Once you have your list of individuals with their states and counties of residence, their names Soundexed for 1880-1920, and a list of censuses you expect them to be on, you need to know where you can find the census microfilm and any pre-1880 indexes that may be available.
Microfilmed copies of the federal census are widely available. The National Archives and its regional branches have a full set from 1790 through 1920, with many (though not all) existing indexes. Large libraries and repositories often have complete sets, although some have only the series for your state. Your local library might have selected censuses for your county. The Family History Library has a complete collection, and their copies may be borrowed and viewed at their Family History Centers. Other copies are available through rental services.
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