TSGS Cruiser Blog

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Brick Walls"

What's this all about?

Have we reduced genealogy to building walls? Well sometimes we have built our own walls that we can not get past. What I mean by that is how we do research. We sometimes get excited about new leads or the volume of new information. When this happens, we sometimes do not begin to build a solid foundation for our research... making sure of our sources and evaluating the evidence before we continue. Now, you would think that building a poor foundation would make tumbling a brick wall easier! This fact would be valid except that we have piled a lot of garbage & other waste products around the wall to fortify it. Like the old joke about college degrees: "BS, MS & PHD" - the last being "piled higher & deeper." You might ask about making a solid foundation, wouldn't that make it harder to knock down a brick wall? No, because your documentation and sources provide lots of doors and windows to the previous generations.

However, sometimes we have been doing quality work building our family history, but records are missing or there seem to be few clues to where to look for our ancestors. Much has been written on this subject. Cyndi's List has a whole category devoted to this subject with 38 links to sites that attempt to help us tear down brick walls stopping us from going back in time. The category is called: "Hit a Brick Wall?" http://www.cyndislist.com/hitbrick.htm The first link is for buying a copy of the book "500 Brick Wall Solutions to Genealogical Problems"... we have a copy of this book at Willard Library. I reviewed it for the Tri-State Packet several years ago.

Good luck & keep digging and knocking down brick walls!

- Written by JGWest


Terry Winchester said...

Thanks for the article, John. I reviewed Cindy's List before I even made that comment. What I found was ideas that every genealogist follows before they hit the proverbial "brick wall". Probate Records/Estates, Deeds, Vitals; all really great resources. But then, you still run into the wall. I don't know, maybe I'll await the mothership records to come out, cause I know that's where mine went :))

John G. West said...

Terry, be sure to let everyone knows when that "mothership records" comes out! Getting back to those brick walls is usually the result of not checking all of the records available which includes all of the records where all of the family (heirs) lived. I have found information for an estate in Hart Co., KY in Texas. One of the children recorded an estate settlement where he lived in Texas... the other heirs recorded it in Hart Co. & it was lost when the courthouse was destroyed! Becoming creative as to where to look, is very helpful, too!