Are you having a hard time searching for an ancestor, and have hit a brick wall? Have you ever considered your ancestor having a hidden identity? Follow my journey on a brick wall case I had in my family tree, years ago, for some research tips and methods I used!
Years ago, the first year I started my genealogy research, I was given a hand drawn family tree chart by my father; that's what got me started on the genealogy craze!😉In the hand drawn family tree chart, my grandmother's father was listed with the name Frank Smith. How common is that name!? I didn't know where to start with him. Because I knew where they lived at the time, I was able to find my first record. The first record I had found was the 1930 Census, in which the entire family was shown; after finding that record, the rest was like finding a needle in a haystack with that name! When I told my father that I was interested in finding out more about Frank Smith, he gave me a few records he and my uncle had gathered when they were interested teenagers. These were now the only records I had to go by; a copy of Frank Smith’s death certificate, some miscellaneous letters to the government, and now the 1930 Census. Each of these documents showed his name as Frank Smith.
I was able to locate his 1900 Census, which was just him at the time, stationed in the Philippines during his military service. The only reason why I was able to ascertain that it was the correct census, with such a common name, was because it showed where he was born, his month and year of birth, not to mention it was where he was stationed during his time in the service. There were also MANY Frank Smiths stationed in the Philippines at that time, which is why I also searched specifically for a Frank Smith born in Wiesbaden (he was extremely proud of that fact, so it was an IMPORTANT search clue), and used the keyword “Carpenter” in my search, as that was his occupation (this was another fact that he was also very proud of, so it was also an IMPORTANT search clue). Other than the 1900 census, the 1930 census, the copies of the death record and the few governmental letters that were given to me, I could not find any other information on him. I hit a major brick wall!
Stay tuned for part 2, you won’t want to miss it; this gets crazy! 😉
Follow my other posts on Genealogy Brick Wall: The Case of an Ancestor's Hidden Identity below, and find more brick wall research tips under the Genealogy Brick Wall Cases category :
Genealogy Brick Wall the Case of an Ancestors Hidden Identity- Part 2: Here
Genealogy Brick Wall the Case of an Ancestors Hidden Identity- Part 3: Here
Genealogy Brick Wall the Case of an Ancestors Hidden Identity- Part 4: Here
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