Given the amount of detail required and the few chunks of free time I get, I haven't made it very far back in my fancy new database. I was born in California and in my tree I'm still there, documenting records from the 1920's thru 1960's.
On Saturday morning, I browsed through some Los Angeles city directories, available online from the Los Angeles Public Library. I didn't realize how much history I had there, including seven surnames to search. I was able to find a source template to use on RootsMagic, so the entry of information was easy. It just took three hours to get through all the books and names.
I love, love, love city directories because they tell me where people lived, what they did for a living and even sometimes when they died. Always check out the city directories in your research areas.
After lunch, I started on California Voter Registrations: 1900-1968, available at Ancestry.com. Depending on the year, these records can tell you the names an addresses of registered voters, occupations, political affiliations and even neighbors if you scan the page. These records also are helping me narrow down a timeline of marriage, divorce and remarriage for one of my ancestors. I had some trouble finding a ready-made source template for this type of record in RootsMagic. I don't quite understand how to make my own, either. I ended up using a template designed for local records that allowed me to include film roll numbers and voter precinct numbers in my citations. Sort of like duct-tape source citations, I just pounded on that square peg until it fit in the round hole.
Getting through Ancestry's index of California Voter Registrations was easy, though through a little browsing, I noticed that the index is far from complete. For example, a search through the index of voter records for John Smith might give results in 1940, 1946 and 1950, but a manual search (page-by-page) shows records in 1942, 1944, and 1948 as well. I got what information I could through the indexes. Now I am going page-by-page looking for ancestors' names. Sometimes it's easy to find them by precinct. Sometimes it is not. This is just another lesson on why we can't rely solely on Ancestry indexes to provide leads to all the information in a given record set.
Anyway, my marathon session went really well. When RootsMagic users add a source to a particular fact, a check mark pops up on a given person's timeline. It makes it easy for users to see which facts have sources and which do not. In my own experience, I find it very rewarding to look at my own ancestors' timelines and see check marks all the way down the list. That's why I'm staying disciplined with this source rule, and that's why I keep turning those digitized California voter records page by page by page.
The devil is in the details, but so is the family history pay off.