The best way to proceed with a Surname Project is to have given some thought to the approach of your study. It won’t always be a perfect method and it may change over time depending on a variety of factors and I touched on methodology briefly here and here.
I have changed my method during the time I have been a Guild of One-Name Studies member several times and did this as I changed my aims and developed the idea of using the Members Website Project (MWP) which is a Guild members benefit.
The method that you will use to collect material will vary depending on:
- The material you are collecting – which data set
- How easy it is to obtain the material?
- Are you taking a research trip?
- Are you grabbing a day to research whilst on a family holiday or with limited time?
- Are you downloading a data set from an online resource with an access time frame? (it is free for a limited time)
- The way you are storing material that you download.
All of these considerations should enable you to establish a working plan. That way you should have a less cluttered approached to collecting material. Whatever you do, if you need to shelf one data set and work another because of any of the reasons mentioned here or others, record where you got up to and always record nil results. Will touch more on this element in the next few days.
Those who are a members of the Guild will see an article in the Journal on the the subject of Methodology in the next few months, but do take the time to devise a working “action” plan.