In case it's not already totally obvious, family history mapping can be complex and even overwhelming if it gets out of control. Online or in-person courses are regularly offered through local and national genealogist associations for people at every stage in the process. (Two places to try for online classes are the National Genealogy Society and Genealogy.com.) Genealogy conferences will also have classes and tools to improve your search.
Also, old-fashioned, seldom used genealogy terminology can be confusing, so it's helpful to familiarize yourself with some of these seemingly archaic vocabulary words. That way, when you stumble upon a "relict," you'll already know that you're finding out more about a widow in your line and not confuse it with a historical "relic" [sources: AARP, PBS].