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Census records are among the most frequently used materials of genealogists and family historians.
From the first federal population enumeration in 1790, the names of the heads of households have been listed on the census, along with other information.
Beginning with the 1850 census, the names of all other members of each household were listed as well, along with other detailed information about them. In successive decades' censuses, more and more questions were asked and more information was included.
For example, in the 1900 census, the birthplace of each individual-as well as that of the individual's father and mother-was listed, an invaluable tool for tracing the location of persons in previous censuses in other locations.
Federal census records for 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 were microfilmed by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and are available for viewing there, at larger libraries and archives with genealogical collections, and at or through LDS Family History CentersT (FHCs).
(The 1890 census has been almost completely lost, with only a few exceptions, as a result of fire and water damage.
(source: "The Basics of Using Federal Census Records" by George G. Morgan read the full article here )
All US Census Links:
Census Archives - US GenWeb
this free site has over 60,000 pages of data online
1880 US Census Search
search the entire 1880 census for free at FamilySearch.org
Search 1790-1930 Federal Censuses from Ancestry.com.
Some Do's and Dont's with Census Records 30 useful tips to get more out of your census research.
Clues in Census Records, 1790-1840 tips from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Cyndis List; US Census has links to many census resource sites
The Soundex Indexing System work out your ancestor's soundex code here
The soundex is a coded surname (last name) index based on the way a surname sounds rather than the way it is spelled. Surnames that sound the same, but are spelled differently, like SMITH and SMYTH, have the same code and are filed together. The soundex coding system was developed so that you can find a surname even though it may have been recorded under various spellings.|
About U.S. Census Population Schedules includes helpful tips for specific census years
U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules Index
(Ancestry.com) Included in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses were questions regarding those who died in the twelve months prior to the enumeration. They list persons who died between 1 June and 31 May of the year prior to the census
US Obituary Search enter your ancestor's name to instantly search the world's largest newspaper archive; over 12 million newspaper pages
US Birth Records
US Marriage Records
US Divorce Records
US Death Records