Genealogy #OffTheGrid

Ground Research: The Do’s & The Not So Much

What’s the secret to ground research? Three words quickly come to mind. Some of you would say, plan ahead, stick to a schedule, and create a goal. Ha, are you serious? Why is it not a good idea to begin with this lineup? One of the worst things people do is place their research on an assembly line. Before you commence with the eye roll, hear me out.

Plans are good but only if they allow changes. A solid research plan does not exist. Why? Because with any investigation, the research guides the existing strategy, not the other way around. Get your thoughts together and allow your plans to think ahead. Example: you finally arrive at the courthouse only to find the records burned 50 years ago. With precise planning and investigating the source, this situation could have been eliminated.

Schedules are great if you’re punching a time clock. At least then, you will know when to clock out for lunch or a break. Example: You are meeting a friend at lunch, and since your morning is free, you’ve decided to stop by the library for a few hours of research. Suddenly, you’ve located an incredible find, but you must leave to meet your friend in time. In this case, the exploration should have been conducted after the meeting with the friend and not before. Why? Random digging needs free time with no strings attached. The entire time you spend on the research is hampered unconsciously by the deadline time you set with your schedule. Allow me to elaborate. Say that you want to explore a specific map in the library. You already know where the map is and can quickly gain access to it, and you are only studying the map. Wouldn’t you say a few hours would be sufficient to accomplish this task? Absolutely. Here is another way to look at it. What type of research are you doing today? Day or night? Night, meaning with no clues, a random search. Day means you know where you are going, a clear path.

Who doesn’t love a good goal? It keeps us on the right track without many turns or mishaps. We can dodge the rabbit holes and concentrate on the road. But sometimes obstacles are in the way for a reason enabling our four-wheel driving skills to break through. Open goals are much better. Why? They change when you need them to. In other words, they are temporary fences that don’t block the green grass from the other side.

What’s the Real Secret?
Don’t be your worst enemy. Use your natural instincts and observe the current conditions. Knowing the road; you’re on is the most crucial. Nobody knows this better than you. Don’t forget to admire the view and enjoy your adventure. Oh, I almost forgot to share my three words. Explore, resolve, and soar.


1-Explore your surroundings.
2-Resolve and prove your mission.
3-Soar to great heights and enjoy your accomplishments.
Know what you’re doing. If you have nothing to go on, no clues or hints, think about where you are searching. What do they have on hand? What are they missing? Investigate the source. Use your time wisely. In school, I received a fair grade on this, but over time, I’ve accomplished my hours to work with my research and not against me. Don’t limit your ability or your horizons. Keep the windshield clear and enjoy your journey to the past.

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