Read the Whole Thing Before Thinking Too Much

It can be tempting to see one “juicy” clue in a document and want to run with it and begin researching it as soon as possible. It can be tempting to see a relative’s name in a document and conclude that the record has to be on him. It can be easy to misinterpret a word, get that incorrect meaning stuck in your head, and create a brick wall where none existed.

Read the entire document that you’ve located. Think about what it says. Think about what it does not say. What does that document really imply? What does it not imply? Is there something you are hoping to see in that document that is not there?

It may seem like needless advice, but you might be surprised how easy it can be to read part of a document or file and jump off on further research when that unread portion either conflicts what you have read or provides additional detail to make further research easier.