When I hit a bunch of walls in the Dutch database, I switched over to working on my mother's side, which is sort of a pain, and I really can't do a decent job without digging up a CD of genealogical information for the Mennonite side. The paper tree is terrible: full of errors and way out of date. It was good enough to hook up with other people in that clan, but their data isn't great, either.
On my maternal grandmother's side, I didn't even know her parents names. I did, however, get ridiculously lucky: I found the marriage record for my maternal grandparents and it had my maternal grandmother's parents filled in. That tied in with someone else's tree on ancestry.com, and while Irvine Douglas/Irwen didn't go anywhere at all, my maternal grandmother's mother is still going strong in the early 18th century. I now know of ancestors that were so thoroughly on the wrong side of the Civil War that they named a baby after Robert E. Lee. In 1867. I'm not sure what I think about this.
My mother got married at 19. _Her_ mother got married at 19. _Her_ mother got married at _12_ [ETA: Wow. Huge braino. 22, actually] to a 13 [23, ditto] year old and then they apparently moved from the middle of one nowhere to the middle of a different nowhere. No wonder there's no collective memory of our distant family for that quarter of the family. Worse, I just found out that one of my mother's uncles was living in Seattle until his death in 1981. I don't think I ever met him. I don't know whether my mother even knew he was there, but I doubt I care enough to try to find out.
Still on the list of walls to bash my head against: attempt to track down the children of my paternal grandfather's brother, who also came to the US. R. would also like me to track some of his tree.