Do you have any ancestors that seemed to just fall off the face of the earth after a certain point in time?
A while back, I worked on a case for a client that had hit a brick wall 23 years ago, and had not been able to break through it. She never knew what had happened to her great grandfather, as did his own daughter, her grandmother.
She gave me an excessive amount of information, and had also invited me to her family tree. I explained to her that I NEVER use anyone else’s research, and build my own tree with just the name, age, and known areas for the closest known direct relative to that ancestor. I will look at personal documents, if I need them, after I get to that point and find that it matches my research. My client also let me collaborate on her DNA, which was invaluable.
I built my FRESH tree for the line with the brick wall, and had gotten to the point where she had hit her brick wall. Her great grandfather was nowhere to be found after he had divorced his wife, her great grandmother, in 1893. I had found a person that I suspected was a match; although, he had a different middle initial and last name, his birthdate, place of birth, and occupation matched. This person had seemed to not exist before 1896, and was in a totally different area with an entirely different family, but was strongly suspected as being the same person.
My next step was to build a separate tree for the strongly suspected match. I then grouped her DNA matches, and gathered as many known matches to the person being sought, and the strongly suspected match; the descendants of each matched perfectly in a DNA mapped tree, according to their centimorgans and place in the new, combined tree. Her great grandfather and the strongly suspected match were one in the same.
Her great grandfather had changed his name, moved to a totally different area, and had a whole new family. It is unknown why he left one family behind, and “hid” his past from his new family, but my client had some suspicions as to why.
Through this case, not only was I able to help my client solve her 23 year mystery, but I was also able to help some descendants of the second family of her great grandfather, who had also hit a brick wall, that of his life before 1896. Have you ever thought about a name change when you’ve hit a brick wall? It’s more common than you think. 😉
Find more brick wall research tips under the Genealogy Brick Wall Cases category.
P.S... My older site theme does not support the "Leave a Reply" field labels; if you'd like to leave a comment on a blog, the fields are: Name, Email, Site (if you'd like), and Comment, the standard fields 😉
This post is a participant in the 6th Annual Genealogy Blog Party!
←Back to Genealogy Research Tips Page
Shelley Prelusky nee Mills
4/27/2022 11:22:13 am
Yes such an amazing job. Thanks sooo much for solving this. Awesome job. Thanks again
5/1/2022 05:15:24 am
You are so welcome! It was a great puzzle to solve! Remember, don't keep yourself in a box when researching! Anything is possible, even an ancestor changing their name and creating a whole new life with a new family! ;)
Leave a Reply.
Evalogue.Life, Heart of the Family, Molly's Canopy, Climbing My Family Tree, Cami Mayer, Field Genealogist, Ancestor Detective, DNA Breakthroughs, Your DNA Guide, Ancestral Findings, Genealogy Tip of the Day, Family History Daily, Genea-Musings
I hope my family history and genealogy blog on genealogy research tips, resources, events, and more, along with my own genealogy journeys, will help you in your research and in building your family tree to learn more about your ancestors and family history to preserve for future generations to come!
Come visit me at Know Who Wears the Genes in Your Family if you're interested in starting your family history journey, booking me for your next speaking event, or family history and genealogy heirloom products!