Start with what you know.  Put your name on a chart or tree on your desktop, or on a public tree.

Talk to family and add names and places as you find them.  Then, pick a name you want to search.     Search the following sites with every possible name spelling:

Search by Name: Start with the major internet search engines  and public family trees.

If you find someone who has traced your family, check their sources  for accuracy.  If you do not find any common family, start searching by place.

Search by Place:  Start by tracing your family back in time through the censuses, that way you can have a road map of places to search for other records.  The most recent U.S. census is 1930 and it goes back in time every ten years to 1790 (few schedules exist for 1890).

Sites for U.S. censuses

Free sites for U.S. sources

Subscription sites for U.S. Sources