Brick Wall Breaking Strategies

This category of articles focuses on how to break through genealogy research brick walls.

What is a Genealogy Brick Wall?

Brick walls occur in genealogy when research reaches a dead-end because the researcher has exhausted all leads or is unsure how to proceed.

Brick walls can be broken into several main categories:

  • Genealogically significant records were never created or maintained. For instance, dates of births, deaths and marriages in the U.S. were not recorded uniformly until the 20th century.
  • Lost or destroyed records.
  • Research issues: conflicting information, don't know what records are available, looking in the wrong place, etc.

List of Articles:

Tracing Your Immigrant Roots

Linking Family Trees: Working Backwards

Branching Out with Cluster Genealogy

Researching Female Ancestors

Dating Old Family Photographs

Hiring a Genealogy Professional

The Trouble with Names

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

In Search of the Elusive Maiden Name

When to Employ Reverse Genealogy

Find Lost Relatives for Free

Websites to Help Find a Grave

German Ancestry Research using Meyer’s Gazetteer

Genealogy used to find Golden State Killer

Using the Newberry Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

Glossary of Archaic Medical Terms

Railroad Maps to Trace Ancestor Migrations

Solutions for 3 Most Common Genealogy Roadblocks

Investigating German Genealogy with CompGen

Living People Finder Guide


Genealogy Quick Start Guide for Beginners

Applying the Genealogy Proof Standard to your Research

5 Genealogy Mistakes to Avoid

Google Genealogy Research Toolbox

Find Records

Requesting Vital Records

Researching Ancestors through Military Records

Using the National Archives (NARA) for Genealogy Research

Using U.S. Census Records

Finding Homestead Records

Canadian Genealogy Research using the Internet

Researching British Genealogy


Genealogy Source Citations Made Easy

Finding Family History Books

Listening to Genealogy Podcasts Made Easy

Using Cyndi’s List for Genealogy Research

Researching Ancestors Using Obituaries