What would genealogy be without brickwalls.

One of my articles was titled "Living With Brickwalls." It also turned into a popular lecture.

Over the past 20 years I have pretty much solved two of my major brickwalls.


Y-DNA testing of the one direct male line has helped to determine where the family ties in with existing lines.

James Johnson supposedly married a Rebecca or Martha Jones on 30 Nov. 1808

She had a brother Parson Thomas Jones who worked at the Planter's Tobacco Warehouse in Lynchburg.

She possibly lived in Campbell Co. VA - south of Lynchburg. Thomas lived just north in Amherst county

The family has claimed the following children, all born in Campbell Co., VA

Correspondance tie the families of William and Henry together as cousins.

Unfortunately I have a 1917 letter from my Great-grandfather who had been trying to determine the identity of his grandfather (James?) and questioning some of the claimed Ohio relationships.

He worked for an Uncle Thomas Jones in Lynchburg at the Planter's Warehouse

Henry then worked for an "Uncle" (Garland Johnston) in Ohio (Port William) - more likely a cousin.

See James JOHNSON / JOHNSTON for more details on the known lines of the below families.

    • Permelia JOHNSON b about 1809 = Peter Wilson in Bedford, VA

    • Mary JOHNSON b about 1810 = William Fosdick

    • = 2nd William Kidd

    • Morton JOHNSON born early 1811 (also found as James M. Johnson in Census and other records)

    • James M. was the surety for the marriage of Mary Johnson and William Kidd

    • William Morrison JOHNSON b 26 Dec 1811 = Mary Ann Farmer

      • Thomas E. Johnston - b 3 July 1837

      • John William Johnston - b 23 May 1839

    • Floyd JOHNSON - went West

    • Achilies JOHNSON - went West

    • Henry M JOHNSON b 1814 = Margaret Long in Xenia, OH, then to Illinois

      • Questions:

        • Which James Johnson was the father of the above?

        • Who was his wife?,

        • Where are they buried?, etc.

        • What was Garland's actual relationship?

Solved Brickwalls

Jared H. WEST or James WEST - Almost Solved

    • June 11, 1780 Jared West born in Lee MA to Jonathan West & Elizabeth

    • Vital Records of Lee, MA 1777-1801 page 39 - no marriage or death listed.

    • Marriage to Esther OLMSTEAD from Ridgefield, CT
      1807 Athen, NY - family bible - no vital or church records available

    • May 7, 1833, Tuesday - NYC newspaper Wedding Announcements
      Sunday Rev Edward Mitchel, Morris Raworth, son of late Dr. Raworth of Leicester England to Jane daughter of Jared Hamilton West of this City.

    • NYC Death Certificate index lists a James WEST died on Sept 5, 1835 age 55

    • The New York Even. Post listed a Jared WEST died on Sept. 5, 1835 age 56

    • 1837 New York City Directory
      Esther widow of Jared H. WEST

    • 1880 Census - Jane WEST
      Father born in Mass., Mother born in Conn.

    • Questions:

        • Does this confirm that she is the daughter of Jared WEST the son of Christopher WEST, Lee, MA?

        • Are Jared and James the same person?

Alvar Bockman

Found his new identity as Alvar Anderson and his burial place.

Solving this brickwall is described in my article "Finding Alvar, A Not So Great Dane."

Found his parents and grandparents at Ancestry & FamilySearch
Found about 50 other direct ancestors in the Danish & Holstein records online