U.S. federal census records are a common starting point for most American researchers after they have gathered information from home sources. The population schedules were used for censuses from 1790 to 2000, including the 1885 census for Colorado, the Dakota Territory, Florida, Nebraska, and the New Mexico Territory. The cost for the 1885 enumeration was split between the federal and state/territorial governments.- George G. Morgan, http://www.ancestry.com/s23557/t8018/rd.ashx
Population schedules are, of course, the most frequently used census record type. These are followed by mortality schedules (available for 1850-1885) and slave schedules (1850 and 1860). There were, however, other non-population census schedules used over time for the collection of other information. These include agricultural schedules (1850-1885), industry or manufacturing schedules (1810, 1820, 1850-1885), veterans’ and widows’ schedules (1890), social statistics (1850-1870), and the defective and delinquent classes schedules (1880). We also use enumeration district (ED) maps (1880 to present).
Charts and Forms: http://helpdesk.rootsweb.com/get_started/charts_forms.html
The best advice I've ever heard (thanks, Julie!) is to always read the three pages before and after your target person or family. That is where you will find the in-laws, siblings and parents, the people the children will marry, and fellow immigrants. You can often save yourself YEARS of work with this one simple step.
AllCensusRecords.com - links to USA Census Records, Canadian Census Records, Census Indexes & Images, Census Transcriptions, Blank Census Forms, City Directories, Tax & Assessment Lists, Voters Registrations, Veterans Census, Questions on Census Records: http://allcensusrecords.com/
Censusfinder.com -- Directory of Free Census Records (US, UK, Canada, Native American, Norway, Sweden): http://www.censusfinder.com/
Thanks for this link, Kimberly!
1880/1 US, Canadian & English Census: http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp?PAGE=census/search_census.asp
Canadian 1871 Index: http://www.collectionscanada.ca/02/020108_e.html
Canadian 1901 Census: http://www.automatedgenealogy.com/census/cache/index.html
1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta; not searchable by surname): http://www.archives.ca/02/020153_e.html
1911 Canadian census - search it by locality, not yet by name: http://www.collectionscanada.ca/archivianet/1911/index-e.html
Prince Edward Island (PEI)census indexes 1841, 1881, 1891, 1901: http://www.edu.pe.ca/paro/census/default.asp
Canadian Census substitute 1940-1946: http://olivetreegenealogy.com/can/ont/census.shtml
Canadian census records before 1842: http://allcensusrecords.com/canada/before1842.shtml
English, Welsh & Scottish Census - FreeCen, UK Census Online: http://freecen.rootsweb.com/
1790 Census of Population & Housing (pdf or zip file by state): http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/1790.htm
AIS US Census Indexes at Ancestry: http://ancestry.com/search/rectype/census/ais/main.htm
Search is free, but to view indivual results, you must subscribe.
USGenWeb Census Project (transcriptions): http://www.rootsweb.com/~census/, http://www.us-census.org/
Free! US Census Images (no index I could see): http://www.sources2go.com/
1790 through 1860 U.S. Federal Census, 1818 Illinois Territorial Census, 1820 Illinois State Census, 1835 Illinois State Census, 1840 Illinois State Census, 1840 U.S. Federal Census of Pensioners. Not all years are complete for all states.
US Census Maps 1790-1930: http://www.genealogyinc.com/maps/uscm.htm
Free! 1870 Federal Census of Michigan, index & images: http://envoy.libofmich.lib.mi.us/1870_census/search.asp
Free! Nevada 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 complete extract of the Federal Census: http://www.nevadaculture.org/
State Census (table): http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/kcgs/census.htm
Maryland State Archives Census Indexes 1776, 1778, 1870, 1880: http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/refserv/html/censussearch.html
Search the following Census Indexes available at the Maryland State Archives: 1776 (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Caroline, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Prince George's, Queen Anne, and Talbot Counties), 1778 (Caroline, Charles, and Queen Anne's Counties), 1870 (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties and Baltimore City) and 1880 (Anne Arundel County only).
Michigan County Histories - 192 histories, 1866-1926: http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/micounty/
Every name index for the city of Pittsburgh, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880; Allegheny City 1850, 1860, 1870: http://digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh/
Census Diggins: http://www.censusdiggins.com/census_records.html
GenealogySpot - Census: http://www.genealogyspot.com/records/census.htm
Interesting fee site ($10/yr) - Census Trail: http://www.censustrail.com/ctrail/completed_proj.php
Territorial Papers index and other attempts to recreate lost censuses. So far, they have Territorial Papers of the U.S. [1st phase] volumes 2-9, 12-17; IN Election Returns 1809, 1812; NJ Petitions 1740-1754; Rowan Co. NC Tax Lists 1758-9, 1761, 1768, 1778, 1779; SC Jury Lists 1720, 1740, 1751, 1767; Prince Edward Co. VA Tithables 1773, 1774.
Cyndislist - U.S. Census Records Online: Indexes, Extractions & Transcriptions: http://www.cyndislist.com/census.htm#USCensus Many state census records are included, along with Federal
See if your local library system gives you access to the Heritage Quest US census indices and images. Fully indexed: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1860, 1870, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930. Or join the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Missouri for $20 to access remotely. Looks as if you must visit a branch to pay the fee for a card. http://www.mcpl.lib.mo.us/
NEW! Eastman is maintaining a list in his Encyclopedia of Genealogy at http://www.eogen.com/HeritageQuestOnline of all the places HQ can be accessed for free or low-cost: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2006/07/free_or_lowcost.html
$$$ Of course, Ancestry.com offers all of the US census images, the AIS indexes, and their own linked indexes for 1930, 1920, their 1890 Project, plus the remaining 1890, 1880, 1870, 1850, 1840, 1830, 1820,1810, 1800, and 1790. It is very nice to have access to both Ancestry and HQ. :-)
Footnote.com now offers the 1860 Census in their Civil War collection for $7.95/mo.
The pilot project of FamilySearch is now offering the 1850, 1870, and 1900 censuses, although only 15 states are completed. Massachusetts and Wisconsin state census records are also available. http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch
Geographical search tool on the Morse One Step Site: http://www.stevemorse.org/census/index.html
Historical Census Browser - The data presented here describe the population and economy of U.S. states and counties from 1790 to 1960 (no surname search): http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/
IPUMS - Census Enumerator Instructions (1850-2000): http://www.ipums.org/usa/voliii/tEnumInstr.html
Census Questions and Enumeration Forms: http://www.ipums.org/usa/voliii/tEnumForm.html
U.S. Census Abbreviations: http://www.searchforancestors.com/records/censusabbreviations.html
Census Abbreviations: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~angels/census_abbrev.htm
Census Microdata for Social and Economic Research: http://www.ipums.org/
Juliana Smith - Why I Love the Census: http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/compass/8555.asp?o_iid=831&o_lid=831
George G. Morgan - The Dilemma of Federal Census Copies: http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=6112&o_iid=831&o_lid=831&o_it=6812
The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children. - G. K. Chesterton