One of the first things a genealogist does is to try to pose a question when looking for that elusive ancestor. Much of it resembles a scientific method where you pose a question, develop a hypothesis, and then the method of proving it is developed. Each method needs to be, dare I say it, methodical. Before starting on an ancestor, update your family group sheet. Fill it out and update it as to new siblings, families, etc., including vital statistics and census information. You might also do a timeline on the family. With this data, you are then ready to embark on finding that elusive ancestor, that brick wall. Analyze all your data, pose your question, state your hypothesis , and then methodically search. Don’t forget to file your findings.