For my search, I decided to narrow the search via the
phrase "Virginia Quaker." As with any search, some of the results were
not what I was looking for-in my search at Alta Vista I found a few
personal home pages of families in which I was not interested (however,
it's a good idea to check the list of links on such a site-many people
provide a list of pages with related topics). I did find a page that
featured information on Southern Quakers, complete with a list of online
sources of information for a number of states, including Virginia. A
bibliography of Virginia Quaker books was also found, and gave me ideas
of books to seek via Interlibrary Loan.
Your search technique comes into play here-if you are
unfamiliar with conducting an in-depth online search, take the time
to learn how to use the advanced features of your favorite search engine.
If you don't have much luck with one search engine, try others! I once
scoured the net for medical information about people who have differently-colored
eyes without knowing the medical term (heterochromia irides, just in
case you are ever asked this in a game of Trivial Pursuit) and found
it mentioned only on a few search engines. Persistence is a virtue where
online research is concerned.
When starting a new search, I find it beneficial to
first create a research folder for bookmarks related to that subject.
After a quick visit, if the site looks interesting to me, I file a bookmark
for it under the research folder. Once I feel I have located enough
sites, I go back through the bookmarks and peruse the sites for details
and specifics, eliminating those sites that don't have a lot to offer
or interest me.
There are two reasons for bookmarking interesting sites
without looking at them: I don't want to become bogged down by spending
the time needed to search each newly-discovered site with a fine-toothed
comb, and yet I want to save a "roadmap" of where I've been and what
sites I've already encountered. You may want to approach this "gathering
in" period differently-whether or not you want to conduct a thorough
search of each site as you find them is up to you.