Photo : Checklist / Nemo / Public Domain
Part of this process for me has been watching stuff that other people post and learning new tricks and techniques. One such new (to me) technique is the genealogy research checklist. This helped me solve three problems :
Tracking the NegativesI have always kept person-centric notes about the research in which I found something interesting - but I have never tracked what I didn't find. Or where I searched that I didn't find anything. While I don't know of any issues that this definitely caused, thinking about it, I can see how likely it was that I was re-searching for evidence that wasn't there.
I was also, most likely missing vital clues about an individual resulting from the absence of of a record in a particular place. For instance, this evening, I ran through my checklist and searched each census in which my grandfather would have appeared. I noticed that while he shows up on the census with his parents when he was 4 years old, and I can find a census for his parents and his younger sibling ten years later - he isn't on it. This is the first time I've noticed that. Most likely because I was simply looking for his name and when I couldn't find it on a census, probably put it off for another day, assuming I just needed to look harder or differently. When I wrote down that I found him on the 1920 census and could not check off the 1930 census, this caused me to look for his parents, which I found - and realized the clue that had been staring me in the face the whole time.