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"Genealogy Today", by Betty Lou Malesky, CG
From the Green Valley News, Sunday 2 February 2014, page C1

Toppling Brick Walls With Ease

Blessed is the researcher who never runs into a Brick Wall. Challenging and sometimes nearly impossible to go over, under or through, it's the curse of genealogy that catches most of us sooner or later. Eventually, we run into that family line that defies detection and leaves an array of blank spaces on our pedigree chart.

But wait! All is not lost. George Morgan and Drew Smith have co-authored Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques (Mc-Graw Hill Education: 2014) to help us conquer the dreaded brick wall. This book is full of useful hints and strategies, some we may have tried but some we may never have thought about.

Chapter titles are descriptive of their contents:

1, Examine the Brick Wall in Detail; every wall has weak spots that may be exploited and chipped away at until a way through has been discovered.

2, Use Brute Force; leave no stone unturned. Employ the "Reasonably Exhaustive Search" concept, a set of guidelines developed by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Some record somewhere may produce an answer or a useful clue; your mission is to find it.

3, Go Around the Wall; tunnel vision will defeat you every time. Explore records of your ancestor's relatives and acquaintances looking for clues to help solve your problem.

4, Talk to a Friend; a fresh view of your problem can be provided by someone who is new to the situation and not as close and involved in it as you are.

5, Use Crowdsourcing; join genealogical societies, online forums, electronic mailing lists and message boards, and/or Facebook groups, all places where other genealogists congregate who may have insight into your problem from their own experiences.

6, Apply Technological Solutions; DNA testing is no longer the "new kid" on the block. Used to solve difficult problems for several years, DNA databases today are easier to use and may be hiding just the answer you need.

7, Hire a Demolition Expert; before your frustration level gets so high you just give up, employ a professional researcher whose knowledge and experience exceeds your own. Both Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) have member rosters where you can find someone in the location you need.

8, Rest Up and Attack the Brick Wall Another Time; take a break and attend a class, a conference or webinar, read genealogical blogs and magazines. Education increases your skills, gives you a fresh outlook and renewed energy to tackle your dilemma.

9, Put the Techniques to Work; review your evidence, develop a research strategy, and keep a detailed research log. There are no shortcuts in genealogy. Study what you already have to decide your next move.

Based on the most innovative methods available today, this book uses actual case studies to demonstrate successful use of the methods described in each chapter. It could be the best $30.00 you ever spend.

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