Which single brickwall solution would be your best Christmas present?

+10 votes

For Christmas, I’d like to discover the English parentage of this brickwall:


What about you! Which single brickwall finally solved would be your best Christmas present?

asked in The Tree House by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1m points)
My Liverpool-born Swedish gr-gr-grandfather and his wife.  There was some kind of contact pre-1940 with the extended family in Sweden, but the family tree book (going back to the late 1400s) that was given us never got to my line, instead rotting away in a backyard shed.
Melanie, I had a great-aunt whose sister-in-law had power of attorney. When my aunt was in a nursing home, this aunt by marriage sold the house  “as is” with everything in it. Including: photos, documents, family heirlooms. It was a genealogical loss of the first magnitude for that branch of the family. I rue it to this day.


Please provide more information - at least 5 characters

I would love to find the overseas origin of either my Prussian GG Charles Heitmeier or German GGGrandmother Wilhelmina Pfeiffer

I have no idea what I've not been doing right outside of hiring someone!

It would be especially fun for me because I grew up in a German-American village in the Midwest, where people still spoke German in businesses and the local church services were still in German (in the 1970's and 80's!) so I felt very in touch with the culture, but the details are still lacking!

My father, as far as I know, is 100% Italian. A year ago I paid a small fortune in hiring a professional genealogist to do several things. One on the list would be my Christmas wish!

Sadly I am not at all certain that they got it right so my greatest Christmas gift would be do verify/confirm that Dorsa-3 and and Diodato-4 are truly my great grandmother's parents Diodato-3


I would say if you are not an "Avid reader" of the ""FREE"" Family History Daily publication then you are missing lots of new places to look for information on your brick wall ancestors.  Plus lots of other wonderful things to increase your knowledge on genealogy and its FREE!!!


Merry Christmas

A most hearty thanks, Taylor!
For me, finding my Thomas Gray’s line in England on my father’s side.  Been searching for a long time.
This is a great thread Pip. Could it be a "stickie" so we can keep referring to it ?
Good idea! Done!
Removed as posted in wrong place.
I remember this. Still struggling with ol’ Isham, huh? I’ve got some of those, too.
My 6xGreatGrandfather Barnaby Dolman-203 has me totally baffled for years. We have found his wife and children and then everything stopped. There is nothing else Like he disappeared.

Have you checked for a natural disaster that could have killed your entire family?

I would go to https://familyhistorydaily.com.  This is a free weekly publication with many old ones available. It is a treasure trove of information.  If you have not looked there, you should

Taylor thank you so very much. It is a reassure trove and should keep me going for some time. At worse it will be just the same as it is now. but if I find something about Barnaby then it will be much better. I want to find something, even a sibling or a parent.  There is nothing except what I found. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am so excited. Thank you so very much.

18 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

My 3rd great grandfather, John Blagdon (1799 to 1874 Plymouth, Devon, England).  For years I had him wrong and was merrily tracing somebody else's tree, but have cleared all that up and now am stuck with him as a brick wall.

I even posted here in G2G, but all anybody could find was the baptism which actually belonged to another John Blagdon in another family.  It was suggested that the baptism records for my John Blagdon had been destroyed.  Oh, how I would like his records as a Christmas present!

John Blagdon

answered by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (520k points)
selected by Georgie Thompson
His son Edward has that unusual middle name "Seavear" . Did you manage to get anywhere with that ?
That was the surname of one of the witnesses to John & Elizabeth's 1817 marriage.  Maybe John's best friend?
Yes, that would make sense - he could also be the son Edward's godfather , hence the middle name  - as you suggest he may not be a blood relative . Is there a Seavear will ?
+5 votes
I would like to find the family/ancestors for my gg grandmother Eunice https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Salsbury-255 and her brother the Rev Nathaniel Salsbury https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Salsbury-254
answered by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (194k points)
+5 votes

After spending all day going through DNA matches, I'd like to find some real concrete documentation to solve the issue of the parentage of  John Mitchell . He was consistent with his year/place of birth being 1820 Cruden, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, but I can find no baptism for him. His grand-daughter gave his parent's names as William Mitchell & Margaret Knox when he died, but there was not a William & Margaret Mitchell nee Knox baptism.

I have DNA matches to descendants of 3 brothers b. 1799-1807 Cruden, sons of John Mitchell & Margaret Mitchell nee Mutch - but Margaret appears to have died before John would have been born in 1820. 

I'm still banging my head against this one!

I guess it is possible that John's father was John and that he was born to a Margaret Knox  (after Margaret Mutch had died) and that his parents did not marry - but I can't find a baptism under the surname Knox either!

answered by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (107k points)
+7 votes
James Robertson: Robertson-14302, The only 3x great grand parent I know virtually nothing about. All I have is his son's birth marriage and death records and since his name is so common I can't track him down. It drives me crazy because unless he left scotland there should be a death cert listing his parents, but who knows if I'll ever find him. Also very few people from scotland seem to have taken DNA tests so I don't even have any promising matches.
answered by Janelle Weir G2G6 Mach 1 (18.3k points)
I know what you mean Janelle..considering my Scottish ancestors had large families, I'm finding very few confirmed matches where I can identify the common ancestor.

And all the hundreds of Scottish matches I do have seem to have lots of the same surnames cropping up in the same tree on different lines!
Janelle , was James' son born after 1855 in Scotland? If after 1855, it should give his parent's name and their marriage date/place.
No, James jr. was born in 1844 so I just have the parish baptism. I do have James jr.'s marriage certs and death cert, but all that give me is that his father was a "seller of spirit" and a hotel keeper and that he died between 1868 and 1893. James jr was raised by his maternal grandparents (I think his mother died soon after his birth) so I he can't be used to locate his father on the census. My current method is going through all the 1851 and 1861 censuses to find a James Robertson with the right occupation, but so far I haven't found any viable candidates.
It's unusual for an 1844 baptism not to name the mother..though you have to be careful as women in Scotland generally kept their birth surname after marriage, so a baptism usually says son of James Robertson by his wife x y.

Also, most baptisms I have seen have usually given the witnesses' names who are usually related, but I guess it varies from parish to parish.

You say  he was raised by his maternal grandparents, so I assume you have a name for his mother...
Sorry if i wasn't clear. The baptism does have the mother listed as Jane Simpson wife (no witnesses though). I have her living with her parents on the 1841 census and I can trace her family. But scotland's people doesn't seem to have a marriage for them so that baptism, and James jr's registers are all I have for James Sr.
have you searched for a James marrying a Jean/Janet/Jannet Simpson/Simson? Scottish women tended to alternate between the variants- I have Jean/Jane/Janet, Christina/Christian, May/Marjory/Margorie, Elspet/Elizabeth
Yup :( between 1840 and 1845 there were no marriages between James Robertson and anyone with the last name of Simpson or Simson. And I looked through all the marriages between a James Robertson and anyone with Jane varient first names and there was nothing even close. I almost wonder if they weren't married and lied for his baptism (his baptism says they were married but his death cert says "Illigitimate"), but then again I've found that scottish records before 1855 are very incomplete.
Yes, that's the problem I'm having too...especially as not all of the non-church of Scotland registers have been added to Scotland's people.

If he was recorded as illegitimate on the death registration then I would think it is highly likely he was, as it isn't something most informants would know. The only records that might help would be the Kirk sessions, but they are not online yet...I think there are plans to digitalise and index them on Scotland's People in the coming year
+5 votes
I was thinking maybe the Long Island Medium could help me with mine... I've been forever searching for some sort of parent for Andrew J. Ream (1811-1873). He lived in Reading, Pennsylvania. We thought he was from Reamstown, but we have read every single piece of paper at the Reamstown Historical Society and no such luck. The President of the society thought perhaps we should be looking for an unmarried mother since there is no record otherwise. There really isn't anyone in the area even eligible. Now my sister and I are learning everything we can about DNA because I think that is the only way we are going to figure this out. She matches to some people from Somerset County, PA. It's just my tree is so much more advanced than other Ream researchers. I even started a One Name Study.
answered by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (276k points)

Lucy, have you tried St. Jude, the patron saint of lost ancestors? laugh

+5 votes
William Sinclair who came from the Orkney Islands of Scotland - came to what would become Manitoba Canada - Rupert's Land and worked for the Husdon Bay Company - which traded in furs born 1788 he came over about 1800 to work at the HBC and later married a Métis (part First Nations) woman and I can not find out much about him - there is another man of the same name who became chief Factor at HBC  - but he married a McKay while my William Married Elizabeth Anderson - Daughter of James Anderson and Marie Suzette Saulteaux

answered by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Mach 7 (78.9k points)
+5 votes
The longest brick wall in my tree is my 3x great grandfather - John Burrow. We know everything about his life after he got married. We know nothing about him before he got married.

We have not been able to find anything new about this man for over 20 years now!!!!

answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (500k points)
+6 votes

Top 10 Most Wanted Ancestors List 1.Samuel Redner 2.Sarah Benjamin 3.James Denton

answered by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+4 votes

The brick wall I'd most like to solve remains my fourth great grandfather, Charles Hambelton.  His life in Québec is well-documented, including records for his three marriages and his 19 children, but his life before his first marriage in 1795 in shrouded in mystery.  Determining his parentage has been made more difficult because his place of origin is unknown.

answered by Greg Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
+8 votes

I would love for fellow Wikitree member, Deb Cavel, to break through her brick wall with her 2nd Great Grandmother

Martha Jeanette (Merritt) Kast

So if anyone stumbles across anything...

(I admit I am a little selfish because this ancestor is probably our link.)

For myself, I'd be happy with some paternal DNA confirmation. 

I hope you all find your breakthroughs and have a Merry Christmas!

answered by Tim Campbell G2G2 (2.7k points)
+6 votes

Annie Killingsworth, my great great great grandmother.  Family letters and records have very little information about her (which is unusual for this family), and I can't find documentation of her prior to her marriage to William Bangs.  (Haven't found the marriage record, for that matter.)  There's another Killingsworth (Rachel Caroline) living with her at one point and I've researched the heck out of Rachel's family, but I haven't found a definite connection between them and Annie.

The only photo we have of her (on her profile page) has a very deliberate X scratched over her face, so someone at some point was clearly unhappy with her... I'm very curious to try to find out more!

answered by Lisa Hazard G2G6 Mach 2 (29.1k points)
+6 votes
That's a HARD one, as I have several stubborn brickwalls. I think I'll have to go with Cyrus Tanksley, a man so mysterious, even he gave his own birthplace as "Don't Know" on one census. I've half-decided he changed his name to escape some deep, dark secret. There is no trace of him before he married in 1859, which is remarkable considering he was a grown man of about thirty-five.

answered by Jessica Key G2G6 Mach 7 (72.2k points)
+3 votes

My best Christmas present would be to have more information on my Buisch line. Immigrant family arrived in New York from France in 1834. They ended up in Buffalo with the earliest mention being Mrs. Barbara Buesch, grocer, in an 1848 Buffalo city directory. I haven’t been able to locate the family in the 1840 census. These are my 3x great grandparents:

George Buisch

Barbara Unknown

Other genealogical Christmas wishes:

More DNA confirmation on mother’s bio dad

Clarity in sorting the 2 Durrmeier / Dearmeyer families in Amherst, New York.

Christmas miracles needed:

Being able to sort through all the Bambergs in Buffalo from Bavaria who played in the Bamberg Band at one time or another and liked to name one son John A. Bamberg.

That none of the Walshs and Donovans on mom’s maternal line are related to the Walshs and Donovans on her paternal line as well. (‘Tis the season to expect major miracles, right? Okay, just deluding myself with this wish...)

answered by Erin Klein G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)
+4 votes

The progenitor of my Weddington branch, Jacob Weddington.

More info can be found at the Weddington Name Study.

I don't think any more can be found out without doing a DNA test. Would be glad to be proved wrong.

answered by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
+3 votes
answered by Dave Welburn G2G6 Mach 7 (78.4k points)
+3 votes
Two Names! My mother, 94, has been searching for the identity of her husband's maternal grandmother ever since she met my Dad in 1947. The records are lost, hidden, redacted..you name it. She went by four different first names: Ruth, Emma, Emily, and Viola, and had two possible maiden surnames. She gave several different years of birth and two countries of birth. The first mention we have is in the 1901 Census of Canada, when she was already the mother of my grandmother, Vina (rhymes with China) Ruth Tillman.

 All this time we thought Vina's father was William Tillman, the man whose surname her mother took, the man who reportedly lived with them off and on! However, DNA is telling us a different story. Nothing Tillman(n) related is coming up. I am focusing on the Ardiel/Powell line based in the London, Ontario, Canada area and on the Glass/Houston/Cooper line of Pennsylvania! Believe me, I have been to every possible archive and to SLC. I have even hired ProGenealogists to assist but so far no answers. I've presented on this BrickWall at the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (2x) in hopes that someone knows something!

Season's Love to you all from New Member Georgie
answered by Georgie Thompson G2G Crew (410 points)
+3 votes
Information about my great-grandfather, Frederick Maximillian Aurich. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Aurich-24 would be my Christmas wish.

I've only recently discovered I have German_Roots and have been unable to find any relatives with this seemingly sparse last name. I'm also not familiar with how to research German Records during this time period.

DNA testing hasn't provided any leads...
answered by Shanna Leeland G2G6 Mach 1 (10.2k points)
+2 votes

Sorry my post above should have been an answer.

I’m late to the party, but mine (as Posted a couple of times before) would be Isham Walker-6742. He is one heck of a brick wall. I’m starting to believe he wasn’t born in SC as everyone has been led to believe. But since I don’t know what his parents names are I don’t know where to look next.

answered by Angela Herman G2G6 Mach 1 (10.6k points)
Better late than never Angela.

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