- Draft your own records checklist–what records are available and which ones will be most likely to answer your pressing research questions?
- Remember that every library and archive will have a different set of original records and printed sources.
- If the records you need are not indexed, create your own index as you search the records. It is often more efficient and less time-consuming to index the records as you go through them.
Remember that what you look for you usually can find in today’s databases! In a database of billions, you will find at least 2 or more persons of the exact same name with the same or similar dates. For example, there are more than 2,000 Janet Scotts born the same year near Edinburgh Scotland. You need more details than just her name and year of birth to identify which one may belong to you.
If you research in “instant reject mode” believing that you know the answer before you have collected the evidence, analyzed the data, compared what you already know, and resolved the discrepancies between what you believed to be true and what the records actually say…
I recommend that you constantly question your work–what is true? Constantly gather additional factual information wherever you can, constantly consider new information that may be in conflict with your believings. Just one additional source may change the direction of your research!
…to be continued…please tune in again. Your favorite Tennessee Researcher, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS The record loss in Tennessee counties has led us all astray more than once. Take a little more time, search a little deeper, collect all the people of your ancestor’s name–compare what you find with what you know to be true.