How to Search Census Records for Free

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Census records are a very important resource in learning your family history. Regardless of whether you’re searching for school or pleasure, there are many ways you can find this information for free.

Necessary Information

The only information you need to search census records is your relative’s name and the state where he lived. Census records started in 1790 and are taken every ten years. There is a 72-year restriction on access to the records according to the National Archives, so if you’re looking for more recent records, you might not find them.

Where to Search

You can search census records for free by looking through microfilm at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., or any of their regional facilities. These are located in Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Worth, Kansas City, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Riverside, California. Many state and public libraries also have local records on file. Some records are available for free online through the USGenWeb project. and also have a number of records online. These services are subscription-based, but you can access them for free at any National Archive facility and many libraries.