What To Do When You Hit A Brick Wall In Your Family Tree Project

Family trees a wonderful illustrations that depict a family’s rich and colorful lineage. There are different family tree types, and you may feel free to use which type suits your fancy. However, once you’re in the middle of your search for ancestors and long-lost relatives, and you hit a brick wall, what should you be doing? What if you don’t know your ancestor’s parents, or where they originally lived, should you be stopping your family history search?

Everyone Will Run Into A Brick Wall at Some Point in Their Family History Search

Once the trail of clues in your family history search starts to muddle, or get nowhere, this should be time to know that you’re actually running into a blank wall. If your research on a particular ancestor runs into a stopping point, don’t panic. Maybe it’s just time you change your game plan. Here are some nice tips to follow.

  • In your process of doing your family tree research, you will most likely be running across other distant relatives who have the same descendants. The information they may have on a few people could be useful to you. Try comparing notes, and select the information that may allow you to build into your family tree, and fill up the blank spaces.

  • Review the details you already have. Organizing your files, and reviewing your facts may help you uncover the clues that you’re painfully looking for.

  • Go back to your original source. Who knows, you may have misread a person’s name, or misinterpreted a relationship. Always make sure to go back to your original records. Make photocopies or digital copies of any document or transcription, and record all documents and clues, regardless of whether they’re important or not.

  • If you hit a brick wall on a certain ancestor, extend your family history search to his or her family members and neighbors. If you cant find a birth certificate of your ancestor which lists his or her parents, try finding a birth certificate for his siblings. Re-check your original sources, and find out if you’ve wrongly-entered a census record, or misinterpreted a migration pattern.

Even if your ancestor or descendant were living in the same town or county, you could be simply looking at the other direction, or searching in the wrong jurisdiction. Over time, a town, city or county’s boundaries and limits will change, and the civil records or census figures may also be transferred from one entity to another. If you continue to hit a brick wall in your family history search, ask for help online. Post a question to a genealogical forum, community message board or Web site,as well as check with your local historical or genealogical society, or go to the local newspaper’s office . Tell them what you already know, and also tell them what you’d like to know about your ancestor.

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