Your “Brick Wall” Ancestor

We all have one of these “brick wall” ancestors. If they realized how much time we’ve spent combing through records, wracking our brain and dreaming about resolution, they’d probably tell us to get a life. That doesn’t stop the obsessing.

So what can help overcome this type of obstacle in your research? I previously had a long list of ancestors whose lineage I had labeled as impenetrable. However, after discovering new primary sources or taking advantage of previously unavailable technologies as they arose – they have been virtually obliterated into tiny specs. A brick wall in a sense is strong due to it’s many layers of bricks and mortar. However, remove a few bricks and you can destabilize it quickly.

Do you have a brick wall ancestor that eludes you? How many years have you spent tracking them down? What methods have you employed? Have you ever let a new set of eyes tackle the seemingly impossible?

10 thoughts on “Your “Brick Wall” Ancestor”

  1. Any ancestral lines will always be hard to trace but with the help of a professional genealogist anything is possible.

  2. I am searching for Hannah Houghland (various spellings) McGuire wife of Thomas McGuire (who I’m also searching). Her residence until 1860 was in Lee County, IA. She was living in a household with Matthew and Anna Kilgore in the 1850 census. Hannah died in Lee County and I would like to know location of her burial place, if her husband Thomas resided in Lee County, and also if he died there. I need some kind of record of the deaths of these two, as well as any other references you could find on the McGuires.
    Please forward information about your fees for a search if you think you can help me. Thank you,

  3. Josh, I can’t seem to find your contact email address. I received an error message when I clicked the contact link.

    Please contact me I would like to discuss my genealogy project with you.

    Thank you

  4. I am looking for the will and, or inventory of Nathan Wells death 1770 in Prince George’s County Maryland. He was 1695 son of Thomas Wells and Mary Smith.He married Mary Duckett. In Maryland Indexes Colonial Probate Records of Prince Georges his record is listed Box W Folder 52. I could not find that listing and I was not able to locate the Prerogative Court Records on line.

  5. Searching for two brick wall ancestors in Somerset County, MD. The Dorman and James families. Trying to find which farm one ancestor was enslaved on and where the other was sold to down south.

  6. I’m trying to figure out the parents and birth location of my ancestor Nelson H. Taylor born in NJ in 1823. He first appears in the US Census in Glenville, NY in 1850, and then in Ohio in 1860-1880. I know nothing of his parents, except that they were also born in NJ, according to census responses. As I have no clue where he was born in NJ, I fear I’ll never figure out who his parents are. It is possible that he had a brother or cousin living in Clyde, OH (where Nelson lived later in life. The both were from NJ, had the same surname, the same profession, and were both members of the Odd Fellows Masonic organization in the town. This Taylor–Samuel B. Taylor–was born in Springfield Township (I think there are two Springfields in NJ) and married in Morristown. This Taylor had a son with the middle name “Nelson.” However, he could easily be an unrelated Taylor.

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