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Brick Wall


This week’s 52 Ancestor’s writing prompt is “Brick Wall.” Since I’ve written a LOT about James Crawford, one of my brick walls, I decided to look at the fan chart for my tree on FamilySearch to see what other ‘potential’ brick walls were in my tree.

Looking at that chart, there are 4 spots areas where I’m missing 7th generation ancestors. Because I haven’t put much effort into researching them, I don’t consider any of them potential brick walls. Curious as to how other genealogists define the term ‘Brick Wall,’ I did a quick Google search for ‘brick wall genealogy.’ What I found was some excellent resources to review for tackling a brick wall.

When asked to identify a ‘brick wall’ in my tree, I almost always think of James Crawford (1772-1854). I consider James a brick wall because I’ve done extensive research of James and his descendants but haven’t been able to identify his parents or any siblings.

My records research seems to hit a road block in Garrard County, Kentucky where James marries Sally Duggins in 1799. Thinking I would find something linking James to parents or siblings in this area of Kentucky prior to 1800, I’ve done a lot of research of the various Crawford families in the area. Much of that work has been chronicled on this blog and can be found by using the search box to look for posts about Crawford.

Getting past this roadblock was one of the primary reasons I had my DNA tested at Ancestry. Unfortunately, this might be too many generations back for autosomal DNA to help identify James’ parents. I’m also struggling with an over-abundance of DNA matches. To help make sense of all of these matches and to hopefully connect with that researcher with the answer, I research the descendants of my ancestors, including James Crawford. Thru this research, I have identified DNA matches to support my Crawford paper research.

This roadblock is also why I asked my brother to have his yDNA tested. His BigY results support a theory suggested by all of my paper research: the James Crawfords of early Garrard County, Kentucky are likely related. Currently, the following ancestors have been placed n the R-Y88686 haplogroup:

  • James Crawford b 1772 VA m1799 KY d 1854 OH (my line)
  • William Nelson Crawford, b 1829 OH and d. 1907 WA
  • James Crawford b 1770 VA M Knight 1793 KY d 1833 IN
  • James Crawford b1758 VA d 1836 IN

To keep these James Crawfords and others separate, I usually identify them by their wife. Thus the three James from the yDNA Crawford project are the following:

  • James Crawford (1772-1854) md Sally Duggins in 1799 in Garrard County, KY; owned land in Preble County, Ohio where he died. His son, Nelson, migrated from Preble County, OH to Warren County, IN. (my line)
  • James Crawford (1770-1833) md Martha Knight in 1793 in Lincoln County, KY; owned land in Preble County, Ohio prior to moving to Warren County, IN where he died.
  • James Crawford (1758-1836) md Rebecca Anderson Maxwell. James owned land along Paint Lick Creek in Garrard County KY before migrating to Jefferson County, IN where he died.

Not only is my James Crawford a brick wall, but the other ancestors in the R-Y88686 haplogroup are also brick walls for the researchers of those lines.

Not only is this a ‘genealogy brick wall,’ but Covid-19 has made it a research brick wall. With last year’s shutdown, my research trip to Kentucky was cancelled and genealogy libraries, archives and family history centers were closed. Thus, I’ve taken a break from my Crawford research to work on other lines in my tree.

In hopes that I might be able to resume this research, I need to

  • create a new plan to research the Crawford families of Montgomery and Botetourt Counties in Virginia.
  • identify the Kentucky neighbors who arrived in Kentucky about the same time as the Crawfords for further research.
  • do more research on the Duggins step-children in hopes of learning more about our common ancestor.
  • learn more about Virginia and Virginia records prior to 1800.
  • follow the genealogy news for the opening of libraries, archives and family history centers.
  • plan a genealogy research trip – even if only for a day of research.

3 thoughts on “Brick Wall

  1. Wow, my grandma’s family is from Paint Lick, Garrard County, KY. She spent several vacations in the 60s at the courthouse. I inherited stacks of her research. She was looking at Hurts and Bryants. Not sure of any Crawfords, though. Our family came to Garrard County in the late 1700s and moved to Illinois in the late 1800s. I will look at your Crawford blog posts.

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