When I started working on my New England families, some of them were fairly easy to research–or so I thought. They were in published genealogies, town histories, published vital records, and other publications. Using those materials was a starting point.
But it was only a starting point. Compilations contain errors (some more than others). Authors may have only relied on a few types of records in creating their compilation or may have relied too much on other compilations and not records of a more original nature.
One of the best ways for me to add to what the compilations contained, correct the occasional mistakes the compilations contained, and put more flesh on the ancestral skeletons was to look at original land, court, and probate records. As more and more records come online in digital format, this becomes easier to do. Those records often flesh out in more detail what’s contained in vital and church records.