The best way to start is with yourself and your family and work backward.One group at a time. You need to have some names and approximate dates and locations to begin with.
Just a surname is not going to get you anything concrete.
Names of towns are great but the County is more important to start with. Researchers look into Counties first. A town name is just an added bonus. When you do not mention a County name the researcher has to take the time to find it out if they don't already know it.
Here is a good source for determining what county the city or town is in: