It is so hard to find what we are looking for, that at times, we have to resort to creative ways of finding who we are looking for. How we do so maybe just a tweak here or there, or it could be drastic enough to be a whole new name, but indeed your ancestors.
I have found my ancestors in states I never knew they had been, and not found them when I know they are supposed to be there. I have names of towns that my grandfather lived in that no longer exist if they ever did. According to him they did, but according to geography, they never did. This can be frustrating, but it can also be a way to drive yourself crazy.
I cannot find him when he lived in New Mexico, but he remembered it plain as day. I can find him in California and in his home state of Alabama. I can find him in Florida as he grew older and joined the service. I can trace him reasonably well. My grandmother was in the South her whole life and is easily traceble. My husband's family is another story. They can be traced to a certain date and no more.
The German line is traced to a small town and the town's church records were lost in a fire and the town's public records were lost as well. There was no way to trace a certain line past this point because there is no way to know where they came from before the town was established. This is a sad part of reality at times. There is no way to link the past with the future.