Breaking Down Brick Walls

As the researcher continues their attempt of finding their ancestors, one problem may arise. Many times the researcher runs into what genealogists call “brick walls.” Jeanne Lund of Belaugh Research Services defines a brick wall as a dead-end that a researcher has reached in their genealogy. Lund has written an article of what to do when reaching a brick wall.

Lund first recommendation is to double-check the research. Lund also recommends that a researcher should go back through everything accumulated in the search. The second activity is to make sure to recheck all records. The third suggestion is to make sure any transcription is correct, as well as the information in the research records is correct. Many times, there is an error on a record and this throws  off the sequence of events or other research concerns (Lund).

 The fourth thing according to Lund, is to sort through available resources one by one. Lund suggests that a researcher check to see if there are records for the time period when the ancestor was alive. Sometimes the records in question are not available. Fire, theft, and ravages of time are some reasons the records are lost forever.

Lund suggests the fifth item is to let others look over your research. Other researchers who do not feel an attachment to the original research can easily find mistakes or discrepancies. The sixth activity a researcher should become involved in is networking with other researchers who are researching the same families and ancestor (Lund).
Lund, Jeanne. “Brick Wall Research.” 2002. GenealogyPro. 1 April 2012

my version of a "brickwall"!!

my version of a “brickwall”!!


About hoosierbeth

I have been researching my ancestors, your ancestors and everybody else's since 1981.
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2 Responses to Breaking Down Brick Walls

  1. Those are some great ideas, esp. that it takes an objective researcher to find errors in previous work and the idea that a researcher might know of other documents/info which might be available from that time period. Good stuff.

    • hoosierbeth says:

      Thank You!! I have this post broken down into a check list. Everytime I get stuck, I look at the steps, and then it helps me become more organized and gives me ideas.

      (here’s my rant on transcriptions, lol!! I get pretty riled up over some stuff! )

      What bothers me the most~~~ is the transcption drive that the paid genealogy databases are launching. Many of the transcription are sloppy and inaccurate. As an example, had my great granparents’ name butchered. The name is Svoboda, and it was spelled weird, starting with a “D”. This was on the 1940 census, and if I didn’t spend hours trying to find them, I never would have.

      Of course to cover their backend, conveniently had a form for me to fill out on the census page, to correct the spelling~~which I did. Instead of the company insuring the transcription was correct, they expect the public/subscriber to proof read for the transcription for free . I can understand volunteers who do transcriptions making a mistake, but if paid these folks to decphier the handwriting, they should have some check and balances in place.

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