First I started a timeline project, which at first was just for fun, but had an interesting side effect: I started researching people with incomplete information. If all I had was their death year, I looked for the day, month, and place. If I had their birth information and could see they were probably dead by now, I went looking for death information - and so on. Since I started this project I've been able to complete scads of records and add even more family members from census records, online family trees, state histories, etc.
Before too long I noticed that I was adding people to the timeline whose names I wasn't sure were "mine" yet. I knew I needed to either connect or weed out those who weren't connected, which started my latest project: the "all related" project. I have over 15,000 names now, and I've been gathering surnames in certain areas that I know must be my relatives - Dysarts in Missouri, Keens and Copasses in Tennessee, Keithlers and Dragoos everywhere - and had found many that I hadn't connected to my people yet.
What I do is do a PAF search, find my name, click on it, click on "advanced search" and under the search options, click on "All related." I started at ,A and look for anyone who isn't related. When I find a family that isn't connected, I try to find them at Ancestry.com and other databases, and if I find the connection, I'll fill in the information. If I can't, I export them to another file, my "not related yet" file. I've since worked my way down to ,Nancy.
Today while working on William Fenton Keithler, son of John W. and Mary A. (I haven't seen how they're related yet and am starting to think they aren't), I found a reference to my great grandaunt, Cecile Verne Keithler vander Pauwert. At Ancestry.com, a book called "History of Montana" is available for viewing and I found great information about her husband John Daniel vander Pauwert's family. I've searched and searched for her and her husband and sons, and that is one tough name. Not only could census takers not spell it or write it legibly in cursive, but the family went back and forth between calling themselves "Vanderpauwert" and just plain "Powert." Also, John being from Holland originally, I found that in Holland, "vander" or "vanden"-anything is like Smith in English-speaking countries.
At any rate, I found Aunt Verne's husband's and sons' birth information and one son's death information, stuff I'd been looking for forever, and was very happy. Gotta love those goofy little projects that every so often have me doing actual research.