I'll share a little background.I was trained as a journalist and raised by a father who was born in 1898.He was a born story teller and histroy buff.
I was raised with a deep sense of the past and how things connected.I am also always in a hurry but willing to take the time to dig deeper and take longer doing it.I will work on a problem for eight, ten, twelve hours non-stop.You might say I'm obsessed.
I do the shotgun approach.I fill my 'arms" with all the reasearch I can gather on the spot, take it home and look at it for years.When in a library, I copy every index (only the names I'm intersted in). and the cover page of the book.This has worked well for me,finding connections years later that I might have missed with out the indexes.
Once when I walked into a library I used often, (I always took roles of dimes)the librarian saw me walking in, stood and made an announcement.'Ladies and gentlemen, if you need to make copise, do it now. Mr. Garton has arrived." To be fair to myself, I always stepped aside and allowed others to make copies.I usually walked out with fifty to sixty pages at a time. Bulk knowledge gets boiled down to specific knowledge.
I once needed to find my Clark ancestors who were in Ohio in 1810.I thought it would be easy.Do you know how many dang Clarks were in Ohio in 1810?So, I made it my mission to identify all of them.I filled one inch binders that eventually filled a shelf about five feet accross. But, I isolated my family. By identifing all the other families and pulling them out of the equation, I moved ever closer to my family.
My method, I guess, often could be said is collect bulk and boil down.Like panning for gold, scoop and swish.The "heavy" information will settle to the bottom.
If you keep staring at the information long enough, and putting it together in different configurations, certain facts and bits of connected information begin to stand out.