While roaming around archive.com a few days ago, I made a discovery. They have the 1900-1930 Federal Census microfilm digitized. These are the actual census sheets and some soundex (depending on the year) available for free.
It’s not ideal to work through the census sheet by sheet especially if you aren’t sure of the locality or are dealing with a large city. However, this may be a good option for folks who cannot afford a subscription to an online database or are not able to get to a library or Family History Center where there is access.
From what I’ve seen the copies at archive.org are very good quality. You have the option of reading them online or as a PDF file. You can also save a page to your computer by right clicking your mouse then clicking on “save image as”.
These documents are found under the subject heading “Register of births, etc.” I clicked on the link for that subject heading to see what else might be available. There were multiple page listings of vital records for various towns in Massachusetts, census records for other states, vital records for towns in Connecticut, and so on. This is the results for the search query subject: register of births, etc.
It can be a bit tricky navigating archive.org’s database. It always takes me multiple attempts before I locate something that I know I saw before. It appears that finding one item, then using the subject in the search is the easiest way to find other items. I was able to find specific census collections by using this search:
subject:”Registers of births, etc” census california 1850 (quotation marks around Registers of births, etc.)
I’ve also found limiting the search to Texts (found in the drop down menu that starts off “All Media Types”) helps eliminate some of the items I’m not interested in. Unless I really want to see videos and other materials, I limit myself to Texts.
If you’ve never explored archive.org, go take a peek. You never know what you’ll find. I sure didn’t know about all these census records!