Ancestry Shaking Leaf vs. Genealogy Brick Wall

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Ancestry Shaking Leaf vs. Genealogy Brick Wall

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”


  1. Judy Webster 12 May 2017 at 6:09 PM

    What an encouraging success story! Thanks for sharing it.

    • Nancy 12 May 2017 at 6:29 PM

      Thanks, Judy. Always cheering me on – so appreciated.

  2. Jane S Hernandez 12 May 2017 at 8:27 PM

    Yes, the shaky leaf is very good. But just today, I found what I thought was an helpful shaky leaf and then carefully read the dates for the people named. that tree had a bout three generation of men all married to the same woman! And the dates did not add up right! Tossed the whole idea of that page being at all reliable and helpful!

    • Nancy 13 May 2017 at 8:20 AM

      The majority of my leaves still point to unsourced trees or to information I’ve entered elsewhere, like FindaGrave.

  3. Cathy Meder-Dempsey 13 May 2017 at 12:02 AM

    Always nice to see a success story. I’m glad you included the disclosure. People need to be educated about the shaky leaves. They are only hints and, as with any research, need to be carefully analyzed before adding the information to our tree.

    • Nancy 13 May 2017 at 8:25 AM

      Thanks, Cathy, and I agree. The other thing that troubles me about shaking leaves is that it doesn’t build research skills. But I’ll stop now and just be grateful to Ancestry for this one.

  4. Pauleen 13 May 2017 at 1:26 AM

    Fantastic…you’ve restored my faith in shaky leaves…or do I mean you’ve generated some faith?

    • Nancy 13 May 2017 at 8:19 AM

      I won’t ignore leaves anymore, but I still think most shaky leaves should become compost. 🙂

  5. Cari Thomas 13 May 2017 at 8:33 AM

    Hi Nancy!
    HURRAH!!! Congrats on your brick wall breakthrough; you’ve done a grand job of tracing your nomads. Brava. Gee, now can I send you one of mine? 🙂
    Best always,

    • Nancy 14 May 2017 at 3:59 PM

      Thanks, Cari. I knew you’d be interested in my “other” Germans from Austria.

  6. Gayle Wolcott 14 May 2017 at 1:39 PM

    Terrific post, enjoyed every twist and turn! Loved the part your husband played too.

    • Nancy 14 May 2017 at 3:59 PM

      Thanks! And my husband is very handy in cemeteries too. 🙂

  7. Diane Gould Hall 21 May 2017 at 8:11 PM

    Doing the happy dance with you. FANTASTIC! I do use the shaky leaves. I check the list each day to see if anything new is mentioned on someone I’ve been researching. Those hints have provided many a record for me over the years. Admittedly, I scroll past most of them. But….ignore them..never. And now you’ve given me a brief window of hope for my own 9 brick walls. Thanks so very much for sharing this story. Woohoo!

    • Nancy 22 May 2017 at 4:13 PM

      Thank you Diane! It’s been great not only to find new generations, but also to find something as interesting as Romanians gypsies in my otherwise very boring family tree.

  8. Amberly 23 May 2017 at 2:10 PM

    I’m so happy for you!! I completely agree about those shaky leaves being dangerous in the wrong hands. Every now and again they bring me something amazing and correct. But so often they are wrong, wrong, wrong.

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