Do you want a list of your dead-end / brick wall ancestors?

+95 votes
I wanted a list so I made a quick app. Maybe it will  be useful for someone else.

It looks through 10 generations of your ancestors and lists those that are missing 1 or both parents. Sorted by most recent birth date. It may not work if your tree is private -- I only really tested it on my own tree.
asked Nov 14, 2017 in The Tree House by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (106,190 points)
I have used both Fire fox and Chrome.
Secret feature -- if you want less than 10 generations you can use the gens parameter like this:
wow, Thanks. It happened so fast I thought it wasn't working. lol Amazing.
Thank you, Jamie!!!
This is fantastic. This is a priceless addition.

I especially appreciate the information on my 88/1010 (8.71%) ancestors who are duplicates due to pedigree collapse. That's not been exactly easy for me to calculate!

PS - But, shucks. That calculation doesn't account for the fact that a few of those 88 people appear more than twice in that ancestry...

Great tool! Thank you!
The app was malfunctioning the past few days because of a change in WikiTree's API, but it should be working again. There is also a warning message now if you are logged out of the apps server.
Wow thanks Jamie amazing app worked first time.

Out of 2046 possible ancestors in 10 generations, 1496 (73.12%) have WikiTree profiles.
502/1496 (33.56%) are duplicates due to pedigree collapse.
236 ancestors are missing at least one parent:

Thanks Jamie, truly one of the most useful tools I have had the experience to use Great stuff!☺ 

33 Answers

+13 votes
Best answer
Jamie --

This is really cool! I can't wait to dig in and see where it leads. :-)

Any idea why some ancestors are listed more than once?
answered Nov 14, 2017 by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (217,720 points)
selected Nov 19, 2017 by Nancy Gorman

I had that happen on my list also -- and then I realized it was the result of marriages between cousins.
I was wondering if that might be the case! Didn't have time to dig deeper. Thanks, R!!
I'll update it to weed out duplicates -- I have some endogamy in my tree but I think it is past 10 generations so it didn't show up.
Thanks! It's a really great tool!

Julie and R., can you try and let me know if your duplicates disappeared?


I just checked the list and the duplicates are gone now!  I am sure impressed with your apps!

Reba (aka "R")
Nicely done, Jamie!

I like the stats you put up at the top, too. :-)
+15 votes
Very nice! I just tried it and it even caught the fact that I forgot to put my own ID in.  It really helps to find the ancestors who need my focus.  Thanks for sharing this!

answered Nov 14, 2017 by R. Greenup G2G6 Mach 3 (32,240 points)
+13 votes
Oh, this is so cool.  I got 138 brick walls to choose from :-)
answered Nov 14, 2017 by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (384,590 points)
+12 votes
That is great Jamie. Thanks. I was just wondering last week whether there was a way to produce that report.

It seems that it only works if you actually hit submit and not if you use enter, so if anyone has been having difficulty running it, try again using the submit button.
answered Nov 14, 2017 by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (267,530 points)
Particularly useful as it has also put some folks on my radar that are not on my watchlist. I clearly need to get some trusted list requests sent.
+11 votes
Interesting.  I add the personal category Brick Walls to mine, so now I can see if I've got them all.
answered Nov 14, 2017 by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (132,830 points)
How did you add a personal catagory Brick Walls to yours? I have a lot of work to do, and need to refer to the app often, that would make accessibility easier.

This page shows how to make personal categories.

Here are the profiles I've added the category to:

+28 votes
You are a superstar, Jamie!

We'll include a mention of this in the WikiTree Family News newsletter tomorrow. That's been going out to over 100,000 people.

This reminded me of your app for finding the "missing links," i.e. to find clues for connecting the Unconnected. We are able to link to that from because you enabled passing the user ID through a URL parameter. Any chance you could add that here too? If you do, let me know. Maybe we could link to this from the Genealogy Help section of Tree & Tools pages.
answered Nov 14, 2017 by Chris Whitten G2G6 Pilot (992,440 points)
Thanks Chris.

Btw, I tried to put the birth location but they seem to come back as null... maybe an API problem? See
And to the part about the parameter, I can, but it may not be until later this week.
I've found two triplicates and one duplicate. not sure if there are others....

Not a problem, but it upsets the count.
Tom, did you check if this is due to pedigree collapse, i.e. because you have those ancestors on multiple lines?
Tom, can you look at and let me know if your duplicates disappeared and if the stats are kind of what you were looking for?
Not only are the dups gone, there are additional stats available, Total no. of ancestors, percents various., etc. Only two in the 19th Century. Its going to be hard to fill in the blanks.

Good job, thanks.

This will be very helpful.
Chris, I added an id parameter. It should work with either the id number or the Name-### format.
Awesome, Jamie.

A link to your app will now appear on active members' own Tree and Tools pages, e.g. you should see a link on
+7 votes
Thanks. That's brilliant. In a second I discovered I have 50 brickwalls. Now to knock them down.
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Eileen Strikwerda G2G6 (7,840 points)
+7 votes
Wow!  157 ancestors -- this will take some time!


Thank you for the ap.  :>
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (105,410 points)
+11 votes
Love the list but need a way to actuaiiy find solutions to the brick wall puzzles.
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Mary Calder G2G2 (2,830 points)
+10 votes
As if I didn't already have enough rabbit holes to fall down around here! This is fabulous. See you in a couple of years when I emerge from these rabbit holes! Thanks, Mags
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (422,770 points)
+9 votes


Is there an App index page somewhere?
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Richard Schuerger G2G4 (4,300 points)
+5 votes
This is amazing Jamie, thank you so much for sharing it with us all. I'll certainly make use of it on a personal level, but I can see it being extremely useful when connecting as well. If you enter the profile manager's id of a large unconnected tree, then you have an immediate list of all the surnames to work on. I'm going to have to start playing with that right now!
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Carol Keeling G2G6 Mach 2 (20,580 points)

I prefer missing links for connections because it goes in all directions, but this will be useful if you prefer trying to connect to blood relatives.

+6 votes
Great stuff!

I have 108, but as some of these are sixteenth century I feel I've done quite well already.

Thanks for doing this :-)
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Deborah Smith G2G6 (8,620 points)
brilliant i got 37 but can not go back any further on some of them
+8 votes
Love it!! Thank you Jamie,  

When I started on WikiTree, I thought had 2 brick walls, now it seems that I've  found so many ancestors that there are 190 brick walls! That's a huge accomplishment.

Now that your app is bookmarked, I think the first thing to do is find a century or a year for the undated ones at the bottom of the list ... hmmm
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Laurie Giffin G2G6 Mach 1 (16,030 points)
+7 votes
Have to keep answering this to help get it noticed by everyone. I've started adding a link to it on the profiles I manage. This is going to be so useful.
answered Nov 15, 2017 by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Mach 2 (29,910 points)

How do you add a link? Okay, I have also added a link into my profile, labelled Brick Walls.

Since I know that my maternal grandparents are third cousins, I can ignore Collapsed Pedigrees, right?

Just put this on my page:

  No idea where to keep this so put it here. [ find brick wall ap]

Copy to a profile with a better comment
I just added the definition of "COLLAPSED PEDIGREE"

But:  Please explain:

1. how to add a link, and

2. What to do with the list--you implicitly seem to know that.
Won't help much with my children's lines as I have been at this so long that I know where the problems are. My great grandchildren are another matter. I've only been at that for a few years. The big help for me will be in the work on British and some European aristocrats and gentry. There is so much still to be sorted and most of the information is out there somewhere. Wonder if anyone has yet found a profile that gives a zero return.
+5 votes
Wow!! I thought I was doing pretty good, I have a lot of work to do!

This is great idea - thank you so very much!
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Barbara B G2G6 Mach 1 (14,040 points)
+7 votes
Wow, thanks loads Jamie!!  And also thanks goes out to a really super lady who shared this with me!  Beverly Henry, thank you for sharing!!  

I LOVE WIKITREE & I had to shout about it!
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Cindy Lesure G2G6 Mach 2 (27,650 points)
+8 votes
Great app, thank you.  But oooh, so much more work, nearly as depressing as my unconnected list!
answered Nov 15, 2017 by Veronica Williams G2G6 Mach 9 (93,920 points)
+5 votes

Hi Jamie,

Sounds great but I can't seem to get it to work for me.



answered Nov 16, 2017 by Sharon Daly G2G1 (1,560 points)
Glad I am not the only one having trouble.  Tried it in Safari and Firefox.  Don't know why it wasn't working.  Just tried again on Chrome and it appears to have worked.  Not sure what was going on.
Are you hitting the enter key? For now it only works if you click the button.


Thanks for your help.

I got it in the end.




Happy you finally got it.

Yes, I found it works better on Chrome.

Kind Regards,


+5 votes

Out of 2046 possible ancestors in 10 generations, 361 (17.64%) have WikiTree profiles. Thanks for creating this WikiTree App!!

answered Nov 16, 2017 by Campbell Braddock G2G6 Mach 3 (34,080 points)

I love that summary! Mine was: Out of 2046 possible ancestors in 10 generations, 1010 (49.36%) have WikiTree profiles.
88/1010 (8.71%) are duplicates due to pedigree collapse.
177 ancestors are missing at least one parent.

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