So you think you have hit a brickwall, and there are no more clues to be found. If you have arrived at that spot and are frustrated, here are some ideas that might help you get ‘unstuck’.
- Did your ‘targeted’ person have siblings? If so, have you researched them to see if their lives might provide you with useful clues and pointers?
- Are there local histories that were written about the area in which you ‘brickwall’ ancestor lived? Do any of the biographical descriptions, within those local histories provided, offer clues as to where your person may have originated? Did your ‘mystery’ ancestor live within a community of folks who came from a homogeneous community and/or location? Do not restrict yourself to simply looking for your targeted ancestor but rather scan the entire text for clues; you never know where they may be hidden.
- Do you, or do any of your relatives, have photos from the old country? Often photos contain the place location of the photographer or they may list the photographer’s name. If you have an original photograph, did you look on the back of the photo for clues? If you have a photo in a frame did you look at the frame itself for clues?
- Are there family bibles or histories available in any of your ancestor’s descendant families? Those could be full of clues.
- Are there any family possessions or traditions in your or any of the descendant families which are unique and attributable to a particular area or region?
- unique family given names (first and/or middle);
- old family recipes;
- family holiday & celebration traditions;
- family sayings, phrases, or words;
- church membership;
- family lore;
- colleges/ universities attended or sponsored;
- military memorabilia;
- old books (check the inscriptions and script);
- inherited dishes, tools, weapons;
- tapestries, embroidery, hats, clothing, etc. all can provide clues.
If you have other ‘tricks’ you think we ought to share with our readers regarding ways around brickwalls, please use our comments or contact page to let us know; and, we’ll ‘spread the word’.