You will not remember what names and variants you query in what database. Keep track of the website or database you are using and the names that you have searched for at that website or in that database.

A table or spreadsheet will allow you to track the searches. The columns can be those search terms you actually used–not necessarily every search box on the site.

Tracking searches is especially important if you cannot find the name easily in a quick search. I will be honest:

I don’t make a chart for every person I search for–but I do make one when I cannot easily find a person. Failing to do so is asking to go in circles.

Without tracking what you have done, you cannot effectively determine what to do next.



5 Responses

  1. On the other hand, not looking in the same place for the same name might keep you from ever finding it. New information is added every day. You have to do the insanity thing, expecting different results.

    • One has to look in a different way or in a different place. Looking in the exact same database or record set the same way probably isn’t going to locate any different results. Looking to see if new records are available is something we all should be doing.

  2. I find it more important to chart the contacts I make over the years. I just wrote a museum asking for their help. And I contact individuals who may have information on their family trees (correct and incorrect). Or who helped me 17 years ago (I forgot him, he remembered me because he’d charted the conversation). Those are the ones I find it helpful to chart.

  3. This is a timely hint and an excellent one. I ended up doing the circles of blank results last night. Thank you. I agree though that going back to a database to recheck some time in the future is important in case new data has been added.

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