20 September 2015

Original Research, Where Should you Start? 52Q W16

This week we will focus on the question

Original Research, Where Should you Start?

Now that we have gathered information, organized our records, and decided what we want to learn about it is time to plan out where to begin.


Depending on your goal, or the question you want and answer for, you may need to break up the goal into small steps. Like I talked about in last weeks post, you need to start with an individual or family  you could research to move you toward your goal. These closer relatives are usually easier to research and will give you a great foundation and more information for the path to the answer of your question.


If you use a tool like Kinpoint to visualize holes of missing information it is important not to start with the hole but with the closest relative for which you have information.

It is easy to be distracted from your main goal and follow research in a different direction. Sometimes this side research can be fruitful but it is best to stay within the same family and within your goal. Start with the easiest research goals first and progress to the harder goals.  If you come across a trail of information you can always create a to do list or another research log about what information you may find and set it aside for when you complete this goal.


Crista Cowan work for ancestry.com and she vlogs about many different genealogy and Family History topics. The above YouTube video is about To-Do Lists.


I use Legacy to keep track of my to-do lists. With the To-Do list I can separate out visits to the Family History Library so I can get copies of the indexed records I have found. I also add a to-do if I think of a place to look for more information about a specific individual. The main purpose of the to-do list is to help keep you on task with your goal. 

This helps you with a larger question of where to start, so every time you sit down to do work you have a great list of places to start. In coordination with your research log it makes your start up time shorter so you can spend more time doing actual research.