Make a New Year’s Resolution to Make a Break Through on a Difficult Line!

Hi Everyone!

I sure hope that everyone received the gifts they were expecting for the Christmas holiday.  For avid genealogists I know that can mean only one thing — a new discovery on a difficult family line!

Well then again that does not always happen no matter how hard we wish for a new discovery to push our research lines farther and farther back.

So now with New Year’s rapidly approaching maybe your alternative for next year is to roll up your sleeves and make a New Year’s resolution to re-examine all of the data you may have on one of your more difficult research lines for which you have not made any progress recently.

Now is a great time of the year when the snows of winter may have made it easier for us to stay inside rather than continue to pursue out of the home research in various facilities.  Now is the time to review what we may have previously discovered and how new pieces of information may finally allow us to break through in a big way on one of our troubled research lines.

Here are some simple things to do to see if you can discover something new to allow you to break through your research brick walls:

  • Take a look at your established paper trails for a particular individual you are having trouble with.  I can’t tell you how many times I have noticed something in what I may already have in my possession.  The light bulb may not have previously lit up but taking another look at paperwork you may have may certainly trigger the bulb to light up this time.
  • Re-visit the online databases from which you may have already received some information.  These databases are constantly being added to.  Perhaps the data you needed in the past was simply not in the database at the time because it may have only been 50% completed.  Maybe the database is not 80% completed and the one piece you need is now there.  But you won’t know unless you routinely re-visit these databases.
  • A brand new database may have added on since you last visited at a popular site like Ancestry or Footnote.  If you subscribe to these keep returning to these sites to see what is new.  If you don’t subscribe personally to them at home, then come on in to our library and use them in our library.  We subscribe to them here, but subscription limitations do not allow us to make these available to you from home as a benefit of being a Schaumburg Township District Library card holder.
  • Talk over your troubled line with a collaborative researcher, perhaps one of the many cousins you have discovered.  Multiple heads are better than one because new perspectives may come to the surface.  Individually we may not be able to see things in a different way.  The opinions of another researcher may shed light on a research problem that we were simply not able to see ourselves.
  • Take a look at the growing data being placed online form the Mormons at their Pilot Search project at their web site at  More and more of their films are being digitized and made available for free online.  You can actually do your search online because the film data has been indexed and if you get a hit, you can often link directly to the image of the data itself and save it to your computer.  The data being made available is from worldwide, not just the United States.  Keep you ears open to the progress being made through this project and take a look at the data to see what may be there for you to make a break through in your research.
  • Consider hiring a professional for the one area of your difficulty.  For all of the time that has not been productive for you, it may actually help you to spend some money for a professional to maybe deliver to you the one piece of information you have sought for years.  Once a professional brings a breakthrough you may discover that all of your research will have accelerated.  Consider this option even though it may cost you some money.

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, making these break throughs may still not happen!  Being angry and discouraged may only take you to the next 5 minutes!  But you still have the problem.

Try some of the above actions to see if anything new pops up from which you can build upon.  Keep plugging away at your brick wall problem and see if you can loosen up a few bricks by trying some of the above actions.

Maybe next year may be the year of the long-awaited discovery!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

One response to “Make a New Year’s Resolution to Make a Break Through on a Difficult Line!

  1. This is a very good post and i also like your blog page layout too. Bookmarked your site and will stop by again

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