But every now and then our ancestors were truly misplaced, such as in the case of the above "stranger found drowned" in the town of Shorne, Kent, England. I found him in the burial records of Shorne, courtesy of the Medway Archives which has put parish registers and other documents online from the Medway area of Kent, England. I guess that means the poor man was buried without anyone discovering who he was. I wonder if anyone missed him?
There are unknown babies out there as well. A lot of you probably have births in your family tree recorded as "father unknown." I do. I also discovered a few babies named "John" in those Medway parish records, who were baptised with no last name and identified as "a child found in this parish." It's not likely a genealogist will ever identify those little Johns' parents. And the person trying to figure out what happened to their 60-year-old ggggg-grandfather after he disappeared from the census will probably never be able to connect him with the unidentified drowning victim. Not impossible. Nothing's impossible, I guess. But not likely.
Admitting to myself that there really is an ancestor I will likely never find makes me so sad, though. Like I'm planning their funeral... That's probably why I almost never admit it, and keep treating them like a brick wall ancestor. I just haven't found that secret brick yet. The one that if I push on it just the right way will bring that big, old honkin' wall tumbling down around me.
What is your biggest brick wall ancestor? Share your story and what you've tried to find him or her by clicking on "comments" below. You never know - maybe someone will be able to find that secret brick for you. If not, then we we'll all commiserate for you as we enjoy your tale.