Every genealogist has run into an ancestral brick wall. Some researchers might even say that brick walls are inevitable.
One way to bust down a brick wall is to take every piece of information you have about your brick wall and then:
- Create a table with basic facts and sources about your brick wall ancestor/family. (I love tables!) This will give you a visual about what you know versus the holes in your research.
- Re-read every source document to make sure you did not miss any facts.
- Re-evaluate the reliability of the information in the source document. When was the document created in relation to the event? Who was the informant? Are there motives for someone to lie or stretch the truth?
However, it isn’t enough to only know the information you have and the information you are missing. Sometimes, you need to be the master of the time period, region, or ethnic group. The easiest way to do this is to create a research guide for the time period, region or ethnic group you are researching. Include in your research guide:
- Records and record types available
- Where can you find these records?
- What records are destroyed?
- Are there any record substitutions?
If you are organized, then you are more likely to reach a breakthrough!
What are your brick wall busting tips?