An excellent way to improve skills and test any method of organization or analysis is to try it on a problem where you “already know the answers.” While it may seem like busywork, it can allow the researcher to effectively hone their skills.
For searchers who are uncertain of their skills using wildcards and other search functionalities on a website, it is often suggested that they try and find a person they know is in the database without using their complete names to search.
This trial and error when the answer is known allows the searcher to focus on learning the search skills more effectively. If you can’t find what you know using your “new and improved” search techniques, how will you find someone you do not know is in there?
The same is true for “mapping” I did with some of my DNA matches. Many of the matches are individuals whose connection to me (or anyone else in the file) I do not know. A better approach to develop understanding and improve the design of the chart may be to create one where I know most of the relationships among the individuals who have matched me on a DNA test.
If I can’t make it work when you know the answers, how do you know it’s working when you don’t?