Professional Genealogists Use Timelines Help Break Down Brick Walls
Professional genealogists run into brick walls as often as amateur genealogists, the difference is in how they in part attempt to resolve it. The use of timelines has allowed us to reach conclusions that were not otherwise readily apparent. We did some extensive genealogical research for a genealogy client with a common surname where there were no vital records available. The fact that it was a common surname made this even more challenging. We resorted to doing extensive genealogy research in the probate records and built a timeline using that information. We were able to determine how many people with this same name lived in the region and were also able to build an indentity for each person. We color coded the names of the different identities we discovered during the genealogy research as well as the different areas which brought this information to life and made the results readily apparent. This genealogy profile included where they owned land, the physical characteristics of their land and surroundings, their spouse(s), their neighbors, people they bought and sold land from, people they signed documents as witnesses with, people they served on juries with, people they loaned money to, people they had conflicts with, and people with the same surname that lived in close proximity that identified possible family members. In one county we were able to create 4 identities with people all having the same name living in distinctively different areas. In this case it was more difficult because they relocated often so it is now necessary to repeat this process and use the identities created to compare for commonalities in a attempt to link these families as they relocated to new regions. This will allow us to determine their migration and if it was part of a group migration. This genealogy research is time consuming but alot of fun and rewarding to see the results of the hard work!