A research concept that isn't always easy for me to make allowance for, is how much time and distance might exist between an event in my ancestor's life, and when it might appear in a written record.
Take, as an example, this item that I spotted randomly, in the online holdings of the excellent Kentucky Digital Library at http://kdl.kyvl.org/ . I had entered a surname of interest in the search field, and was taken to this page, published in 1852. While looking over the columns, I saw this notice for someone wanting to buy up, or sell, land warrants held by War of 1812 veterans. It was inserted by Jno. B. Akin of Danville, KY, which is in Boyle County, south of Lexington.
I was struck by how many transactions and names this might have generated, which open up avenues of research for military service forty years earlier. The non-specific nature of the notice, makes me wonder whether mention of service in other states, and an ancestor's place of origin, might have occurred. And how many people in places beyond Boyle County saw the notice, and responded?
We sometimes need to get creative to find that paper trail, even when forty years have passed!