A gentleman bemoaned the fact that he could not find his ancestor in the 1880 census. When he asked for help, I asked to see what he knew about the ancestor to help formulate a search. Reading the obituary, it was clear the ancestor died in 1875. That would explain the absence from the 1880 census.
Make certain your ancestor would reasonably be where you are looking for him before you spend too much time. And if she died in 1902, search the 1900 not the 1920 census.