Tuesday, July 27, 2021

TUESDAY’S TIP ~ Working on your Brick Walls & unknown connections–How I Keep Track

If you’re like me, you have a few brick wall ancestors.  We all need a way to keep track of who we’ve researched and what we have or have not found.  No one wants to duplicate their efforts or work on a particular line and forget all the things you’ve located. 

Here’s how I have been keeping track of them in Legacy.  I’ve used this method for several years and so far, it’s worked well.

Two of my biggest brick walls are John C. Gould and Robert L. Bowden.  Who are their parents?  That’s been a burning question for nearly 2 decades now. Without knowing that I have not been able to locate any siblings or other family. This mystery continues, in  spite of DNA testing by many family members and having that DNA on all the sites.

In my Legacy 9 database I like to enter the families I am researching.  If they end up not being connected, that’s fine.  But this way I have kept track of my progress, made necessary notes of what I’ve located and what conclusions I’ve reached.  You could, I’m sure, easily do the same thing in RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker, Reunion or most of the other software available.  Although I haven’t used them all.

Let’s begin.  I find a family I believe is either connected or could be.  Or, that will assist me in my search.

I enter the person into Legacy as an “unlinked” individual.  Menu>Add>Add unlinked male or female. I don’t want these people attached to my tree, but I want them available in my database.  Adding them as unlinked, means they are searchable in my Index or Name List and I can see all their information at a glance.


Notice that I have used double [[brackets]] in the suffix area of each name.  What this means is that my notation of “GOULD surname search” will not show up if I decide to print reports. 

BUT, it allows me to easily spot the people I’ve entered as part of this particular surname search project.

Here is a view of how this person appears in the Individual View in Legacy.

And how they appear in the Index View as well. You can see they are clearly designated.

Another thing I can do is create a list of ONLY these people.  I simply use the Search>Find>Primary Condition = Individual, Where To Look = Suffix, How to look = Contains, What to look for = [[Gould surname search]]

Here is the list of 52 individuals in my database with the Gould Surname Search designation

I treat these people as if they are connected to my family, in regards to my entries in Legacy.  They are assigned hash tags, sources, events and images.  I also keep research notes for them.  Just think, if I do ever find out they are connected, I can attach them to the rest of my tree with a mouse click or two.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Example of some notes I have for Benjamin Gould

Speaking of hash tags.  When I began using these brackets several years ago, Legacy did not have the hashtag feature.  I now use that, as well, to indicate individuals who are in a particular group.  See the example below. It's a bit difficult to see, but you can enlarge it by clicking on it.

I’m sure there are many other ways of keeping track of your unconnected individuals.  But, this works for me.  

What is your method for keeping track?



Mystery Monday Brick Walls Posts - read all about my problem ancestors here

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


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I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.