Brick Walls, Dead Ends and Getting Stuck in the Mud

You are on a roll and finding all kinds of information and then all of a sudden, Nothing. You can’t find anything anywhere. You have written to everyone that you can think of, you have called every place and everyone you can, and you have emailed and searched on-line all resources possible and still nothing. What to do now, you know your ancestor didn’t just appear out of thin air. There are clues to where you can search, but not one thing is turning up.

Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait. Sometimes you have to accept that there is nothing there to find, at least right now. You may have to wait for a couple of years before anything shows up, or even longer. Perhaps this is one mystery that won’t be solved.

Leave it alone and go to another relative. It is okay if you don’t find anything. Over the course of time documents and books and records get destroyed by insects, fire, floods, mice, thrown away or even put in a ‘safe’ place that doesn’t make any sense at all that it is there.

More and more records and documents are being digitized and perhaps something that has been on a dusty shelf in a basement somewhere will soon be digitized. We have a relative that has several books and documents that prove he came from Scotland, but finding anything about that relative on a ship manifest to America just isn’t there. Many ship manifests were sunken with the ship, or other fires and floods destroyed them.

Make sure you document what you know about you and your parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles, even your own siblings. The more that you document, the more your descendants won’t be hitting the brick walls, dead ends and getting stuck in the mud.

Next week I will try to give a good account of 3rd generations, what we know today is usually lost by the 4th generation. One example of this was my cousins grandchildren didn’t know who our grandparents were. I was shocked, because I always had photos of them and told my children about them. But here were some great grandchildren that didn’t know the stories and their lives. I guess I had better get busy and write down more stories about grandma gripping the seat of the car her son was driving at 35mph because it was too fast for her! or her kicking the rocks out of the road while she was a passenger, or pushing on the brakes – My uncle used to tell her, “Mom, you’re going to wear a hole in the floorboard if you don’t quit trying to step on the brakes”. Laughing as he spoke, All in fun.

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