Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brick Walls

Do you know what a "brick wall" is?    Basically, it is when you have done your genealogy research and you just can't go any further, it's just as if a brick wall were there blocking your way.

So, what do you do?  About.com has a good article with strategies, all of which I have used.  The ProGenealogists site of Ancestry has suggestions too.  Genealogy In Time magazine, gives 50 suggestions.  These should help you get started with some ideas.

The layout above has two of my brick walls - married to each other!  My great great grandparents both came from eastern Europe and met in Anaconda, Montana, which at one time had more people from more countries in the world, than any other place on the globe.  It's a tiny town now, but at one time was part of the mining boom and specifically copper mining at Anaconda Copper and Mining.  The men in this picture worked there and certainly I'm sure the women here spent a lot of time in prayer for safety for these men.

One thing I learned by starting and then abandoning a blog on my ancestors, is that even if you forget it's there, other people find it.  Scrapbooking I think could be helpful as well.  If you do a layout and post it in a gallery and in your description discuss the ancestors, it could come up in an internet search for someone researching the same family.  Most of my great genealogical finds have been connecting with a distant cousin who is not direct line but a collateral line.  So today, I am posting my brick wall to encourage you to try it for yourself.

Anna Dipko was born about 1874 in "Austria", but spoke Slovak, so we think the family is Slovakian but that land was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time she was born.  Census records list her as having immigrated in 1885.  Her death certificate lists parents as Michael Dipko and Mary.  Michael Dipko was present when she was married but we have found no trace of them.  There is a Joe Dipko who was a cousin to my great Grandma Anna Smith, Anna Dipko's daughter.  But neither their family nor ours knows how we are related.  We suspect that Joe's father was Anna's brother.  There are Dipko families in the mining areas in Pennsylvania and a few in Ohio, but otherwise we have not found any Dipkos.  We have tried all the usual - immigration, ship lists etc, to no avail.  She died in 1943 in Missoula, Montana.

Anna Dipko married an interesting man named Alexander Burczinski.  He came from Poland about 1876.  Some military records have shown that he was widowed in Poland, came to the United States as a young man and joined the US Army where he was sent to Montana.  He then went by Alexander Smith. (Gee thanks - that helps in the genealogy searches!)  Later he is listed as CBF Smith which I am told stands for Cyrus Benjamin Franklin.  An article also calls him ABC Smith because he was fluent in several languages and often helped miners in court cases since they did not understand English.  I have found him on the 1910 census, but cannot find the family in 1900.  Given that their children were all born in Anaconda, Montana before that time and living there afterwards, and that there income was the mine and that they don't show up on any other census indexes, I'm assuming they were missed or they are under another name.  I have gone through page by page.  Marriage records in Latin, give his parents' names as Nestor Burczinski and Pulcherine Mendesca.  He lived 1855-1928.

One day I hope I'm able to climb my brick wall and see what's on the other side.

If you would like to share your brick wall story, it could earn you a chance to win a 6 month US Ancestry membership or a copy of Family Treemaker 2012!  For details see this blog post and enter your brick wall story on the comment section there.

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