With this format I have the names, relevant dates, and places for all of that particular family name in one place.
This is much easier for quickly noting the multiple generations of fathers, sons, and grandsons and how they all relate in terms of geography. (Were they all born in the same county? Did mother and father die in the same area?)
But it also keeps all the mothers tidily grouped with the right generations, as well. Sons stay with their fathers and mothers, whereas daughters are with their husbands. It may not be a perfect scenario, but once you become familiar with the system, it’s very easy to follow.
Now that I have the Family Lists and the State Lists organized and complete, I need a process that defines the next step: What Do I Want To Know?
I already have a few notebooks filled with random and myriad data, such as sibling names and/or dates, land or probate information, questions regarding military service, etc. What I do next is create a “Questions” page for each of the Family Lists. This page literally lists questions I want to answer: when someone moved from North Carolina to Tennessee, or if they served in the War of 1812, or where a particular ancestor is buried, etc. The bits and pieces of actual data I enter on the ancestor’s notes page in the genealogy computer program. The “Questions” page summarizes what I would still like to find out. This unique “Questions” page is stapled to the back of each of the pertinent Family List pages.
In the next post, I will describe the steps in my research process at this stage: I have my tools (State Lists, Name Lists, Questions pages), I have all available information organized, filed, and tallied, and now I am ready to do all possible research before I head out on the road!