Don’t bark up your family tree in futility. Try these nine
old-school strategies to break through your brick walls.
Thanks to online databases and millions of digitized records, today’s breed of genealogist has instant resources at hand to search from the comfort of home. And the research is quick and simple—if your ancestors’ names are indexed and recorded exactly the way you expect them to be spelled; if your ancestors are documented in the records where you expect them to be; if the records all survived and aren’t scattered, inaccessible, unreadable or destroyed; and if all your forebears left detailed records in logical locations.
These obstacles, of course, aren’t really new to online searching. Researchers had these same dilemmas years ago when hunting down ancestors on microfilm, in books and in original records. Whether you’re part of the “new dog” breed of genealogists or an “old mutt” like me, your research success depends on using critical-thinking skills, as well as problem-solving strategies. Let these nine tricks and examples serve as your training to go from an eager genealogical pup to an expert hunting dog.