Monday, March 19, 2012

A thought for those of us with brick walls...

and isn't that pretty much all of us genealogists?  Feel free to post a comment if you are the person who has every line back to the beginning of time all documented nicely ;)

Every so often I revisit all my brick walls.  I have posted many of them on here.  Some are just areas I haven't taken the time or money to order documents that could likely easily move me past them.  Others are issues that have vexed me for years or decades (like who are Edmund Rice's parents???)

Each time I review all the evidence I have on the situation, and explore if any new record sets have become available that may shed some light on the situation.  Familysearch.org and Ancestry.com and Fold3 and all the other sites are continuously updating and adding to their collections.  Sometimes records are restricted until after a certain date. (hands up if you are waiting on the 1940 census release for more info on someone in your files?!)

Often, I send out emails to other researchers and cousins who are working on the same lines, maybe they have solved the mystery and not told me about it!  Maybe they have ordered more documents, DNA tested, cemetery photographed,  etc. since last we corresponded.

I may make a blog posting on my brick wall, and hope it helps lead someone with an answer, or the possibility of helping find the answer, to me.

Then, I do at least one thing to move me past this brick wall.  I order a document, or request a cemetery search or some such thing.  

Finally, I attempt to do some volunteer indexing/arbitrating for familysearch.org on the closest collection to my problem.  

While this will not likely directly solve my brick wall, I figure it will help advance the genealogy of that area which in theory will help me in the long run.

I don't think familysearch.org intends to ever let us run out of things to index (disclaimer here, I do not work for and do not represent familysearch.org in anyway, these are my opinions only, no insider info here!) so I figure the more I index and arbitrate, the more records will be made available.