Genealogy research can be frustrating, especially when you can't seem to find the information you want. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search:
- There aren't records for everything.
- Sometimes it seems like there should be a record of where someone lived or how they traveled, but you can't find it anywhere. Keep in mind that records were not created for every event in the life of every person. It's possible that the record you are hoping for does not exist.
- Ask yourself: is there a reason that this record might have been created and preserved? Would it have been useful to a business or legal agency? How and where might it have been preserved? An archivist can help you with this type of thinking.
- Records aren't always in alphabetical order.
- Archival records are stored in whatever order they were originally created. Often this is chronological rather than alphabetical. Unless you know the exact date of a record, it can sometimes be very difficult to find.
- Fortunately, many records are indexed, meaning that someone has gone through the labor-intensive task of creating an alphabetical list that we can reference. However, keep in mind that not all records are indexed.
- Your ancestors may have moved around a lot.
- We sometimes think that our ancestors stayed in one place for generations, but this isn't always true. People often moved from county to county or even state to state for work and other opportunities. Sometimes, the records you are looking for will not all be in the same place.