There is a need to establish a systematic and objective process for evaluating the research potential of farmstead sites so that intelligent choices can be made in deciding which sites should be investigated and managed and which should not. We propose the use of a checklist of traits that measure a site's research potential. Each of the traits in the checklist is assigned a score based on its value in providing important data for analyzing a site. The proposed checklist is a tool for organizing our observations and permitting comparisons from one site to the next as well as one project to the next. Applying the proposed ranking system involves documentary research and some archaeological fieldwork. This checklist approach is put forward in the hopes of generating discussion and suggestions on how best to deal with these types of sites in terms of immediate needs of compliance with federal and state historic preservation laws and regulations.