As previously mentioned, the first part of the process comprising the Genealogical Proof Standard is to conduct a “reasonably exhaustive search” for all records relevant to your research problem.  We have already discovered and analyzed two records regarding our subject Robert S. Tarleton.  While these two records begin to build our body of knowledge about Robert S. Tarleton, it is clearly not enough.  The last post described steps to creating an effective research plan.

At this point, we already know several facts about Robert S. Tarleton, including his parents’ and siblings’ names.  So for the purposes of this research our goal will be simply to learn as much as we can about Robert S. Tarleton and his life as a free man following the Civil War.

Having investigated the records available for Colleton County, South Carolina, the following table shows a preliminary research plan:

Record Group
Searching for…
1880 Federal Census
Robert S. Tarleton household
1900 Federal Census
Robert S. Tarleton household
1910 Federal Census
Robert S. Tarleton household
1920 Federal Census
Robert S. Tarleton household
1930 Federal Census
Robert S. Tarleton household
Lowcountry Africana
Colleton County Freedmen’s Bureau
Tarleton work contracts
South Carolina Archives
Online Indexes
References to Robert S. Tarleton
Google Books
References to Robert S. Tarleton

The records chosen for this preliminary research plan are those available relatively easily online.  The next research plan created may be those available for rental on microfilm through our local Family History Center.  Then we would follow up with a list of original records held in South Carolina—either for a research trip ourselves or for hiring a professional researcher in South Carolina itself.

It is also important to note that, at this point, the final column will be blank.  You will record the results of your search in this column.  Be sure to include any important details or clues to other records, as well as a full source citation for each record located.  You cannot neglect this final step, for it will allow you to find the same records again, as well as any other researcher to follow up on your research.

In our next post, we will examine the results of the above searches to compile all of the information that we have collected so far.

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