This is one I think we will all be guilty of. We’re hunting down an ancestor, looking here, there and everywhere. We search newspapers on Findmypast then head to ScotlandsPeople and Ancestry making all sorts of searches; then we have to stop. We’re right in the middle of our research and we have to put the dinner on or go to bed! When we come back to our research we can’t remember what we’ve searched already and end up doing it all again.
I like to keep a simple research log. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You could write it in a notebook, use a spreadsheet or make a simple Google Doc. An electronic note is useful as you can paste the URLs of entries.Kirk Session records on ScotlandsPeople. I may come across an entry which could be relevant but I’m not sure. I copy and paste the reference above the entry and put this in a Google Doc, then I copy the URL. The URL is the text in the address bar at the top of the page that will start https://www.scot…. Copy and paste the whole thing, even if it’s really long. I then make a quick note like “could be X, Y or Z person but not sure”.
I will also record what I have searched and by which terms. For example, if I am searching newspapers on Findmypast I will record who I have searched for and by which spellings. I do this even if the search didn’t result in any interesting finds! I may also make notes of things I should search for next time.
This means if I have to break off halfway through my research I can pick up where I left off next time.