Before the first recorded census there was the 1783 tax record, in some states. Then comes the 1789 tax record, again only in some states. Many of Virginia's early records were burned by the British. A real issue for a genealogist! ;p
Which census was that? - Organize Your Family History
Social Security form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate. This is not necessarily true! There is high error on SS Records due to the misreporting of death dates, names, etc. by funeral home personnel. So, must always have more than one source when using SS or Birth Records.