After you're exhausted HOME SOURCES and not before, it's time to actually do RESEARCH. In the old days before the Internet, that meant traveling to the closest family history library or courthouse to search for VITAL RECORDS-birth, death and marriage records. Now with the Internet available all over the world, research is as close as your finger tips. You can search for your roots in your pjs and robe at 3 am on your home computer if you want to.
First of all, you need to decide WHICH line or surnames you are going to search. If you're looking for information in a certain LOCALITY, I would include all family maiden and married names of the siblings who lived in that same area. So if I were looking for my great grandpa Stevens family in Oakley, Utah, I would also check at the same time for his wife my great grandma Clara Wilkins' family plus the married surnames and maiden names of their children and their spouses-if you want their information also.
If you haven't gotten ORGANIZED before, now is the time. Remember those manila FOLDERS with surnames on them. Get out the approriate ones. In the main folder for the surnames Stevens/Wilkins I would put a RESEARCH LOG which is just a list of what you've searched for and the results in a folder to keep track of your discoveries. It's important to document where you found the information if you need to check it again. Soon it's time to try to fit the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle called genealogy together to form a complete picture of your family history.
After HOME SOURCES, I would start researching on the INTERNET before heading to a family history library or courthouse because some of those family records might just be online. Genealogy is getting easier by the day because of the Internet. All you need is a few facts like your grand parents' or other older relatives' names, birthdates and places then you can do a GOOGLE search-to be explained in more detail tomorrow.
HAPPY birthday today to my oldest son Frank and my friend Susi Q born on the same day!