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

+132 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 in The Tree House by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
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!☺ 

I don't want to ask a stupid question but where can I locate my wikitree ID so I can gather the info
Hi Tasha,

You can find your id in the link to your profile page. Your link is, so your id would be Fleming-7820.


You can also find the brick wall app if you go to My WikiTree > Family Tree & Tools, and then scroll down to the link that says "Brick Wall Ancestors". That will fill in your id automatically for you.
I am still working on that project where we try to do something a few times a week or so on our brick wall ancestors.  I have gotten a few done and lots of information pulled on others.  It is coming along great!

I actually found that one of mine was done but the name was so obscure that I had to really work at figuring out it was the correct one.  I already knew who the mother and father were and when they showed up I couldn't believe it.

Anyways I helped to profile manager to gussy up the profile and add information to it.  It was flying under a"unknown flag".

This is brilliant! Thank you

Its so handy!

Nice work!

Thanks for the chart.  I love it!

Thank you for the listing of Brick Wall Ancestors.  I have been slowly working on mine. They are really tough to find!

I love the pedigree chart.  I am going to print it off!


36 Answers

+30 votes
Best answer
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 by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
selected by Jillian Sommer
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
+18 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 by R. Greenup G2G6 Mach 6 (61.9k points)
+16 votes
Oh, this is so cool.  I got 138 brick walls to choose from :-)
answered by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (517k points)
+15 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 by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (617k 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.
+13 votes
Interesting.  I add the personal category Brick Walls to mine, so now I can see if I've got them all.
answered by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (151k 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:

+18 votes
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 by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (254k points)

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. :-)
+11 votes
Thanks. That's brilliant. In a second I discovered I have 50 brickwalls. Now to knock them down.
answered by Eileen Strikwerda G2G6 (9.7k points)
+11 votes
Wow!  157 ancestors -- this will take some time!


Thank you for the ap.  :>
answered by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (127k points)
+13 votes
Love the list but need a way to actuaiiy find solutions to the brick wall puzzles.
answered by Mary Calder G2G3 (3.9k points)
+12 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 by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (451k points)
+11 votes


Is there an App index page somewhere?
answered by Richard Schuerger G2G6 (6k points)
+8 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 by Carol Keeling G2G6 Mach 2 (29.3k 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.

+9 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 by Deborah Smith G2G6 Mach 1 (10.1k points)
brilliant i got 37 but can not go back any further on some of them
+10 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 by Laurie Giffin G2G6 Mach 2 (29.9k points)
+9 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 by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (107k 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.
+8 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 by Barbara B G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)
+9 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 by Cindy Lesure G2G6 Mach 7 (76.2k points)
+10 votes
Great app, thank you.  But oooh, so much more work, nearly as depressing as my unconnected list!
answered by Veronica Williams G2G6 Pilot (106k points)
+7 votes

Hi Jamie,

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



answered by Sharon Daly G2G1 (1.7k 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,


+7 votes

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

answered by Campbell Braddock G2G6 Mach 4 (43.9k 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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