I've heard of some genealogy bloggers talk about cousin bait. This is where you put information about your family history onto a web site in the hopes that a cousin will see the information and respond, giving you contact with a relation and possibly more information. Let's take this one analogy one step further.
In the water just off shore of what used to be a tiny fishing village in Belize, we saw our fishing guide and boat pilot throwing a net to catch small fish that we'd use to catch larger fish on the reef later that morning. We could have then taken those larger fish to use as bait to catch even larger fish or even sharks. I've encountered a similar thing when it comes to genealogy information.
I've posted information about my Kelly family line, that Thomas Doran was married to Mary Ann Kelly in Illinois. I found information that someone who ended up being a second cousin posted showing Mary Ann's parents as being Hugh Kelly and Catherine. I posted this information onto the RootsWeb message boards. Almost immediately, I got a response from another second cousin that had a photo of Catherine Kelly. This cousin believed her maiden name was Murphy but wasn't sure. I posted this information and got a response from a third cousin saying she had a photo of Hugh Kelly and a funeral card of Catherine Kelly. It said her maiden name was Murphy, and it gave her birth date and location. I then posted this information and got a response from someone who might be a fourth cousin (not confirmed yet). Their great-great-grandfather was Joseph Murphy. His obituary listed that he had a living sister named Catherine Kelly, born in the same year as my Catherine Kelly, living in Jolliet, Illinois, which is where my great-great-grandmother's funeral card said she died the year after Joseph Kelly did.
If we can confirm the connection to his Murphy family, we'll have a connection to a large extended family tree going back to Catherine's parents, Michael Murphy and Catherine Healy and Catherine Healy's sister, Johanna Healy Lane.
So, be sure to use your earlier, smaller catches as bait to catch bigger and bigger fish! One small bit of information may trigger someone to give you a little more. This bit more may allow someone to see a connection to their family and possibly break your brick wall to smithereens.
----A Couple of Updates----
I've been working hard on cleaning up the scans of the Bixenman Family, Volume 2 by Sister Catherine Seamann. I hope to have Volume 2 available to order no later than the beginning of November.
My search for confirmation that I've found the correct Elizabeth Dunzinger has not turned anything up as of yet. I have placed orders for her birth records from the New York City Department of Vital Records and her death certificate from the State of Iowa. I hope to see results of these requests in the next month or so.