born 2/7/1823 and he married Magdalena Graff in 1856 she was born in Bavaria Germany on 10/28/1835
    can any one tell me how to serch other countrys I keep hiting a brick wall. I don’t know his mother or dad name so it is hard .can any one help me thanks Dianna

  19. Stella

    Yes, misspellings on last names is a problem. My Rodriguez family was listed as Rodriquez. My Roman family was listed as Romann. Also an “a” or an “o” at the end of a first name changed the person’s gender; i came across that problem alot. Good luck with your searches.

  20. David Williams
    I tried Heritage Quest through my local library. They have an e-library connection for Census results. I found something close. Could it be a son? also listed a wife; Algi__(poor hand writing couldn’t make out all of her name) and a child, Mary. Hope this helps get you one step further.
    Series: M593 Roll: 20 Page: 808
    MCHATTON,WILLIAM – age 33 – M – W – Born KY in the IL 1870 FAYETTE WHEATLAND TWP Census 1870

  21. Christine

    Jeanie I understand your problem. My G-Grandfather is named Richard O Lynch-Born in Indiana, Mother-born in France, Father-born in Ireland. There are over 100,000 Richard Lynch’s in Indiana and Arkansas with parents born in these regions. Which one is my G-Grandfather. Good Luck with your search.

  22. Sharron Bearly

    I know it is tedious, but I have had luck with just visually going thru the entire census for the area in question….I had a gggf that I thought lived in Catahoula Parish, LA, but I couldn’t find him in any index. So, I just started going thru the census of 1870 in Catahoula Parish. I found his next door neighbor from Pike/Bullock Co, ALA and lo and behold, there was a scratchy written name in the same household…….yep!! there he was!!! I gave a whoop and a holler–right there in the library!!!~! now if I could only find his wife–who was dead by the next census……..
    (his last name was spelled differently in every census and obviously, the census taker couldn’t figure out how to spell it, so it was just scratched in!) If it hadn’t been close to the spelling, right first name, right age and with his neighbor from AL, I would NEVER have guessed that was who it was!!!

  23. Sharron Bearly

    Mary, have you checked his death records?? That frequently gives parents’ names.. Warning, may not be correct, but is a good start.,..

  24. I would like to verify information about my gg-grandfather,Charles Wesley Sweet. As the story goes, he was the engineer of a trolley, street car and or train in Bonner Springs, Kansas. His route was Bonner Springs to Kansas City, Kansas. As the story goes, he was killed in a head on crash with another trolley, train, etc. Any information detailing this incident would be greatly appreciated.
    The alternate story told to me as a child by my gg-grandmother was that Charles Wesley was a driver of a mule team for Wells Fargo and was kicked in the head by a mule.To get by she ran a boarding house in Bonner Springs, Kansas and/or Kansas City, Kansas.
    Re: Charles Wesley Sweet
    B: 21 March 1884 Pierce City, Lawrence, MO
    M: 8 September 1903 Pleasant Hill, Cass Co., MO
    to Margaret Parker
    D: 12 October 1923 Bonner Springs, Wyandotte Co,
    surviving members at that time of his immediate family include:
    Margaret (Parker) Sweet – Wife
    Harold W. Sweet – son
    Parker L. Sweet – son
    Thanks for any information that can shed some light on this incident.

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