Much like carpenters, we genealogists have to be careful and make sure we know what we’re working with before we get started. It is imperative we take a "Sir Mo Farah" versus a "Usain Bolt" approach to our research because research is a marathon, not a sprint.
Slow down, people!
Especially slow down when you are in an unfamiliar repository—whether you are standing in it or accessing online in your pajamas. Slow down.
Allow me to give you a “fer instance.”
I love to research from the comfort of my own home as much as the next genealogist. HOWEVER, I also LOVE to pick through musty, old, crumbling deeds and wills in courthouses.
When I arrive, I have a thing I like to do. I like to slowly walk around the room a couple of times just looking at what’s in there. Then, I like to walk it in the opposite direction.
I know many a courthouse clerk has thought me cuckoo, but there is a very good reason for me, or anyone else to do this: No two courthouses are the same.
- Some have records stored in more than one room.
- Some have records stored on multiple floors.
- Some use books with numbers, while others use books with letters, and some have used both numbers AND letters.
- Some have indexes separate from the books while others have books containing indexes and still others have a combination of both AS WELL AS indexes on that computer over there in the corner.
So all that walking around before I dig in is useful.
Here’s one more reason to slow down: Sometimes there’s more than one “Will Book 1.”
So, slow down and look around—measure twice, cut once!