How do you break through a brick wall?

+2 votes
I have two great grandfathers that I have hit brick walls. On and off since the invention of the internet I have been trying to find any leads on them and nothing. Every line I follow turn out to be someone else.

DNA taken on 23andme and Ancestry.  Any suggestions?
WikiTree profile: Bill Brown
in Genealogy Help by Denise Looney G2G Crew (460 points)

There is this 1880 census from St. Clair Co., IL that looks like it may be worthy of further investigation. The limited info here fits with your Bill Brown:

Name: William Brown
Age: 11
Birth Date: Abt 1869
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1880: St Clair, Illinois, USA
Dwelling Number: 24
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Nephew
Marital Status: Single
Father's Birthplace: Illinois
Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina
Occupation: At School
Attended School: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members Age Relationship
William Lewis 41 Self (Head)
Rebecca Lewis 45 Wife
Mary Lewis 18 Daughter
George Brown 13 Nephew
William Brown 11 Nephew

This 1870 census record could be the family of the two nephews in the 1880 census. Perhaps William (1880) and James (1870) are actually William James. James in this record is actually 1 yr old.


Name: George Brown
Age in 1870: 3
Birth Date: abt 1867
Birthplace: Illinois
Dwelling Number: 186
Home in 1870: Township 3 Range 6, St Clair, Illinois
Race: White
Gender: Male
Post Office: Marissa
Occupation: At Home
Inferred Father: John Brown
Inferred Mother: Mary Brown
Household Members Age
John Brown 35
Mary Brown 30
George Brown 3
James Brown

This might be a stretch, but seems intriguing.

Bill Brown,  I too had a Great Grandfather that I couldn't get any information on, and I spent many years looking for his parents, to No avail.    Even his Surname came up blank.   

I didn't think I would ever know who they were.   A Genealogist suggested the name of the County was too broad, I should use the name of the Parish.   I did just that, and one day received a message that fit the name and dates of my Grand Father.    Some times we just need to know the right path to take.  I'm grateful for the knowledge and experience of a  Genealogist.

The Best of Life to you.   Bonnie
I think this is the line I followed and this William James Brown died in a mental hospital in Jacksonville. Thank you, I will look into again.
Thank you, I will look into this one again.
Thank you. This is one I have not seen. But I have found other records that include a George Brown.

5 Answers

+1 vote
Extreme patience, steady research, gathering records that might be associated, and repeated re-investigation over many years are what brick walls entail.
by Mark Weinheimer G2G6 Pilot (450k points)
Unfortunately the records I have collected are not the records of his, other than census records that I could prove because of the children included on the census
+3 votes
It looks like you found him in at least one record on familysearch, is GZNZ-YP5 not him?

Other than that, I would say building out all of his surrounding family, looking in each census during his life span, searching probate records and newspapers are all good guesses.

I have a research worksheet template linked from my profile, if that helps.
by Jonathan Crawford G2G6 Pilot (113k points)
Thank you. Unfortunately I have built a tree including his children and spouse but I do not know who his siblings are.
+4 votes

By adding sources so you can track profiles

"Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947

by Anonymous Daly G2G6 Mach 4 (46.7k points)

His Father Berry married Mary Lewis: St.Clair 1 March 1866

Thank you, I have that source.
0 votes
I added source to Williams profile that shows his father as Berry  and Mary Lewis as his mother.
by Chris Mckinnon G2G6 Pilot (400k points)
Thank you, I have that record too but I cant confirm anything.
0 votes
I think this could be his father's findagrave ID 126476532
by Chris Mckinnon G2G6 Pilot (400k points)
Thank you
That ID is for Barry Woods.

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