Census records and vital records and how to obtain them.
The Milwaukee Public Library does have books and maps for this information (in form of indexes) but by searching Ancestry and Family Search, you will have all available images of microfilmed census records (Ancestry has scanned images and indexes on their website) to search all census years of a given state.
Listed below is the microfilm federal census available at Central Library with over 250 reels. Also, Central Library's Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room has mortality schedule indexes for various states besides Wisconsin as well as other state census indexes.
Census years 1790-1840 list names of heads of household in every state. Census years 1850-1930 list the name of every person in a household. Only fragments of the 1890 census are available because it was destroyed by fire. Starting with the 1880, it shows the relationship of each family member to the head of household.
City, County, Town, and Township Index to the 1850 Federal Census Schedules
by J. Carlyle Parker.
Index to Federal Census of Wisconsin [microform].
In Full Force and Virtue: North Carolina Emancipation Records, 1713-1860
by William L. Byrd III.
Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920
by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide.
People of Color: Black Genealogical Records and Abstracts
From Missouri Sources
by Teresa Blattner.
Statistical View of the United States
Embracing its territory, population--white, free colored, and slave--moral and social condition, industry, property, and revenue; the detailed statistics of cities, towns and counties; being a compendium of the seventh census, to which are added the results of every previous census, beginning with 1790, in comparative tables, with explanatory and illustrative notes, based upon the schedules and other official sources of information by J.D.B. De Bow, superintendent of the United States Census.
United States Census Key 1850, 1860, 1870
compiled by Leonard H. Smith, Jr.
It is best to use Ancestry for the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules because Milwaukee Public Library does not have these particular schedules. Remember--most schedules will not provide the names of slaves because they were listed only by their race and age. Only the slave owner names are listed on these schedules.
This section lists books that provide addresses to which you can write to obtain birth, death, marriage, and divorce records and certificates in different states.
The Ancestry Family Historian's Address Book: A Comprehensive List of Local, State, and Federal Agencies and Institutions and Ethnic and Genealogical Organizations
by Juliana Szucs Smith.
The State and Province Vital Records Guide
by Michael Burgess, Mary A. Burgess, Daryl F. Mallett.