The first thing Diane Florence Gravel, CG told her audience was to join the FAN club! For genealogists this means following Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors of your ancestors. She credited Elizabeth Shown Mills for this concept.
A good place to look for FANs is in the family bible. Family lines may be written there, though Ms. Gravel warned to check the publication date against the dates written in the family pages for verification of information written there. Was it noted as the event was happening – birth, marriage, death, or were these events recorded well after?
If you are not in possession of your family bible, and wish you were, try searching Cyndi’s List, the National Genealogical Society, Biblerecords.com, local historical societies and libraries. Even check ebay!
Other sources you may not have thought of where your ancestor might be listed are lineage societies, church records, Library of Congress, military records, account books, poor farm records, land maps, Google books, and criminal records.
Ms. Gravel suggested that when using the Library of Congress NUCMC index of manuscripts print the instructions as they have to be followed exactly if you want a successful search.
Her parting advice was don’t give up. Use the FAN club to push through those brick walls.