Register for Webinar Wednesday - Mining the Über-sites for German Ancestors by James M. Beidler
Everyone Makes Mistakes: Why You Should Review Your Research Notes

Another brick wall solved

Another Brick Wall Solved-2

Wooohooo! Another brick wall mystery solved!

When I heard how it was solved, it made me feel that everything we're doing here with our Legacy software and our webinar series is worth all the time and effort we put into it. And when I read of the excitement from someone who has just solved a genealogical puzzle, it lifts my spirits and gives me renewed hope for my lost ancestors. So, congrats to Susan Biddle, and with her permission, I have republished her comments that she wrote in our Legacy User Group on Facebook below.

Here's her initial comments:


She totally left us all hanging, didn't she? ;) What tips, what webinars, and how did she do it? So after a bunch of "likes" and people asking her how she did it, she filled us in:


Once again, congrats to Susan! And Beth Foulk deserves kudos for her Problem Solving with FANs webinar. And let's give some extra kudos to Elizabeth Shown Mills for inventing the FAN concept (Friends, Associates, Neighbors). And for whoever it was that gave the newspaper tips, well done!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I had a similar experience last year. My great grandfather had a brother, around the same age as his own second child, who had drowned in Cooktown, Queensland, Australia. All the newspaper articles around the State gave his name as Edward. No luck searching the Queensland BDM's. Considered the possibility that their father may have moved from South Australia also (this is where my great grandfather and biological brother were born and parents married) and possibly remarried. I spent the whole day searching the Qld BDM's and found the father's second marriage. I bought the digital image and for the first time got the names of his parents (my 3xgreat grandparents) and the fact that my 2xgreat grandfather was born in Troy, United States of America. I did not know about an American connection as his first wife was from Ireland as well as his second wife. More searching showed the son who drowned was not Edward as in the newspapers but Edwin. From finding this second marriage I then found the 3 children from the second marriage, my 3xgreat grandfather's death and where he was buried. I also found out the names of at least 3 and possibly 4 hotels he had on the Palmer River Goldfields in North Queensland from 1870 till his death. I was also able to confirm my 2xgreat grandfather's biological brother also died in Queensland and is buried in Limestone NQ where his father was buried. This brother was single and not married with 1 child and who had died a few years earlier in South Australia. Through getting the certificates, using the very few issues of newspapers at that time, government records on line I found information on this family taking me up to the early 2000's when I visited a grave in Atherton in March this year. These seminars do give simple logical hints which can generate a wealth of new information at times.

Marilyn - Wow !! Great story. You really hit a gold mine !!! I have other brick walls to conquer. Breaking through this one has renewed my motivation to break through some others !!!

From the beginning research on my 2X great grandfather I had a brick wall. At age 10 he was listed with the family in 1860, then did not appear until 1880, five years after he married. One day I realized I had a clue in his obituary which stated "when he was 13, he moved to Humboldt County IA with a Mr. John Russell". Following the listing of John and his wife Margaret was the name indexed as "Real Russell" in the 1870 census as a laborer. Closer examination revealed a transcription error as "Real" instead of Ira, and the census taker showed his surname as Russell, not Tunison.
However, the obituary also stated that Ira married a Ruth Herriett whereas her surname was Hewett. After several years of research I discovered a cousin had the bible pages listing Ruth's name as Hewett. Breaking down brick walls can be done with from so many sources, and imagination to find a name totally different that what it is.

My paternal ggm "disappeared" between the 1895 KS State Census and the 1900 Fed census for KS, the state she and Great-Grandpa had lived in since leaving Indiana in the 1870s. Therefore I assumed she'd died between 1895 and 1900 and spent way too many years searching for a death record or obit in KS. I should mention Great-Grandpa was still very much alive in 1900 in KS, living with a dau, which led to another false assumption that should be on every genie's "Never Do" list - that the "M" for Married next to his name instead of a "W" for Widowed was simply Enumerator Error. Sometimes it isn't.

Then one day, after a marathon but unfruitful search session, fatigue (or Great-Granny herself reaching across the veil) apparently caused me to leave the "Lived in" box blank before I hit "Search". So I was totally dumb-founded when she (AND two unmarried sons I was aware of but had never bothered to look for) popped up in the 1900 census of a silver-mining town in Colorado. COLORADO? In a mining town? Seriously?

Turns out the sons were barbers who correctly assumed there was lots of silver (coin) to be had in 'them thar mountains' and Great-Grandma had health problems mountain air was thought to alleviate, so she went along officially for her health, but I suspect also to make sure "her boys" ate properly, had clean clothes and slept in clean beds. Alas, the mountain air wasn't as beneficial as believed and she returned to Kansas, where she died in 1905. But had it not been for (accidentally?) leaving that box blank, I might never have known GReat-Granny and her sons had ever had "silver fever". And I now routinely search for siblings of each ancestor!

I too recently solved a HUGE brick wall. My Harper line traces to my 3rd GGF Asa Harper, Sr born 1780 in Prince Edward Co, VA. I have his wife, my 3rd GGM Frances Fannie Rice, marriage info, moving to Williamson Co, TN in about 1806. All gathered and documented. From the census records we (researchers for about 50 years) knew there was a documented unnamed daughter born 1810-1812, and another documented, also unnamed daughter born 1820-1825. By the time family member names were added to census records, they were no longer in the home, either by marriage or by loss.
In Dec, I took advantage of the "special" price and subscribed.
I crossed my fingers, I typed in my search for TN papers, ALL TN newspapers, starting in early 1800s and went for it. Over 19,000 hits. It was Harper's Mag, Harper's Bazaar, Harper's Weekly, Harper Brothers, Harper's Ferry, a man named Harper who named all his racehorses something-Harper, etc... And with NO FILTERS, I had to be patient. I took it 5 years at a time. reviewed every hit. It took a month. I got several articles and court dockets, my ancestors created a bit of mischief.
Asa, Sr was a War of 1812 veteran. He also lived to be 94. He thought he lived to be 100. And they write articles about 100 year old war veterans when they die. The article mentioned he died at the home of his granddaughter, Mrs David Buchanan. A NEW NAME to my research. Well, I only found 5 possible David Buchanan matches. I quickly narrowed those down to 2. One whose sister married into the Luster family, (one of Asa's sons married a Luster), and one whose age was right, who required more digging. the Luster related Buchanan had no children. The other one, well, I found his marriage certificate to Selena J Harper, born 1825, daughter (not granddaughter) of Asa and Fannie Harper. I FOUND HER NAME AND FAMILY!!!
Still looking for the other daughter and I have 2 candidates who might be possible matches. Newspapers haven't helped much and I may need to travel to TN again in the future to Williamson County for their newspapers and records, but I have hope of solving that too.

The comments to this entry are closed.