Distribute freely for noncommercial/nonprofit and include this header.
NATURALIZATIONS AND OATHS
I've found two important lists available. One is the US Oath taken around 1777 by what seems to be immigrant heads of households. They are available in copied forms from the counties where the oaths were taken.
The other list is of naturalizations from the 1730's through the 1760's. I don't know why these folks needed naturalized since they seem to have been when they entered the country. Maybe they lost their papers ? ? Maybe they redid the naturalizations. Anyways, it seems like the same people are listed, that is, immigrant heads of households. See the book Naturalization in the American Colonies for names, dates, and locations (by Giuseppi, not sure where it can be purchased).
Get them, all of them ! Every ten years from 1790 to 1920, except 1890. Prior to 1850, only a tally by sex and age is listed for each head of household. With 1850 and on, names of family members are included. Write down not only the names, but the roll, page, line number etc., and also occupation, birth place, etc. You may want to come back to recheck an age or something and don't want to reread all those pages. In PA, there are index books available in libraries and historical societies from 1790 to 1860 (1860 books are rarer). Soundex indices are available from 1880 on (I think). Don't worry about soundex yet, other than if your looking in a big city after 1880, you better find a soundex index or mail/phone order the page from someone who does. For census records from a big city, I usually pay someone to look up that page. In areas where I have several relatives (direct and sibling) in one area, I just buy the census role. A book that lists counties and role numbers is:
This is probably the best book they publish, and I highly recommend it. It also contains dates/origins of townships and counties, township maps, and a lot of ads. OK, it ain't perfect, but there's a lot of good info.
Census roles $15 (expect to wait), soundex search $10, copy page $9. Call for other info if you're interested. County libraries and historical societies usually have the roles of their counties and surrounding ones.
How do you read the role ? ? If you're patient, a strong light and an eye loop works. Or you can take the role to your local library. I usually use an eye loop so I have more time to examine it. You can actually scan a good sized city on one role in a few hours on a motorized machine, so don't be afraid to manually look at the whole city for an ancestor.
Make sure that you look at the actual page and not just the typed versions. Some numbers are of questionable interpretation !
Don't take the numbers too seriously ! People lied about ages (or just didn't care). Some numbers ended up in the wrong column. And all the people in a household are NOT relatives. You can see in the 1850 census that there are other children who lived with neighbors and friends or maybe just a family better able to feed them. Children were loaned out regularly, permanently, or just for the summer in the farm areas, though you may not think of doing it in today's society. If it happened in 1850, it certainly happened in the censuses prior to that, so don't invent or kill off children that don't make the numbers work out.
I'm not sure how much attention to pay to 'adjacency'. That is, if you're looking for Jacob Conrad's wife who's maiden name was Smith, and Jacob Conrad is listed next to a Smith in the census, write it down. I've found this relationship useful, but I don't think it's all that great of an indicator of relationship - probably more of a tool for getting a direction.