When you learn the name of an ancestor you didn't know before, do you proceed to "prove" a relationship in a methodical manner? Or do you search sources as they come to mind? Do you search the most easily available sources first? Or do you have some other method? Do you have a list of sources to search and run through those in the same order every time you search for a new ancestor?
This year I learned the name of the father of one of my g-g-grandmothers. It would be so easy to just add it to my genealogy program and mark him found. But I can't do it. I want to be sure the name is correct and then I want to learn more about him - and his wife and children. The minimum information is, of course, death, marriage, and birth dates and locations, but I really want more - much more - if I can find it.
I nearly always start my searches with census records. If I can find the person on a census or two, I then try to think of every other place I might find more information, including obituaries and newspaper articles; cemetery listings; city/county directories; deeds; wills; church records; etc. I use some of the links on my sidebar to see what other sources might be available for the area where the ancestor lives, and then I continue my search. I use a Genealogical Concept Map to note the results of my searches for at-a-glance information and I use a research log to keep track of where I searched and found the information. I also use a Checklist for Completed Searches to remind me of possible sources and to mark off those already searched.
I don't know that one method of searching for a "new" ancestor is more correct than another but I suspect that some methods might be more efficient than others. I'm wondering how the rest of you approach your searches for possible/probable ancestors you've just discovered. Please share!