In our family line, particularly the proven Y, we have started with Burke's for Ireland.
The core history is post Cromwell - so not pre 1500 and barely pre-1700. The records in Ireland are very uneven particularly for Protestants due to the burning of records. So unless there were legal enquiries made back across to England before this occurred, you may have nothing but a town to work with.
Even this history, you may want to supplement considerably and yes as I said they are weak on marital records sometimes added by the editor close to publication rather than the family.
So given that set of variables: we have found the following extremely helpful in establishing relationships and continuity and relative dates (here as is the general case, straight vital statistics are useless unless your can actually story board it, because they also contain error, or the wrong people are connected.
1) Wills - we have an extensive number of wills by which we can actually recreate the entire social milieu and pick up the children not mentioned in Burke's or married names of daughters, birth orders of son and daughter groups.
In one will we have over 50 recipients of 38,000 pounds, and how they related. We have connected 45 of them and the other 5 may be a clue to the lone Y with a different surname - our only connection with that name.
We now have about 8 key wills connecting about 120 people with intersection points and will continue to add as we find them
2) Professions: Most of our people were employed by the military, the clergy, members of parliament, the banks, lawyer, magistrates or in our case, a very unique three generation history of the modernization of the apothecary trade. These people were always ON THE MOVE- and leave trails in the literature key to their profession and required authentication of personal details as part of their daily work.
3) Newspapers - there are ample references to the people within these trades or personal notes of their travels and births and deaths.
4) Lawsuits. While the results of these may or may not have been beneficial, they leave a trail where all identities were submitted to the legal process
5) Silly notes - in one case, even a sheepish notation of a slightly neurotic man borrowing money from his brother
6) a bit of notoriety -good or bad - saints, sinners and saint/sinner lol.
7) I have also done walking tours of various places, to see what is near and far, the history of the churches where people were said to have been connected to, their work places etc
With all the above, we have been able to correct Burke's where there are errors or omissions and in fact end up with a perfectly validated record.
Birth dates are not perfect though as there was more concern about the emergence of individuals
But unfortunately, if people go back to Burke's alone, they will undo all this research and bring it back to where we started.
But in this respect,I DEEPLY APPRECIATE THE WORK OF THIS GROUP AND THE PLACE TO COLLECT AND STORE!
These practices that we have applied are not unlike those required for pre 1500 and those which we have worked through connections to the Baltic Nobility which has been quintessential in the work that is being done here on it.
Simply to connect my fourth great grandfather, whose story is improbable but leaves a massive breadcrumb trail all over the place (completely unique family name), in addition to all those records, we have gone to the official Adels (their Burke's only much better), the notes submitted for edit that were and weren't accepted, the records below that and in the end, every shred of documents in the archives on the house - my fifth great grandparents even have their Senten house including messy divorce on the internet. These all supplement
These may be tiny "tinpot" countries but because they were always under attack, their contingency plans for records were unparalleled
So both those exercises with the Adels and Burkes takes genealogy a step further and makes it valuable as it interacts, makes, supplements and even revises history - and it is when all can be put into context that you can rest and move on