52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 15:
Brick Wall
Family Finds Charter Oak

Genealogy Brick Walls:
Update 2021

We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I wrote in 2019 about the brick walls I have at my 4th great grandparent generation. Then, I had 13 of 64 of my 4th great grandparents as brick walls. Well, I still have 13 of 64. But, I have made some progress. [1]

Brick Wall Progress

  • I discovered a VERY likely name to one 4th great grandfather, William Russell of Strasburg, Lancaster Co., PA.
  • From a military pension file I found a brother of my 3rd great grandmother Eve Hill, Powell Hill born 1807. He may be a clue to discover their unknown mother.
  • I discovered a possible surname for my unknown Gillespie 4th great grandmother, Robeson of Hamilton or Butler County, OH.
  • I looked at my DNA matches for the surname Koontz and found I match a dozen, or more, people who have a Michael Koontz of Davidson County, NC with vitals that fit the brick wall on my Koontz line. His wife’s name was Mary Hage.
These are many of the surnames in my family tree
  • I found a source that indicates my 3rd great grandmother Mary Elizabeth McBride lived in Washington County, PA when she married. Therefore, I am now seeking her parents there.
  • A discovery I made about my 3rd great grandfather Samuel Gilbert has led me to believe his parents possibly lived in Northumberland, PA on the Susquehanna River.
  • Since my 3rd great grandparents Samuel Gilbert and Sarah Smith married in Richland County, OH, I am looking for her parents there. I have found two men named Smith who owned land in Richland, and very close to the land of Samuel Gilbert in Crawford County. Those men had females of Sarah’s age in their households in 1840 census, their names are Abner and John Smith.

My Current Plan

The information in the table below are the updated possible vitals for my brick walls. I have highlighted where I have made progress versus the 2019 table. These are the clues I am working from in hopes of putting a name to an ancestor. If you have any information regarding one of these families, please contact me and let’s compare notes.

4th Great Grandparent Brick Walls

Name Birth Yr/Loc Marriage Yr/Loc Death Yr/Loc Spouse Child
Mrs. Landon, LNP Walston [2] ca. 1746 MD 1770 Somerset, MD Aft 1790 Somerset, MD Joseph Landon 1746-? George Walston Landon 1790-1863
Mrs. Hill, LNP Angle [3] ca. 1790 ca. 1805 Bourbon, KY Aft. 1810 Bracken, KY Robert Hill 1784-1833 Eve Hill 1810-1887
Powell Hill 1807-?
William Russell [4] ca. 1790 PA? ca. 1809 Lancster, PA Aft 1832 Lancaster, PA Mrs. FNU Russell William Russell 1809-1870
Son 1816-20,
Son 1811-15,
Daughter 1816-20,
Daughter 1811-15, Daughter 1801-10
Mrs. Russell [5] ca. 1790 PA? ca. 1809 Lancster, PA Aft 1830 Lancaster, PA Mr. William Russell William Russell 1809-1870
Mrs. Gillespie LNP Robeson [6] ca. 1775 PA? ca. 1797 Hamilton, OH Aft. 1805 Butler, OH Thomas Gillespie 1766-1810 Isabella Gillespie Warbinton 1797-1833
Jane Gillespie Warbinton 1799-1880
George Gillespie 1802-1860
Martha Gillespie Hindman 1803-1843
Margaret Gillespie Thompson 1805-1879
Mr. Koontz, FNP Michael [7] ca. 1777 NC ca. 1800 NC ca. 1834 Davidson Co, NC Mrs. FNU Koontz George Koontz 1806-1852
Mrs. Koontz, FNP Mary LNP Hage [8] ca. 1785 NC? ca. 1800 NC ca. 1823 NC Mr. FNU Koontz George Koontz 1806-1852
Mr. McBride, FNP David or John [9] ca. 1775 PA? ca. 1800 Washington Co.PA Aft. 1803 PA/OH Mrs. McBride Elizabeth McBride 1803-1893
Mrs. McBride FNP Mary or Elizabeth [10] ca. 1775 PA? ca. 1800 Washington Co.PA Aft. 1803 PA/OH Mr. FNU McBride Elizabeth McBride 1803-1893
Mr. Gilbert, FNP David or George [11] ca. 1775 PA? ca. 1800 PA Aft. 1812 Northumberland Co.PA Mrs. FNU Gilbert Samuel Gilbert 1812-1895
David Gilbert ca. 1805
Mrs. FNU Gilbert [12] ca. 1775 PA? ca. 1800 PA Aft. 1812 Northumberland Co.PA Mr. FNU Gilbert Samuel Gilbert 1812-1895
Mr. Smith, FNP Abner or John [13] ca. 1790 PA? ca. 1815 PA/OH Aft. 1840 Crawford or Richland Cos., OH Mrs. FNU Smith Sarah Smith 1820-1846
Mrs. Smith, FNP Sarah [14] ca. 1790 PA? ca. 1815 PA/OH Aft. 1820 Crawford or Richland Cos., OH Mr. FNU Smith Sarah Smith 1820-1846

Brick Wall Notes:

LNP – Last Name Possibly
FNP – First Name Possibly
FNU – First Name Unknown
Prob – Probable, some vital point to this as correct.


Most genealogy enthusiasts have multiple brick walls. All we can do is break them down one at a time. Anyone reading this who can supply assistance with mine, please contact me. I hope I can return the favor some day.


  1. Blog post, Family Finds: Genealogy Brick Walls; https://barblafara.com/genealogy-brick-walls/
  2. Profile of Unknown Walston, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27556026580/facts
  3. Profile of Mrs. Hill, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581740438/facts
  4. Profile of William Russell, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581740986/facts
  5. Profile of Mrs. Russell, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581741005/facts
  6. Profile of Mrs. Gillespie, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/5085061848/facts
  7. Profile of NOT Proven Michael Koontz, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581745864/facts
  8. Profile of NOT Proven Mary Hage, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581745901/facts
  9. Profile of Unknown McBride, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581748924/facts
  10. Profile of Mrs. McBride, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581749319/facts
  11. Profile of Unknown Gilbert, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/26046078420/facts
  12. Profile of Mrs. Gilbert, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581749147/facts
  13. Profile of Sarah Smith, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/26119687041/facts

1 Comment

  1. Cheryl Schulte

    I’m amazed that your 4th great grandparents all lived in the US. It is still a challenge to find records I am sure, and in varying states as well, but at least you are not dealing with foreign text.

    My 2nd great grandparents and further back, of course, for the most part were all born in Germany and Poland so the records I have been searching for are dependent on either finding the exact village and obtaining a response from German record offices or getting lucky and finding records online in Ancestry, etc.

    Good luck on finding more information on these ancestors. Wish I could help you but my ancestors all settled in Michigan originally.


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