Every hobby has insider lingo. When I got involved in family history, it took me only about five minutes to figure out the biggest buzzword in the genealogical lexicon: brick wall.
Throughout the community — on message boards, in mailing lists, at society meetings and events — researchers repeat the refrain. “My great-grandmother’s maiden name is my brick wall.” “I’m at a brick wall with my immigrant ancestors’ birthplace.” “My mom was adopted, so I’ve already hit a brick wall with my maternal grandparents.”
Everyone has such a dead end — and based on the feedback we get from readers, everyone’s eager for advice to help conquer it. In keeping with our how-to mission, we regularly come to your rescue with expert guidance in feature articles and our Now What? Q&As.
Now we’re answering the call again with a new column called — you guessed it-Brick Wall Busters. In every other issue, contributing editor Maureen A. Taylor, whom you already know as Family Tree Magazine‘s Photo Detective, will apply her sleuthing skills to your real-life research roadblocks. But these aren’t your typical case studies: We’re kicking the how-to quotient up a notch by focusing less on summary and more on solutions. Each column will include a how-to plan for tackling the problem at hand, so you can easily see how to apply Maureen’s recommendations to your own research conundrums.