I have many brick walls in my family lines. Some of them go back to 1800s and a few go back another 100 years. When I hit one of these walls, I concentrate my search on siblings and then work down to the present.
My most recent search has been on my Graves line. I really need to find some information in Vermont, but records pre-1800 are scant. A volunteer on RAOGK Facebook page went to the Vermont Archives and sent me digital images of vital records index cards. I received about 30 to sort out. Thus far, none are my direct line. I am in the process of adding another Patriot to my NSDAR line, Simon Graves. From another member's application, I found the names and birth dates of all of his children and some of their spouses. I added this information to my PAF file and searched for more information on these lines. I started with familysearch.org to see if there were marriage records. Since I don't know where they lived outside of Vermont or New York, I find it helpful to use familysearch.org first. I found marriage records for many of his children and grandchildren. Interestingly, a lot of his descendants moved to Wisconsin. The lines I found in Wisconsin are Bishop, Underhill, Austin, Edwards, and Tousley. They lived in Sheboygan and Taylor counties. One child went to Michigan and one to Iowa. I was able to find many of their burial places on Find A Grave. His son, Jesse, moved to Iowa. Submitta wife of John Convis, was the only daughter that moved to Michigan. I am curious why so many moved to Wisconsin. What pulled them to relocate there?
Many of Simon's sons fought in the War of 1812 and grandsons fought in the Civil War. His son, Ira, is my 3rd great grandfather fought in the War of 1812 and Ira's son, Jesse B Graves fought in the Civil War. My 2nd great grandfather, Gilbert A. Graves, did not fight in the Civil War. He was born in 1829, 10 years older than his brother, Jesse B.
Gilbert went from New York to Kansas according to census records that I have been able to uncover. A family history states he was in Iowa. In the 1880 census, Gilbert is missing from the household in Ellisburg, Jefferson County, New York. His cousin, Delatus Graves and wife Rhoda, are the only family members listed in the 1880 census in Oakland, Louisa County, Iowa. Delatus was born in Indiana in 1825. I chose this county to look at because Ira's brother Jesse is buried in this county in Iowa. There is a Charles Graves, born abt 1849, listed in the 1880 census in Oakland, Louis County, Iowa. He is listed as born in IL and their oldest child, Indiana, is 7. His wife, Mary E. was born in Indiana. I don't have the children of Delatus in my database. A search of the 1860 census reveals the children of Delatus and Rhoda Graves as Charles (13) b. IL, William (9) b. IL, Jacin (6) b. IA, Arvilla (5) b. IA and Harrison (1/12) b. IA. This would suggest that Charles H. in 1880 is the same Charles in this household in 1860. The place of birth is different, but that information is based on what the enumerator was told by the informant in the household. That could have been Charles H's wife or one of the children. This information should be taken with a 'grain of salt'. A further search looking for Graves born 1789-1791 residing in Iowa in 1880 returned no results. I am assuming he was traveling on census day and did not get enumerated. Gilbert and his family were intact in the 1900 census in Woodward County, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).
One of the biggest challenges in the Graves line are the given names; Jesse, Benoni/Benona, and Simon. These names were passed down many times over.
That is how I research my lines. I always find new and interesting details about siblings and distant cousins. I copy & paste my search results into the notes section for each individual I find. This is a huge help later when I revisit this person. I spend countless hours running down more information and adding it to my PAF file.
Love the hunt!