On my way home from RootsTech I was inspired to renew my research on my brickwall ancestor, John H. McKee. I started by writing down my research question: When did John McKee die? Followed by a research plan. To put my research plan on paper I pulled out a form I had developed a while ago but that I haven’t used lately. It turned out to be really helpful for the task.
I started with recording everything I already knew about John by referencing the facts and sources that are already in my tree.
Then I made a list of my “next steps,” or sources I wanted to look for. During this part of the process I searched a few online catalogs and wrote down books I wanted to check, online collections to browse, etc.
Turning the form over I was able to make notes as I worked. Of course, for such a difficult ancestor, I need more space to write, and for that any printable research log you like will do. Once I exhausted what I could access online, it was time to make some trips to offline sources. Last weekend I made a trip to the Allen County Public Library, where some of the Dayton City Directories I needed were available on microfiche.
Unfortunately, that trip alone didn’t answer my question, however, the directories allowed me to reduce the upper limit of the date range for John’s death from 1857 to 1856. I made note of this on my form. If I had found an answer to my question I would have recorded it at the bottom under “conclusion.”
I have found this one-page research form to be easy to take with me and easy to keep my thoughts collected in one place. If I need more sheets for notes or research logs, this makes a great cover sheet to summarize my work on the problem. I hope you will find it useful for your research or inspiration for making your own one-page research form!
If you want to use my form you can download it HERE.