Sunday, December 04, 2011

A New Lesson Learned - Henry Bolin, My Brickwall Lesson

I've been following a blog, Brickwall Protocol, hoping I could learn some new technique or method to help work on my brickwall ancestors. I started with one of my brickwall ancestors, Henry Bolin/Boland, of which I had only five documents of his existence. He was in the Tax Lists of Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1797 and 1805. He was in the 1800 census in Wilkes County. He was bondsman on two of his daughters' marriages in Wayne County, Kentucky. Nancy Ann had married Jonathan Lovell on Nov. 23, 1860. Betsy had married William Fields on Feb. 28, 1818. I have been searching for any other record of him for several years now. So I started going through these lessons on this blog until I reached BWP No. 12: Point of Reference on

I had already made timelines of this family, had a lot of gaps, and had run out of places to look. Only 2 years ago I had found another son, George Washington Bolin, and his marriage in Russell County, Kentucky to Elizabeth Johnson on Apr. 25, 1835. I also had two more prospective brothers, Andrew and John. I was slowly building a family of his children, but still could not find any more on Henry. The two daughters lived for a while in Pulaski County and then finally moved to Indiana along with the brother George. George moved back to Kentucky and I have followed him through several counties where I had found the two prospective brothers. I had all these little pieces of information, but no idea of how to put them together to find their father.

That's when I decided to use my Henry Bolin on the Brickwall Protocol lessons. I had gone all the way through to lesson no. 12 when it hit me. The title of the lesson was Point of Reference, I had never actually used this. In the lesson you have to put your ancestor in historical context, you have to put dates of historical events on your time line to help you visualize how your ancestor might have reacted to events going on around him. I started looking at the histories of the counties that Henry and his children were linked to in Kentucky: Russell, Wayne, Pulaski, Hart, Adair, and Casey counties (Kentucky is where I had obtained the most information.) When I came across an historical fact: Russell County was formed in 1825 out of the counties of Adair, Wayne, and Cumberland counties.

I had learned a new lesson! I had never thought of this, instead of the children being all spread out across several counties possibly it was just that the county lines had changed. Maybe they were still all in the same place the whole time. Now I have some new places to search for Henry. Now it's time to check these new avenues. I need to adjust my way of thinking - my ancestors just didn't live in a time and place on some abstract plane. A whole other set of conditions existed that might have affected their lives. I just want to thank the Jones Genealogist blogger for helping us to learn new tricks. It just goes to show you can still go back to the beginning and learn a new lesson or two.

1 comment:

The Jones Genealogist said...

Rhonda, thanks for your post. It is certainly rewarding to see that I have communicated some ideas to help those struggling with their brick walls. Keep up the good work!