Those of you who have done genealogical research to find out about your family history, what do you do when you hit a dead end? I've made it back as far as my grandmother's great grandfather, but now I'm stuck. He's in the census records in Northern England from 1851 onwards, and according to those, he was born around 1821 in Scotland, but I can't find any record of his birth or anything about him prior to 1851. For various reasons I'm particularly keen to track down his parents and any siblings, but Ancestry.com and Scotlandspeople have both failed to find him. Google finds one hit for his name, but it's from 1867 and doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know. I'm in Canada, so it all has to be done online, and preferably for free. I don't know where in Scotland he was born or when he (with or without his family) moved to England. I realise it's possible he changed his name; I think it's also possible that he wasn't actually born in Scotland (he has a Scottish protestant surname but an Irish Catholic first name, which makes me wonder!). Have any of you come up against a wall like this, and found a way to dig up more information?
DK/DC; y'know that thing you're totally into at the moment? What's so great about it?