THE 1870 FEDERAL CENSUS FOR NEW YORK CITY.
by Charles Sullivan, 13 July 2001 Note: In 1870, New York City consisted ONLY of New York County, comprised of Manhattan Island and several smaller islands in the East River and NY Harbor, i.e., Blackwell's Island (now Roosevelt Island), Governor's Island, Ellis Island, Bedloe's Island (now Liberty Island), and Ward's Island. In 1870 (as in recent years), the large cities complained they were undercounted in the census. The hue and cry became great enough that the Census Bureau caved in and undertook a recount for some cities, NY City included. This recount is known as the 1870 2nd Enumeration. (The recount was NOT conducted in the other four counties which today are included in NY City, i.e., Kings, Queens, Richmond, and Bronx.) The original census (or 1st Enumeration) was conducted beginning 1 June 1870. The 2nd Enumeration was conducted about 6 months later, in the December-January time frame. Note: The Election Districts were redistricted following the 1st Enumeration so will usually be different for the 2nd Enumeration although the Wards will be the same. However street addresses were recorded for the first time in the 2nd Enumeration, so given an address, it's usually not too difficult to scroll down the microfilm for the Ward and zero in on the right page. Census Population Schedules and their Fates. -------------------------------------------- The pages on which the census-takers recorded information for each household are known as Population Schedules. For 1870 and earlier censuses, the original population schedules were hand-copied - two transcriptions being made under supervision of the Census Marshal. The distribution of these in 1870 was as follows: 1. Transcription -> US Census Bureau. 2. Transcription -> NY Secretary of State. 3. Original -> New York County Clerk. (No transcriptions of the 2nd Enumeration appear to have been made; the Census Bureau got the original.) The Census Bureau copies have since been turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington DC and microfilmed by them. The NY Secretary of State copy apparently perished in the 1911 fire at the State Capitol building which destroyed most of the NY State Library. The original at the New York County Clerk's Office has luckily survived - at least most of it - and has been microfilmed by the Family History Library. Comparison of the NARA transcription with the NY County Clerk original shows a not-insignificant number of transcription errors. From the handwriting, it does not appear that the original and transcription were written by the same individual, at least in most of New York City. Census Microfilms ----------------- NARA microfilmed the schedules in their possession on two different occasions, years apart. These are known as the 1st and 2nd Filmings, however only the 2nd Filming microfilms are listed in their current catalog (online at http://www.nara.gov/genealogy). The microfilms available from the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library (FHL) are duplicates of the NARA microfilms but with their own catalog numbers. Both the 1st and 2nd Filmings are available. The difference between the 1st and 2nd Filming is described as follows in the FHL Library Catalog (online at http://www.familysearch.org): "The 1870 census was filmed twice. The second filming (2nd) is listed first and is usually easier to read. However, since some of the records were faded or lost between the first and second filmings, search the first filming (1st) whenever the material on the second filming (2nd) is too light to read." The table below lists both the FHL and NARA catalog numbers for the _first_ film in each block of films for New York County. Consult the respective catalog to find the film number for the particular Ward/ED of interest. ------ Description --------------- - FHL - ---- NARA ----- 1870 1st Enumeration, 2nd Filming. 0552474 M-593 Roll 975 1870 2nd Enumeration, 2nd Filming. 0552513 M-593 Roll 1014 1870 1st Enumeration, 1st Filming. 0337979 ???? 1870 2nd Enumeration, 1st Filming. 0337987 ???? 1870 1st Enumeration (County Clerk) 1018666 A final note: The handwritten paper schedules of the 1870 census are still in existance at NARA. They are NOT available for casual browsing, but if one can show that a specific page in the microfilm _at NARA in DC_ is unreadable, permission can be obtained to examine the paper schedule. No photocopying is permitted. (Microfilms from non-NARA sources are copies one or more generations removed from the NARA films and may be far inferior in readability.) Thanks to Charles Sullivan RETURN to CENSUS MAIN
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