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Getting Beyond that Brick Wall

brick wall-aExperienced or a novice, everyone hits a brick wall in trying to locate even a small amount of information on a specific ancestor or even a whole branch.

A few ideas just might provide some inspiration for you put a crack or even break through that brick wall.

First: Be patient — you may not solve the problem of finding your great grandfather, but more than likely eventually you will.

Second: Don’t depend just on one or two resources such a census or birth records. Make sure you have checked military records which include World War I and II draft registrations, military pension applications and city directories.

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Third: Take time to analyze what documents, letters, photos, etc you already have. You could have overlooked a key element. An example, maybe the middle name for your grandmother might be a clue to her mother’s maiden name. It was common to have a female’s maiden name used as a middle name for children, grandchildren or even great grandchildren.

Fourth: Look beyond the direct lineage. See if you can locate the siblings of a lost ancestor. Those same siblings could be the aunts and uncles of an ancestor. These are your secondary lines and many times they could, with some work, lead you back to your main ancestry.

Fifth: Never go by one source as far as vital dates. Men and women will lie about their ages even on official documents. If you looked just at a marriage certificate and the ancestor stated they were age 29 when they got married, make a note, figure the year of birth but check multiple other sources at different time to see if that in deed was the right birth year. If you are looking for an ancestor you thought was born in 1871 and it turns out they were really born 1860 because they lied about their age, you would have a harder time finding the right person, especially those with more common names.

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Sixth: At the next family reunion, party, celebration, or dinner, bring with you just one name or ancestral branch with the information you are fairly sure about and have researched. Write out the questions still remaining to ask them, like where did they live? Get everyone’s attention, asking for just five minutes to bring up about this one person. You might be surprised how many in the family may know of this person and what they can add to your research. If someone states they have an documents, photos, journals, etc connected to this person, make an appointment to get back with them to actually view what they may have. It could turn into a gold mine.

                                                                     Never give up

Related genealogy blogs:

Why Can’t I Find My Relative?

Help with Brick Walls

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