Show your brick walls some love with our 10 tips
Brick walls can be frustrating, but using your ingenuity to overcome their challenges is part of the fun of family history. Sarah Williams shares her expert advice
Family history is a funny business. Sometimes we love it the most when we can’t do it. Of course it’s enormously satisfying when you hit a rich vein of relatives – a family baptised, married and buried in the same parish for generations, or people who stick conveniently in their family groups for the census. But let’s be honest, we all love a bit of a challenge. Over the years I have spent many hours chasing lost family, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. It can be frustrating, but it never feels like time wasted. When you hit a so-called ‘brick wall’, it makes you slow down and reflect. Why can I not find this person? It’s a chance to think about different records, different routes and also to ponder what your relative might have been doing at that time.
I think I’m actually fonder of the family members I had to chase to find. I’ve spent more time with them, and the satisfaction you get on finding them makes all the effort worthwhile. And as the TV series has often shown, the tricky ancestors sometimes produce the best stories. Hopefully my 10 tips will give you ideas for new avenues to explore, and bring out the detective in you.