So it has been a little while since I have been able to blog.  I have had plenty of things to research but sadly my day job has taken over these past 6 months.  It pays the bills so it’s always best to keep the boss happy…but I am beginning to resent just how much it takes over my life.  But hey, at least I don’t work in a coal mine like some of my ancestors!  I’m sure you’d agree it’s good to keep a balanced view on these things.

Anyhow, to blogging and 2018. Once a month huh? Let’s give that a go and see where it leads me…. I know other bloggers have dreams of posting regularly this year too, so I think I’ll join you.

Today I thought I’d chat a little bit about brick walls.  A while ago now I had a chat on Instagram ( with @ourpasts and we were comparing notes on the frustrations of brick walls.  Like most, I have had my fair share of brick walls over the years.  And just when one goes, BAM! another one pops up.

So how do you cope with these little bad boys of genealogy?  Well to be perfectly honest, they are what make me love genealogy in the first place……the thrill of the chase?! (yes, I think I really am that sad!).  My efforts last year trying to get to the bottom of my Mum’s DNA curve ball, saw many lost hours over the keyboard and copious glasses of red wine.  But I really do love whiling away the hours like it’s the latest Agatha Christie novel.  And smashing a brick wall is just like the moment that Poirot makes his inevitable speech and reveals the killer!

So for me, the first hint to smashing that brick wall, is ‘chill out’.  Frustration will only clog up the brain and you will make mistakes in your haste to find a solution. Relax. Maybe (dare I suggest it) put away that puzzle for a while and look at something else.  I have done that with a few ancestors and then when I picked it up with a fresh set of eyes I realised that I hadn’t searched a really obvious record!

Simply let your mind wander. Sometimes on the commute home from a long day at my ‘day job’, I simply close my eyes and let my mind wander.  I think about the streets of London near where I work.  How different are they to the streets my ancestors had walked down?  I think of the smells and sounds. Of the steam trains whizzing by. Did they take the tube…or walk?  I also think of the voyages they made across the oceans.  How did they feel when they arrived?  What is the first thing you look for – house or job? How did they cope with the weather? The strange biting creatures…spiders and snakes.  All of this helps you think of them as they lived and perhaps an idea pops into your mind that you may never have thought of.

Relax – this is a hobby. Enjoy the escapism when solving the mystery in your family tree.