Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brickwall Resolutions

It’s a New Year and time to look at genealogy resolutions. Every year I go through what I’d like to accomplish with my family history research and then, when I review it in December – well, you know. What I’m going to do this year is be more realistic. Instead of saying “I’m going to solve some brick walls.” I will focus on one family.

I’ll take a look at the Beach family in New York City in the mid 1800’s. I’ll identify the siblings of my brick wall – Charles E Beach 1830-1889. I’ll find all the Federal and State Census records for his lifespan. I’ll record his address and look at historical maps (search www.Mocavo.com for historical maps) for churches in the area that may have records. Some school records are also available.

The Mocavo.com search produced an unexpected treasure trove of online historical maps from a special collection at the University of Texas – Austin library. When I tried the search from the library’s website I was stumped but Mocavo drilled right through the system and brought me to this page with lots of information.
Some of the maps online from Texas University Library
I’ll look at his occupation since many occupations are handed down from generation to generation. City directories list occupations, also. I use www.Cyndislist.com  to help find websites with these after I check www.ancestry.com.  I’ll look at his children’s records, also, since many of these records may mention family. Www.Ancesty.com  has yearbooks online, too. I’ll search newspaper records for the area he lived and the area his siblings lived using www.genealogybank.com. I was surprised to see that visits from relatives were newsworthy in Fulton County New York’s papers www.fultonhistory.com.

I’ll see if I can figure out which Charles E. Beach was a Civil War Veteran and which one was a deserter using www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/ or www.fold3.com . I’ll find obituaries for the siblings and children; maybe one of them mentions a hometown.

I’ll refer to the state guides from Family Tree Magazine www.familytreemagazine.com either from each magazine, the CD for state research, or the 10 year annual magazine collection. Good state resource lists are available in other books and publications, too: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com, www.researchguides.net/census/state.htm , and The Red Book (included on some of the Family Tree Maker resource CD’s.) I won’t neglect county records and historical societies in my research.
Some of the state projects at Rootsweb
So, I wish each of you success in breaking through at least one brickwall this year. Break the project down in to manageable pieces and fill in the blanks as you go. Don’t spend all you time on one project but do allocate some time for a specific piece of the project.

There are many other brickwall techniques and step-by-step guides and I’ll provide more here as we go along.

Happy Hunting!

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