Brick Wall Problems

Genealogy Sisters solved a major brick wall this month in our family tree.  For newbies in genealogy, a “brick wall” is a research problem that seems really hard to solve, almost insurmountable.  Teamwork can help knock those walls down.

In our family tree we have a Joseph Doran (1895-1941), born in Belfast, County Antrim, North Ireland. From research handed down through the family from Joseph’s niece, Sal Rafferty, we knew he married someone named Audrey, and that they didn’t have children.   Sal also thought they may have lived in Cleveland, Ohio.  From Joseph’s burial records at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, NJ, we knew that his brother William paid for Joseph’s burial.  A previous search looking for an obituary was fruitless.

Doing a search in the Heritage Quest Federal Census records (available for free through many libraries) I had found a likely Joseph Doran in the 1920 Federal Census living in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio. Turning over what I found to my Genealogy Sister, she in turn searched Family Search records (provided on-line for free by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) in a database called, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950”, and found the exact record we had been looking for!  Joseph Doran’s parents were the correct ones – Bernard Doran and Mary Hall.  A mystery solved as easy as one, two, three – and all for free – by working together!

Below is Joseph Doran’s marriage record to Audrey Eden dating from 17 March 1922, in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio.

Good luck with all of your brick wall problems, too!  If you are having a pesky problem tracking down an elusive ancestor, drop us a line and we’ll try to give you some help.  No guarantees, but we’ll do our best!

2 thoughts on “Brick Wall Problems

  1. Re: Brickwall
    We should also explain that we did not even know that Joseph Doran (1895-1941) had existed when we started researching the Doran family tree except in a vague way (the name Joseph being passed down to more recent generations). So the information that Sal Rafferty wrote down was our Rosetta Stone.


  2. So true, Veronica! We are very lucky that Sal decided to be a family historian! Every little bit that is written down may help someone in a future generation. FYI – if you click on this marriage record it opens up into a larger format making it easier on the eyes to read.


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