Who are your end-of-line ancestors? "Direct-line ancestors with no parents" option. Your direct-line ancestors who do not have known parents are your end-of-line ancestors. So what is the strategy for extending a line? Especially a line that has reached or nearly reached the theoretical or practical limit. There are a lot of posts and other articles on the so-called brick wall problem.
Place your ancestors in time and space. Where were you born? If you don't know, then that is the first step in your genealogical digging. I have said this before, but it bears mentioning over and again, your mother was there when you were born. Your grandmother was there when your father was born and so forth and so on. So how did your mother get to where you were born? By the way, the same rule does not hold true for your father, he may have been just about anywhere or even deceased when you were born. We spend a awful lot of time looking for male members of our families when it is the females that hold all the links to all the information.
The idea is to locate at least one event in a particular location. The problem in finding your great-great-grandfather isn't really about him, it is about his children, at least one of whom survived to adulthood or you would not be here. There is one more rule, it may seem very cynical, but you have a much better chance of identifying the true mother of your ancestor than you do the true father. No matter how certain you may think you are, there is always a measure of uncertainty in any pedigree where the mothers are not positively identified. If you want to blindly ignore this principle, you do so at your own peril.
If you don't know where a relative was born or where he or she lived, then you are skipping a generation. Focus on the children. Find out as much as you can about the children. Where and when were they born? Where did they live? On and on and on. Focus on those events and places where you can positively identify the time period in which they lived and the place. Look for records at that time and in that place. Instead of spending years looking for your great-great-grandfather, spend you time looking for your great-grandfather and finding your great-great-grandfather just might take care of itself.
First, end-of-line ancestors are part of genealogy. That doesn't mean there is nothing you can do. Most often though people pound against the brick wall that is the end-of-line ancestor, never wavering. This usually results in nothing but frustration. Instead, you may need to attack the problem from a different angle or a different generation. Stand back from your end-of-line ancestor.
Some suffers invent imaginary ancestors or link to unproven connections. This delusion can be seen by the proliferation of ancestors named Mr. or Mrs. End-of-line on many online family trees. Some of these invented individuals take on the same name as the last verified ancestor with the same birthdate, and thereby allow the sufferer to extend the ancestral line for many generations. Both of these situations can be seen in the following screenshot where father and son have the same names and the same wives' names and the line is extended with a Mr. and Mrs.
Evaluate Where You Are
Evaluating where you are in your research means more than just simply looking at your pedigree chart or family group sheet of your end-of-line ancestor. Evaluating where you are in your research means reexamining all the research you have done on that line up to this point. To effectively accomplish such a reevaluation requires that you have some method of organization when it comes to the copies you have made.
In addition to organizing the records you have found, you must also be tracking your negative research. After all, with the positive research, you have photocopies or transcriptions that let you know that you looked in a given source. With negative evidence, there is nothing to show for the search unless you are recording that information. Research logs are critical to this. Research logs should be used for both negative and positive research. A research log, when properly kept, can aid you during this time of reexamination.
What Are You Missing?
As you look at your pedigree chart and family group sheets, look at them from the aspect of what you might not have done in your research. With a discerning eye, see if you have jumped over some records in your zeal to get back another generation. It is tempting to skip records if our ancestors are showing up in the census records. But those records we skipped may hold the clues to where you should go next. They may be the records that prove your previous information is in error, especially if all you have has come from the census records.
Perhaps you might want to compare your research to a resources checklist to see what records you may have overlooked in your research. It is natural for us to stick with what we know. When comparing the records we have already checked with such a list, we often discover new resources that may solve the brick wall.
If you don't know how to use a particular record type or what it may have to offer, you will find that there are many resources both online and published that will guide you through the process of accessing a particular record type or what information that record may hold. Keep in mind that many records are not available online. You will need to get microfilmed records and in some instances, write away for photocopies of original records. You may even have to hire a professional researcher in some instances.
Usually when you go back and review your past research you will often discover overlooked records or incorrect evaluations in past research. In some instances your ever growing knowledge and experience will give you a better eye to evaluating the information found and not found than you had when you originally did the research. If you find no information, after making a reasonably exhaustive search, you may be at the end of your line.
Pedigree Collapse - http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/2011/10/pedigree-collapse-and-end-of-line.html