Brick Wall? It is okay...

Sometimes brick walls become fruitless efforts. It is okay.

As genealogists, we are trained to investigate the records, research the history, and analyze the results. We want to find the long-lost answer to the historical mystery. I will admit that there have been several times over the course of my career that the brick wall would not budge. I am here to tell you that it is okay.


The phrase “reasonably exhaustive search” applies here and sometimes becomes an exhaustive search. I have tried to locate specific information for a civil war veteran who died in Andersonville prison, and the breakthrough did not come. I have searched for information regarding the death of a man in an era where the newspapers printed everything about demise, and it was to no avail. I have recently searched for a marriage record for a client that should be where I think it should be…but is not, and a file for another client regarding an inmate at a mental health hospital, where the file should be available, given the time frame and subject, but is elusive.


I am here to say it is okay. Brick walls do not always break. Sometimes it takes time for the wall to wear down. New records are constantly being digitized. Newspapers are consistently added to microfilm databases. Information is being indexed at rapid paces to add to files. Brick walls sometimes just need to wear down…and that takes time.


We are genealogists. We deal with time. We investigate it, review it, analyze it, eventually and generally we come to an answer. If not, and that brick wall needs more time…I am here to say…

It is okay.


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