Planning your research and following your plan will save you hours of time. Below is a PDF I created that works well for me while I am doing research online or in an archives.[embeddoc url=”https://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/190.8ae.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Research-Plan.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google”]
Here is how to complete the Research Plan before you start your research:
- Specifically name which ancestor you are researching.
- Include their full name (with alternate spellings), dates they lived, and location.
- Research Question
- In one sentence, what specifically are you researching. Good examples of questions: Where was John buried? Who were Mary’s parents?
- Bad example: How are the Smiths in this county related to the Smiths in that county? This will take you in rabbit-hole of information overload.
- Now think: What kind of documents would record the information you are looking for? Make a list here under Resources.
- Now look for where those documents are located now – could be archives, historical society, online index, or somewhere else.
After completing the planning, then it time to go do the research looking for the information in the specific documents you listed. Record your Results, even if you didn’t find anything.
Lastly, write down your Next Steps. Would you use different search terms? A different repository of information? Maybe you were at the archives and they recommended you try the historical society. Do you need to spend a couple hours going through microfilm of newspapers to find that obituary? Write it down here.
I hope this helps you like it helped me become a more effective and efficient researcher!