As you do your preliminary searches you should be looking for keywords to note down for later. Write down the names of individuals who played a key role in your topic, write down important organizations, write down dates and places and any other details that you can then enter in a database search later on.
Take a look at this document which relates to the topic of James Madison's relations with Native Americans.
What are some keywords to note:
- "Red Children": paternalistic phrasing revealing how Madison saw those he addresses.
- General Clarke: who was he, is this the right spelling of his name (was it Clark?)
- Names of tribes: Winibagoes, Osages, Cherokee, Choctaws, Shawnee (note he spells it Shawenoe), Sacs, Fox, Iowa (again, he spells it Ioway, note that spelling is not always consistent in primary sources).
- Places: Canada, St. Louis, Mississippi, Lake Michigan, Wabash, Malden
Having read the document and noted down the keywords above, you are now ready to search for secondary sources and other primary sources.