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Skill-Building: Breaking Down Brick Walls
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Note: Please be aware this course is classified as "Basic Level" in the Professional Development Certificate Program. It has been developed for individuals who are at or working in the Intermediate to Advanced Levels in our other certificate programs. It is advised that you complete the Analysis and Skills Mentoring Program-Part 1 course or have a working knowledge of the topics taught in that course prior to completing this one.

Brick walls are a reality in genealogy research, but fortunately there is hope. In this course, we will look at a variety of strategies you can implement to help turn your research roadblocks into breakthroughs. We will begin with a quick refresher of some key research concepts to help focus your research and prepare you for success. Next, we will walk through some simple steps to get you prepared for the journey. Finally, we will investigate four different approaches you can use to do some brick wall busting. By the end of this course, you should have some new ideas for researching brick walls and the inspiration to forge ahead.

One studentís experience:
To hear a student discussion regarding their experience with this course, please click here. (This is a large file and may take a minute or two to download.)


Module 1
Getting Started: Part 1
Note about Web Addresses

  • What is a Brick Wall?

    Research Methodology Refresher
  • Sources
  • Information
  • Evidence

    Get Organized
    Define the Research Problem
    Case Study - Part 1

    Suggested Reading and Resources
  • Getting Organized

    Module 2
    Getting Started: Part 2
    Compile Basic Information
    Create a List of Name Variations

    Learn the Location
  • Map It
  • Physical maps
  • Political maps
  • Plat maps
  • Topographic maps
  • Locality Guides

    Moving Forward
    Case Study - Part 2
    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 3
    Strategy #1: Review Previous Research
    The Importance of Reviewing Previous Research
    Create a Research Log

    Review Data
  • Real-Life Example

    Evaluate Data
    Analyze Data
    Report & Plan
    Case Study - Part 3
    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 4
    Strategy #2: Develop A Timeline
    What is a Timeline?

    Types of Timelines
  • Basic Timeline
  • Comparative Timeline
  • Historical Timeline

    Methods for Creating a Timeline
    Analyze, Report & Plan
    Case Study - Part 4
    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 5
    Strategy #3: Study The FAN Club
    What is the FAN Club?

    Finding FAN Club Members
  • More About Neighbors

    Methods for Tracking Associates
    Discovering Patterns & Relationships
    Analyze, Report & Plan
    Case Study - Part 5
    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 6
    Strategy #4: Engage Others
    The Power of Collaboration
    Society Meetings & Conferences
    Social Networking Websites
    Message Boards & Mailing Lists
    Online Family Trees
    Librarians, Archivists & Other Record Keepers
    Course Wrap-Up
    Suggested Reading and Resources


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