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Is It Time to Stop Researching? (here are some clues to know)

Frustrated because you can't solve the genealogy mystery? We’ve all been there… researching and researching, wondering if we have done enough and if it is time to stop. Is it even okay to stop? Should we just keep going no matter what? Or can we put the research aside without guilt? Fortunately, there are some sensible guidelines that we can follow to know.

First, consider that maybe you’ve already collected enough to answer your research question. Many times researchers question themselves and whether they’ve accomplished the research goal. Here’s how to find out. Write out your question and answer it using the information you’ve collected. If you can do that in a clear, logical way, you’ve accomplished the goal and don’t need to go further.

If you do not yet have enough research collected to answer the question, ask yourself, “where else would a sensible, good researcher look for answers?” Are there any remaining places to look? [See this post: Have You Found Everything? (here's how to know)]

Consider the quality of the resources you found. You want as original as possible. So if you’ve only used indexes or transcribed documents, go look for those originals. Get copies of that old record in the handwriting of the person who create that record. If you’ve already done that, good for you! Great job! The reason we do this is so that we can verify that the records say exactly what the transcriber wrote. And because those records often have more pieces of information in them than what gets retyped by a transcriber or extractor.

Determine if you've used a variety of sources. Did you use different kinds of records? For example, if you are searching for a marriage, did you search for:
-marriage record
-censuses in which they are listed as married
-land records where the husband and wife are named as such
-death certificates of their children
-birth certificates of their children
-obituaries of the couple and their children
That list is SIX places to look for documentation for a marriage. And there are more.

Do you have at least two reliable sources that agree? That’s the goal. Two sources that support the same fact is a wonderful find. Make sure they are reliable. Try for original sources that have information from people who witnessed the event or were created the authority responsible for recording it (like a court clerk or census enumerator).

Finally, ask yourself this: “do I think there is any way that more info will surface that will disprove my answer?” This test should give you a better confidence that you have done all you can. If you can say, “you know, I can’t imagine that there is anything else at all,” then you know it’s likely time for you to stop researching and write up what you have as an answer to your research question.

Once you’ve considered all this, you will know whether it’s time to stop researching.

Order the proprietary Brick Wall Buster Cards kit today! This program will change the way you research and give you the genealogy answers you need!


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