Overcoming Stumbling Stones

By Jan Nearing

Part of the reward of genealogy is the sweet taste of success in overcoming obstacles. Sometimes the obstacles hit us early in search, but sometimes they haunt us for years and we just need to be patient and persistent in finding new avenues of information.

The secret, simple as it sounds, is to forget everything anyone has ever told you and to start fresh. Pull out records, read them for clues. Check out the events of the era, especially wars, new industries, and economic changes. Create a profile for yourself of who your ancestors were based on independent information that you can find from credible sources.

In my career, there are seven main reasons I have been able to identify about why people hit brick walls:

  1. Bad information from well-meaning relatives
  2. Americanization of names
  3. Sloppy record keeping at the time they lived
  4. Lack of available documents or difficulty finding the right ones
  5. Documentation "vacuum"
  6. Relying on bad research
  7. Misinterpreting data, leaps in logic or jumping to conclusions


Click here for tips on how to re-examine your information and brainstorm on fresh approaches.

When all else fails….Take heart in knowing you are not alone

© 2006 Jan Nearing, LaMere Consulting, Midland, Michigan. All rights reserved.


Copyright © 2012 all rights reserved Jan Nearing
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