3 Common Brick Walls All Family Researchers Usually Come Across

Whether you dive into it as a hobby or for other purposes, finding family history can be a rewarding experience. It can help you learn more about your roots while offering a lot of inspiration for the future.

But, as fun as it sounds, it can also be very challenging at times—especially when you reach what we like to call brick walls.


Brick walls are typically those points in family research where you’re completely out of leads and uncertain about how to proceed. Some walls can be impossible to break down, while others are mere pitstops that appear to be brick walls.


Here are some of the most common ones we’ve heard most family researchers complain about.

The Information You Need Can’t Be Found Online

Nowadays, a lot of family researchers conduct the bulk of their research through online records. And generally, it may appear that online records are abundant enough to cover it all.


But very often, people find themselves looking for information for their family tree that isn’t available online. For researchers on a time crunch that were hoping to complete all of their research from their couch, running out of online records can feel like a major brick wall.


But this is also a brick wall with a very obvious solution. All one really needs to do is start looking beyond online records. You’d be surprised at the abundance of information you can find offline.

Never-Ending Name-Related Confusions

Another brick wall or walls are names. From not being able to find a name to having the wrong spelling, maiden name mysteries, and common names—there are quite a few ways ancestors’ names can stir up entire brick walls.


Not having the right name can make it harder to follow a specific branch of the family tree. While having a very common name for an ancestor, for instance, John Smith, can make you feel like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack.


Typically, land, church, and court documents can really help you put pieces together in case of a maiden name mystery, while trying different spelling variations can also help in some instances.

The Records You Need Don’t Exist or Were Destroyed or Lost

For a lot of researchers, their research comes to a standstill because of missing records. This can be due to a lot of reasons.


Some records weren’t created in the first place. For example, there was no federal census before 1790. So, if you want to track your ancestry for the 180 years before that, since Jamestown, you’d hit an immediate roadblock. On the other hand, some records have been destroyed in Church fires and so on. Many others have been lost too over the years.


Lost or missing records can create some brick walls that can be very hard to knock down. But it’s not quite impossible, especially if you’ve got expert DNA research assistance and traditional genealogy services like the ones offered at DavisDNA And Family Research.


Give us a call today to learn more about our genealogy services.