Genealogists often speak of a “brick wall” when they get stuck in their research and can get back no further than a certain ancestor. I’ve seen some complaining that they have been doing genealogy for a month, and have hit a brick wall. If that is a brick wall, then ours must be a concrete wall with razor wire on top, comparable with the Berlin Wall or the Israel Palestine one, because ours has been there for 35 years.
When we started investigating our family history in 1974 we got back fairly quickly on the Hayes side to my great great great grandfather Simon Hayes. He appeared as the father on his children’s marriage certificates, and census records showed that he was born in North Curry, Somerset some time between 1782 and 1786. And there we got stuck.
He doesn’t appear in the parish registers for North Curry, nor for those of nearby parishes like Stoke St Gregory or Durston. At some point he moved to Winscombe, where he married Rachel Allen in 1814. Her sister Hannah married Giles Williams in Meare, Somerset, in 1817, and Simon Hayes was staying with Giles Williams in the 1851 census. Occasionally we have found references to cousins or nephews and nieces, and thought they might give a clue, but they always turn out to be related on the Allen side, and not the Hayes side. In North Curry parish there is a record of a William Hayes who married a Charlotte Nott in 1796. He might possibly have been a brother or cousin of Simon Hayes, but until we can find some record of their parents it will be impossible to know. Any useful suggestions on how to break down this concrete wall will be welcome.