If there “should” be a birth certificate for your ancestor, make certain that there are not delayed birth certificates that have been overlooked. Sometimes these are filed separately from the certificates that were recorded promptly and may have been filed when your relative needed proof of age for employment, social security, etc.
Also consider that your ancestor may not have been born in the jurisdiction that you think he was.
Also make certain that births were actually recorded at the time your ancestor was born.
Determine what materials FamilySearch has before making a trip to a courthouse. While they do not film or digitize everything, it may be possible to access some records before your trip. This will allow you to focus on what is in the courthouse.
And sometimes FamilySearch has digitized the indexes the courthouse created. Use them from home and save time and be better prepared for your trip.
Spit in the tube and wait for your tree.
It’s not as simple as that.
Autosomal DNA test results indicate a relationship. If the relationship is close (sibling, parent/child, aunt/uncle, first cousin), the predicated relationship is usually easy to immediately determine.
But beyond that it is not so clear. Based upon the amount of shared DNA, the precise relationship can be “roughly” determined, but research in paper records, interviews with relatives, and other “non-DNA” research is necessary.
The DNA is only part of the story and spitting in a tube doesn’t mean your ancestry will be spitted right back at you.
It’s more difficult than that.
When compiling your tree, make certain that the geography makes reasonable sense. Some individuals and families do move from one year to the next, particularly if they have difficulties finding work or are somewhat financially unstable. Some families in urban situations may move every time the rent gets so far behind that it becomes a problem.
It’s one thing to move across the street or across town from one year to the next. When that happens addresses may change–but the county or even the parish of residence may not. It’s another thing to move more significant distances on a constant basis.
Once a correspondent had a couple jumping all over Germany for a fifteen year time period with children born in a variety of regions. It can happen. People do move.
I have one family who had children born in three different German towns–towns that were different from where the father was born. In this case the father (and his family) were millers and moved from one rented mill to another. Their occupation is mentioned in church records. Another mover was, for lack of a better phrase, a windmill mechanic in the north of Germany and moved a significant distance at least once in his life. But the rest of them? The day laborers and farm laborers moved, but usually smaller distances (at least for the most part).
In some locations and time periods, it required permission to move into a new area. People were not just allowed to “up and move” to wherever they wanted whenever they wanted. Determine if there were such rules during the time period when your movers supposedly criss-crossed an entire country.
The US 1870 federal census asks for months of birth and marriages for those events that took place within the census year.
In some areas, during some time periods, families we “re-use” names of children who had died as infants or small children. Don’t assume something is wrong if your ancestor has a child Geske born in 1754 and another one in 1756.
It’s probable the first one died.
When saving digital images of records, do not neglect taking a picture of any notes you make and include it with your digital images of actual records.
While working with some Indiana deeds, I made notes while using the index. I made a few notes on those notes as I was locating the records. Sometimes the notes are more extensive than these, but my images and notes need to be in the same place–not some on my computer and others on pieces of paper that can get lost.
Sometimes abbreviations are obvious. Sometimes they are not. When making digit images of pages from a book, always look for a list of abbreviations. Copy that page.
And don’t forget the title page as well.
Remember that the children may not know their mother’s maiden name and what they do know is not first-hand information. They may think their mother’s step-father was her actual father. They may never have met her father and may have a totally “mixed” up version of the name in their head as a result. Or they may be entirely correct about their mother’s maiden name. It depends upon a lot of factors, but keep in mind that information children provide about their mother’s maiden name is not first hand information.
A name change after a marriage may be why a female relative goes “missing.” Your widowed or divorced relative may have had a subsequent marriage of which you are unaware. That could be why they can’t be located. Make certain to check for marriage records after the person becomes widowed or divorced.