Suggestions for Tackling Roadblocks and Brickwalls

I’m stuck!  I can’t go any further!  We all run into brickwalls or roadblocks while doing our research!  Banging your head against a brickwall can be frustrating – and painful!

There is no one way to overcome a brickwall.  We suggest a systematic approach.  Try using the following steps when you encounter a brickwall:

  1. Write down all that you know about the person and the problem – look at the family group record – make a  timeline (maybe your genealogy software can help do this?).  Make sure the problem is clearly defined.
  2. Try to look at the data differently – perhaps through following one of the siblings?,
  3. Study the area history  – what was happening in the area at the time?
  4. Use the research wiki at – make sure you are accessing all the data resources available.
  5. Share your problem
    1. talk to someone – not because misery likes company but because a second set of eyes might see what we missed –
    2. Use Forums and message boards – such as Discussion Forums at (under Learn tab ) and Rootsweb –
  6. If all else fails Park the problem for a while.  Go and do something else.  Come back in a few months.  Then review all your notes.
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