I was using “unindexed” tax records from Virginia in the 1790 era. They appeared to be in rough alphabetical order by first letter of the last name. Except they weren’t.
Several pages would be alphabetical. Then several pages would be unordered. Then several pages would be alphabetical. It seemed as if there were several assessors or collectors for the county and that some sorted their parts of the list and others did not.
Had I stopped when my people were not in the first list, I would have missed them.
If a handwritten list appears to be alphabetical, make certain the entire thing is.