I have been building my Wakenight family tree on Ancestry.com, for years now. It is my father’s side of the family, and I have gotten as far back as my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Daniel Wakenight.
Then I hit the proverbial “brick wall.” From the US Census Records, I knew he lived in the Boonsboro, Maryland area until the 1840’s, when he moved his family to Hagerstown. On the 1850 census, he stated that he was born in 1792 in Maryland, but I could find no birth or christening record on Ancestry.com.
I did find a document on another family tree that showed that they were members of the Evangelist Lutheran Church in Boonsboro. In 1845, Daniel became a deacon of the church.
So, I had all the information on events after 1816, when he married Isabella, but I could find nothing before that time. I did not know who his parents were and had no luck in searching other websites.
I was getting frustrated, so I decided to stop searching for a few days. When I came back to Daniel Wakenight, I had some new ideas for improving my search results.
First, I went to the Washington County Historical Society’s website and sent them an email. I asked them if they knew how I could go about finding birth records for that area of Maryland in 1792. I gave them the name of the church. I also told them that there were many different ways to spell Wakenight, especially in the 1700s and 1800s.
The next step I took was to visit Whitepages.com. I typed in Wakenight and Hagerstown, MD. I found two people who still lived in that area.
I then signed into my Facebook.com account and typed in the first person’s name. Bingo! She was on Facebook! I messaged her and am awaiting a reply. I am hoping that she knows someone out east that might also be doing some genealogical research on the Wakenight family.
My thinking is, when you hit a “brick wall” in your family tree search, try to think “outside the box.” Not all information will be on your family tree website. Not all records are on the internet.
In some instances, a little ingenuity comes in handy. I am not saying that I will get positive results from the historical society or my Facebook contact. However, something is better than nothing, as the saying goes.
If you would like to share your personal experiences on toppling that wall, please use the Comments Section on this page. I would love to hear your suggestions!
Photo by Danny Howe on Unsplash.