Beat your brick walls and defeat your dead ends with these strategies that professional genealogists use to solve their toughest challenges.
You were happily researching your ancestors in one record after another. Then all of a sudden, boom! You hit a dead end. You can't find anything more—it's as if they disappeared from the face of the earth. You're frustrated and unsure where to turn.
You've hit what genealogists call a "brick-wall" problem, and sooner or later it happens to everybody.
Maybe you can't find out who an ancestor's parents were, when someone immigrated, what a woman's maiden name was or where an ancestor came from. Maybe the records you need have been lost, or maybe they were never created in the first place.
Brick walls happen once you've searched all of the typical records for an ancestor: census, vital records, deeds, probate, military and so on. I've had many beginners tell me they've hit a brick wall. My first question is "Have you searched for this ancestor in all possible censuses?" Almost every time, the answer will be "No." To which I respond, "Then you can't be at a brick wall."