Census records from 1850 through 1940 are the backbone of genealogical research in the United States. The United States has conducted a Federal Census every ten years and the records are released for public use after 70 years. Census records prior to 1850 are less useful, because detailed information is available for only the head of household and not the other family members..
Censuses conducted between 1850 and 1940 provide a wealth of information, although what information was gathered varies. Typically, you will find:
If you are not sure that searching for a census record is the next best option for your research, consider using the advice feature of this site. This will help you pick your next best steps in your research. Go to Genealogy Search Advice.