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!
I get asked a lot. what does "removed" mean? How do you know your exact relationship to someone in your family? Here's a handy Genealogy Relationship Chart. Start with your common ancestor and move through the chart to figure out your relationship.