Use a good genealogical software package to maintain your records and your digital files.
A time line begins with your ancestor's birth and is filled in with various events in his life. Continue to fill this in as information becomes available to provide a picture of your ancestor's life. Several of the genealogy software programs assist you with this.
Of primary interest to genealogists are service records and pension records. Many records are available through the National Archives.
Hometown Records may include newspapers (obituaries, special events, parties, etc.), City Directories (names and occupations of town residents and business information), maps (check boundary changes over time) and town and county histories.
A General Family Relationships Chart is a "Family Graph Chart." Names of family members or couples are written in boxes. Optional lines highlight the relationships. Use with generations going down, or across.
[Charts & Forms]