Less than 5% of the research materials available to you is on the net. Further, stumbling blindly around the net and wasting time with folks who likely know less than you do, or playing with most pay-for-genealogy websites, is akin to shooting at the woods from the back door hoping to bag a squirrel for breakfast; slim chance, indeed. However by venturing into the woods where squirrels more likely will be found, your chances of coming home with something to eat are much greater than trying from the back door.
Similarly, going by phone, net or in person to the records of the city, county or State "where" an ancestor once lived and digging in the records at those places, the likelihood is greater that you will come home, having enjoyed a more satisfactory hunt. I suggest to all my students that during their first interviews with relatives they ask and note the places "where" and when - or approximately when - any ancestor lived, review any writings or mementos those relatives might have, and then run - do not walk - to the websites that deal specifically with the records of those "wheres",
Think of your own life experiences; the vast majority of records about you were created and recorded in your local courthouse, occasionally at the State offices and every now and then at the Federal level. Many of those records remain in that courthouse; many more than you will find on the net. So, go where where the squirrels are and don't nerely shoot at the woods,