I simply cannot state this strongly enough for the new researcher.
Most of the time, it can never be stated strongly enough for the more experienced researcher!
We all want to find that data that fits into our family line; all genealogists are looking for that lucky break or that special find.
Sometimes, unfortunately, our desires are so strong that we tend to become somewhat blinded in viewing the records and our translation becomes a little murky or perhaps we lean a little too far in "accepting a fact".
After much searching, we all at times have wanted to believe that this or that person is the one we are looking for.
Please, don't fall into that trap.
Researching takes time, and for that time to not be in vain, it needs to be done correctly.
Don't be so anxious to accept something if you need to change too many items for it to be accurate.
If there are too many instances in a "find" when you are saying to yourself:
"If only" or "well, perhaps"; then chances are you are trying to talk yourself into accepting something that may not be accurate.
Another area in which the new researcher really needs to be aware in their researching is the arena of the internet.
I firmly believe that:
For every researcher in a given surname, there are again that many different theories and versions of "the truth".
The true meaning of the word research is to "search" through the data and find the correct answer. This means that you need to really look at the facts presented to you.
Just because you find:
Great Uncle Joseph Samuels married to Annie Smith and the entry states that they had 9 children and gives their names.
Don't just enter this into your database; don't accept it at face value without actually making some effort to determine if this data is true.
If you do that, you are not researching.
You are reading and copying.
Don't always believe everything that you find on the internet.
Everything isn't the gospel truth.
You must look at your genealogical research with the same seriousness that you look at other things you do in your life.
If you were looking for a new doctor; chances are you wouldn't just go to the first one you find in the yellow pages.
Nor would you accept and go to one just because a friend of a friend said that they thought they were okay.
You would (I hope at least), check out the doctors credentials
By the same token, if one of those doctors stated that they thought you needed surgery; chances are you would ask for a second opinion.
You would weigh the different angles of the situation.
You need to do the same in researching. Check out the sources that are quoted in the entry. Make your own decisions.
If there are no sources quoted in the data entry, then you need to question the entry and at the very least contact the researcher who entered the data.
If they cannot give you a source that you can check for verification; then you should most definitely question accepting the data itself.
As with all else in life, if it sounds too good to be true it most likely is.
I am not the ultimate authority on genealogy research, but I can state one thing with a fair amount of certainty.
You are not going to find that one particular piece of data that will make everything else fall into place at one time.
Researching takes time and effort on your part.
Do your own homework.