Use these 14 strategies to build a case file on your hardest-to-find ancestors and crack those brick-wall mysteries.
Unsolved murder cases are never completely closed. Police often will reopen a case to take a fresh look. For example, a TV news show recently featured a murder that occurred in 1996. The file was stamped “cold case” and shelved in 2002, but thanks to new technology, investigators reopened it and solved it in 2013. Technology is changing rapidly, and when you apply it to a cold case, you can earn a big payoff. In this particular case, new scientific tests were available that didn’t exist in 1996. The same evidence that led police nowhere now broke the case wide open.
In genealogy, the value of revisiting cold cases of your hardest-to-find ancestors—aka brick walls—is clear. Consider the records and resources available today that weren’t around last year, last month, or even yesterday. There’s always hope to solve, or at least make progress on, a frigid genealogical case. Use these 14 investigative strategies to build a case file on your research brick walls and generate hot new leads.