First the census records from 1790 to 1940. Then, you must search all earlier records in the county where the ancestor resided. This is where the red meat is. Best to compare all the census informations with county records from the earliest days. In other words, a true research gathers all possible facts on the counties and states where persons having your surname resided. I gather the facts, then complete family group sheets for every family. That prevents double-work and wondering how that reason is related to you. We all have cousins and cousins removed.
Where to find images of last wills and testaments online.
Virginia Pioneers "Subscribe to 6 genealogy websites for $150 for one year"