Start with a Pedigree Sheet and a Research Log.
(Have you ever said, "I'm sure I've run across this document before. Let's see where did I put that? this pile? Maybe this one over here?? It can be time consuming and confusing to say the least!
right click and save image as researchlog.jpg - then go back and print it out on 8 1/2 x 11 - landscape
Go here for vital information:
Or Start with an Excel Sheet
Column 1 Father
Column 2 date Born
Column 3 Mother
Column 4 Date born
Column 5 Date Married - Place
Column 6 Mother's age at first child
Column 7 First child name
column 8 year born
Column 9 2nd child name
column 10 year born
column 11 3rd child name
column 12 year born
column 13 4th child name
column 14 year born
add columns as needed
Column 20 - Mother died - age:
Column 21 - note any children born "after Mother's death"
column 22 - look for marriage of husband to 2nd wife
column 23 - 2nd wife, year of birth
column 24 - 1st child name - born - HIGHLIGHT IF COLUMN 24 COINCIDES WITH COLUMN 9, 11, 13
Column 25 - NOTE - TRANSFER ANY CHILDREN OF THE WRONG MOTHER TO THE RIGHT ONE.
Sometimes Census data will list one mother and 17 children....many after her death - this is a way to get control of data before it runs away with you.
Also, have you ever searched some records and said, "Haven't I seen this family before?" Make sure you have a column for your y
ear of Census and location so you can handle multiple data and know the answers quickly.
STAY AWAY FROM THE TEMPTATION OF JUST IMPORTING DATA FROM FAMILY TREES
FIRST OF ALL,
Be very careful not to click on family trees without first corroborating the data. It is very tempting to make one click and get 10 generations, but unless you have personally verified the sources and attached them to your tree, you should only use them as a point of reference.
Many people just click and do not see things like,
1) the child was born before the mother
2) the mother gave birth at 7
3) the location just seems like an impossibility, CHECK i.e., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_divided_cities
4) the father became a father before his father was born.
5) clicking family tree imports can put you in an eternal incest loop. If you are off by one generation and import the same data, cousins will be married, their parents are brothers and sisters, the parents are also the parents parents - it just gets crazier from there. just delete or disjoin the people before it gets crazy and do your due diligence to check each link for accuracy.
GREAT COUNTY INFORMATION
data from adjacent counties -
Sometimes it was closer to file documents at the nearest county seat rather than the one in your county, if you didn't have a horse or ability to travel far.
5) Marriages - shotgun weddings - If papa didn't give his permission, they would hop the county line and go somewhere where the female could wed at a younger age without handwritten documentation.
Great article about Counties with changing boundaries - do you search in this one or that one? Depending on the year, there may be different county lines and your person may not be in the county you think of.
Good luck and send me your messages - maybe I can help you find a long lost cousin!