Saturday, June 05, 2010

Do You Have a Brickwall?

I love to hear about other people's brickwall ancestors.  Today I am speaking at the Palm Springs Genealogy Society where we will be discussing brickwalls.  I am most interested in why certain ancestors are brickwalls.  My feeling is that for the most part it is because there is a document somehwere out there that the researcher hasn't found yet.  That document helps to prove whatever fact the person is searching for.

But how do we find that one document?

My advice starts with researching a place you've never researched before. If all you do is internet research, then go out and get to an archive or university library or order films from the Family History Library.

If all you are looking for are vital records and census records then take a great book like The Source, Hidden Sources, or Printed Sources and check out what other records might help you to find information about your ancestor.

One of the things that struck me about the presentations I went to at the NGS conference, is that the speakers talked about records that most of us are not aware of.  We aren't aware of them simply because they are not the records that we hear a lot about.  But those "hidden sources" have great genealogical value to researchers.

Break down a brickwall today by finding that hidden source that leads you to knowing more about your ancestor.


Barbara said...

Hi Gena, I just posted a piece on solving my "brick wall" and it was completely different from all my other methods. You might like to read it, Thanks.

Greta Koehl said...

Thanks for these tips; I'm gonna have to look into some of the unusual sources if I ever want to find the family of my big brick wall (Susan Elizabeth Smith of Tennessee).