Brick Walls & Puzzle Pieces

et86 Researching one’s family history can be very time-consuming, but the gain of understanding the distant past from a personal perspective can be very rewarding. At times it can also be very frustrating particularly when it seems almost impossible to find any information regarding a particular family line that goes back only two or three generations from the present. Genealogists refer to these "end-of-lines" as brick walls. I sometimes like to think of them as missing pieces of a jig-saw puzzle…

End of the Line?

In the previous chapters, I have described how I have had great success in piecing together the history of family using a variety of research tools available to the family historian. The National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) web site provides a description of the US government records that are available to genealogists. NARA has [...]

The Kollros Family

Prior to the unification of Germany under Bismarck in 1871 the area that we know of today as the nation of Germany was a patchwork of rival states made up of a variety of kingdoms, principalities, duchies, and margraviates. These nations had been formed over hundreds of years from the Germanic tribes that had roamed [...]

The Spiegel Family

It was only a couple of years ago that I first learned of my gg-grandfather, George C. Spiegel. From my early childhood I knew about his daughter (my great-grandmother), Helen Spiegel. My mother kept a portrait of her grandmother on her bedroom dresser. Even my mother knew very little of her grandmother’s family and had [...]

The O’Malley Family

My father’s mother, Geraldine O’Malley DeBacker, died the year that I was born. She came from a family of all girls and she was the youngest of the six daughters of Patrick O’Malley and Molly Hooks. I knew from my father that Patrick O’Malley had been a railroad conductor in Kansas and that his family [...]