Enter sources and notes in a consistent format.
[Sources & Evidence]
Make a list of all living relatives before you start your genealogy research. Interview as many of them as possible. Be prepared with a list of questions. Use a tape recorder for the answers or take very good notes. Respect the person's privacy.
There are three types of wills: Attested, Holographic and Nuncupative. The attested will is the most common and is prepared for the testator. A holographic will is written by the testator himself. A nuncupative will is the deathbed wishes of the testator, recorded by a witness present at the bedside. All wills must be witnessed.
Both Civil Registration and Census Returns run out when you get back to about 1840, and rarely provide information relevant before 1800. At this stage you need to turn to Parish Records: These date back to the mid 1500's. Cromwell, at the Court of Henry VIII, ordered that every wedding, baptism and burial should be recorded.
Probate records refer to wills, inventories, letters of administration and guardianship. They are usually held at the county courthouse unless archived and they are indexed by the name of the testator.