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

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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.

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