This has been a tip before--but it bears repeating. When was the last time you read a history book? Actually read it and not just searched for a name in the index. Either a history of the place your ancestors lived or the time period in which they lived would be excellent reading material. If a book seems too much (and it isn't), consider reading a few issues of the local newspaper during the time period of your "problem." You might be surprised what you learn.