Even though the temperature is frigid outside, I feel my face heating up. I just received a very nice note from a blood related distant cousin. She just gushed about my family findings and my tenacious attitude about documenting sources.
Sources are what makes genealogy much more than a fairy tale. While I always listen to family lore, I also am willing to discount it when I find the facts. Sometimes, the facts bear out the lore. Sometimes, stretching the truth must have sounded more pleasing to those telling the tales.
I was asked about finding records in states that didn't bother with vitals until the 20th century. The best suggestion I can give is to follow the land. It's advice I was given early in my search and it still bears true.
Other great sources include wills and church records. Of course, it's always wonderful to find old newspapers which have been preserved. Once again, some states are better than others at this.
Be sure to spend some time with LDS. They have such an extensive record holding. I would love to spend time out in Salt Lake and just know they would find the answers to my questions. Ah, one day, one day.
I also lurk around in the county genealogy forums in which I am interested. Sometimes, I'll hear suggestions from others that open my eyes to a new way to research the family. Occasionally, I stumble across another family member.
The best advice I can give is don't give up. Take a break sometimes. When you come back, some information may just literally jump up off the page for you.
Last, be willing to help others. You just never know when the kindness will be returned.