Family historians and genealogists work very hard to overcome “brick walls” in research. This term refers to problems that prevent us from finding a name, date, or place to prove lineage to an ancestor or to a family line.

The most common brick wall is finding a name, especially maiden names. Females and children were not named in United States census records until 1850, unless they were head of household. Another problem is too many common names in the same location during the same time period. We search for census records, last will and testament, birth and death certificates, marriage records, etc., to solve our genealogical problems.

When those records are not available, there are many ways to broaden your research through networking to conquer the brick wall. Expand your search by communicating with others who have the same interest in genealogy.

Open an account as a volunteer on and search for memorials of your ancestors. Contact the volunteers who created the memorials and posted photos on the memorials. They might be your relatives. Create a memorial if your ancestor does not already have one, and a relative might contact you to share information.

Visit or join historical and genealogical societies in the area where you reside and in the areas where your ancestors lived. Presentations and casual conversations at the meetings will often give you a boost over that brick wall. You will most likely have relatives in these groups if you compare your family trees and surnames.

Genetic testing with DNA for genealogical reasons will open up the entire world. Review your list of matches and communicate with your new relatives who could live in your area or in various countries around the world. List your e-mail address and family surnames on your DNA account. View test results that show your ethnic and geographic origins. You might find the results surprising. The Family Finder autosomal test through Family Tree DNA can identify relatives that you have in common up to a fourth great-grandparent.

The Internet allows us to share genealogical information with individuals or groups through Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, historical and genealogical society websites, and many other websites. The possibilities are endless on discoveries that are waiting.

Visit libraries and archive offices to meet the staff and other patrons who are researching. Attend family reunions and community historical events. Assist with cemetery cleanups and grave markings. Attend Decoration Day at cemeteries.

Utilize e-mails and message boards to communicate family questions and answers. If you want to receive information, you…