Your Guide to Brick Walls in Your Genealogical Research

Brick walls are those hard-to-solve genealogy problems that can go years... decades...without a break through. Sometimes the eventual break through is plain good luck, but more often it is a result of innovative research techniques,which range from rethinking what you thought you know, ferreting out new sources and locating other researchers through queries.


Books, articles, CD's,Tapes etc.
On the Web..

500 Brickwall Solutions to Genealogy Problems
and More Brickwall Solutions to Genealogy Problems
Croom. The Sleuth Book for Genealogists
Fitzpatrick. Forensic Genealogy
(review) (review by Dick Eastman)
Rising. The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall


"Busting Out: 31 Brickwall Busters" in the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine 2004. The first three tips are available in an oline teaser article.

Audiotapes from Conference presentations:
-- using the search "brick walls"
-- using the search "problem solving"

Neill.. Problem Solving based on steps suggested below come from the problem-solving process attributed to George Polya. The 4 steps are 1) Make certain you fully understand the problem you are trying to solve. 2) Decide what you need to do to solve the problem 3) Do what you decided to do in step two 4) Evaluate your results

*Lund. Brick Wall Research -- some general suggestions that may strike a chord.

* Meyerink. Overcoming "Brick Wall" Problems -- I like this article because it begins by reminding you that " It’s a mind set. When solving difficult problems, we need to remember the laws of family relations: They did have parents, and a family. Now, with that mind set, you are prepared to think about solving your toughest research problems"

* Neill. Is Your Brick Wall in Your Head? reminds you that your research may be blocked because you are basing it on misplaced beliefs or assumptions.
He offers a brief checklist of possible false premises and links to some other interesting articles.

* Powell. Breaking Down Walls Brick by Brick. (The Powell article is on, so will be littered with ads, some flashing and moving. But this one is a nice case study.

* Smith. Finding Your Own Genealogical Muse
* What is the Question. Tips for Solving those Brick-wall (and other) Research Questions.
* Wikipedia. Cluster Genealoogy
more links
* Cyndi's List: Hit a Brick Wall?

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This page last updated January 27, 2007