Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Breaking Down a Major Brick Wall – for Someone Else!

Sometimes I help others begin their ancestry research. When I do that, I usually create a private tree on to help guide me. I build a tree with my friend as the “home person” and look for clues from that point forward. If I’m lucky, the friend has at least some information on ancestors for at least two generations back to help me begin.

Since I’ve not worked on my own tree (or even written on my blog) in a while, I decided to step back into genealogy research by going back to work on a friend’s tree. I had begun developing the tree before Christmas and worked on it quite often until around January or February. 

I had gotten a couple of his lines “across the pond” and had even provided documentation to help him qualify for the SAR and his daughter for the DAR if they so desired.

Nevertheless, I had gotten completely stuck on who the parents of his paternal great grandfather were! It was odd that there appeared to be no information on someone whose relationship was that close. So back to the drawing board I went, adding other research tools - and still coming to a complete standstill.

Then I remembered a recent blog post written by the Legal Genealogist, Judy R. Russell. Judy sensibly reminded us to read every word.  

Well, heck, I know that, and I most certainly do that…don’t I? Well, heck, I guess not!

In going back through the same records that I had looked at before, I actually stopped and read the hint information on one that I hadn’t really looked at before. The reason I hadn’t was because the gentleman I was researching had been married for 48 years to the same woman. This was a marriage record and the woman’s name was different.

What I failed to realize in my first perusal was that the gentleman in this record matched every single thing I knew about the man I was researching: approximate age and exact place where he lived. I had forgotten  that his wife had passed away in 1928. He was 65 years old at that time, so it never occurred to me that he might have remarried.

So I decided to open the record anyway and received a pleasant surprise. He had decided to marry again at the wonderful age of 71 years old! And not only that, the marriage record asked for his parents’ names and their places of birth! Hallelujah!

I couldn’t believe it. Jackpot. I found his father’s name and that he was born in Virginia. I also obtained his mother’s name and the fact that she was born in Ohio.

As I plugged that information into the tree on Ancestry, I was able to find them in various census records. There was only one problem: in every one of those records, his mother gave her place of birth as Kentucky.  Well, her son was 71, after all, when he gave out that information. Maybe he just got confused.

I hope he wasn’t confused on her name, though, because I’ve found nothing on her – yet. That’s okay. I’ve only just begun. And I’m most assuredly reading every word!

As to my own family tree? Watch out brick walls. I’m coming after you next!

@2016 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland


  1. Carla,

    I'd like to let you know that your wonderful blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Just saw this ~ thanks SO much, Jana! I really appreciate it.