Despite never having taken much active interest in my family history I randomly bought of boxed copy of Family Tree Maker while wandering round some town centre shops (Electronics Boutique in Canterbury?).
Having loaded it on my PC I then entered what I knew - and soon realised how little that was. My solution was to tackle it as you would a jigsaw - looking for all the pieces involving a Townsley and then joining them together. Bradford Reference Library had much of the raw material and after many hours over many days we had plenty of pieces. But sadly they did not fit together. Instead they formed up into a number of unconnected branches. Worse still working backwards through the census years it became clear that the families had moved to the Bradford area from elsewhere.
From there the search range kept expanding and expanding. The total number of jigsaw pieces mushroomed and still the branches did not link into a common tree. So it then became obvious that tracing a family tree is a task that never ends. Every person has two parents and each of them has two, etc, etc, etc. Many also have brothers and sisters who themselves were married and had children, etc, etc.
So now the results of around 20 years of searching are online at these websites of mine -