7 Understand the record set that you are using
When searching online, it’s really important to understand the scope of any datasets you are using. If you are looking for a baptism, for example, and your subscription website says that it has baptisms for the relevant county, but you can’t find the one you are looking for, then there’s no point playing around with alternative spellings if the parishes you are interested in are not included in the collection, or baptisms for the years you are interested in have not survived. Also what may seem to you to be an unusual name could be fairly common in the area you are searching, and this can lead to false positives. If you find someone with the right name, born at the right time, in the right county, it could still be the wrong person if it’s not in a parish where other family events have occurred. Always check which parishes (and which years for those parishes) are included in any online collection or index. GENUKI ( genuki.org.uk) is very useful because it lists surviving parish records and where to find them.