It never fails.  You break through one genealogy brick wall so you start down another branch of the family tree.  And, guess what?  Another brick wall!

I learned a thing or two in my seven year effort to break through my last brick wall.  I’m going to employ some of those lessons and hope they help me get a bit further, a bit faster.

After hearing a guest speaker at the library discuss various genealogy DNA testing options, I’ve decided to do another DNA test with  Why?  Because they have a large representation of the British Isles and may be able to help me pinpoint where some of my difficult-to-trace ancestors actually came from.  As anyone who reads this blog knows, DNA testing helped me finally figure out one section of my father’s side of the family.  I’m hoping lightening might strike twice – we’ll see what happens.

I’m also going to go straight to cluster and collateral research.

Cluster research involves researching the people with whom your ancestor interacted such as neighbors, fellow church-goers, and friends.

You most likely won’t get direct information about your ancestor but hopefully you will get ideas about his/her life that may give you new clues for your research.  For example, if you research your ancestor’s neighbors and discover they all came from the same town in Ireland, the odds are good your ancestor came from there too.  That gives you a useful starting point for research.

Collateral research may be more directly useful for genealogy.  Rather than just researching the branch of your family tree that relates to you, you expand your research to siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

The idea is that you will hopefully find records about your direct ancestor among those of your indirect ancestors.  It is a fair amount of work but it also adds to your overall understanding of your family so it is worth the time.  I will let you know if I have any luck!

During this holiday season don’t forget to ask genealogy questions of family members.  It is the ideal time to learn a bit more and move your research forward.  Happy research and happy Thanksgiving!