Which single brickwall solution would be your best Christmas present?

+15 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?

in The Tree House by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
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.

Because this got bumped already .. my expressed in this thread Christmas wish was granted.  Not at or by Christmas, but a couple of months later (even if I sat on it for a while checking things out to be sure I wasn't dreaming them up).

As has been posted elsewhere on G2G my "Liverpool born" gr-gr-grand wasn't.  Which is why he was a brickwall.  He was born in Sweden and the names he gave for himself and his father weren't exactly 100% accurate, either.  (More brickwall.)

But once the bricks started to loosen enough to pull from the wall, he was documentable and verified.

Definitely post this again, Pip.


This brickwall would be ALL my christmas & birthday present for life. My 2x Great grandfathers parents 

24 Answers

+9 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

by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.1m 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 ?
+9 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
by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (373k points)
+9 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!

by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (121k points)
+11 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.
by Janelle Weir G2G6 Mach 4 (45.3k 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
+9 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.
by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (482k points)

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

+7 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

by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (145k points)
+9 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!!!!

by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (869k points)
+10 votes

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

by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+8 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.

by Greg Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (278k points)
+12 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!

by Tim Campbell G2G3 (3.6k points)

Martha may be the descendant of Private Frederick Kast, who served as a soldier in the American Revolution and also suffered the destruction of some property during the war.  Private Frederick Kast's son was named Peter.


{{DAR-grs|A063680 | Frederick Kast| Dec 12, 2019}}

Here's to Wiki collaboration!
+9 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!

by Lisa Hazard G2G6 Pilot (134k points)
+8 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.

by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (177k points)
+6 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...)

by Erin Klein G2G6 Mach 1 (20.0k points)
+7 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.

by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (225k points)
+5 votes
by Dave Welburn G2G6 Pilot (111k points)
+6 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
by Georgie Thompson G2G Crew (530 points)
+6 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...
by Shanna Leeland G2G6 Mach 5 (52.1k points)
+5 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.

by Angela Herman G2G6 Mach 1 (15.8k points)
Better late than never Angela.
+4 votes
Pip this is such a great question that I have added it to my list of favorites.I missed it last year,please repost it this year.
by James Collins G2G6 Mach 5 (54.6k points)
Thanks Pip.I have a brick wall I will be adding as soon as I am up to the task.
+4 votes


I consider this topic  reposted by James Collins!   Thanks James.  I was  "out of action" when this was originally posted   (yes, as you get older long term medical things might crop up, but fortunately we sometimes recover in full glory).....    There's no doubt who my most intriguing brick wall is:   Pip seems to have a gift for knowing what we want to brag about or when we just what a sympathetic ear.... and brickwalls fit the glove.   

William Obediah Wood,    (AKA Revolutionary War Bill")  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wood-3158   haunts me the most...... it's believed his father's name was William Tilden Wood..... but the trail goes cold.   Though there are many myths about his parentage posted on Ancestry.com trees.    Actually,  I'm thankful just to know the stories captured by the Marion County (Arkansas) historical society.   Their work made me realize the importance of documenting the lives of our RECENT ancestors.   So many incredible stories are lost otherwise.

For now,  Pip is enjoying a well deserved weekend outing.... connecting with his Scottish heritage.  

Thanks again James.   

by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (423k points)
You are most welcome Peggy.

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