Sometimes it is best to just stop spinning your wheels and ask someone. I was trying to read the back of an photograph and could not make out the last name of "[--] Macher." When I mentioned it to my mother, who grew up near the area where the photo was taken, she immediately knew that the intended name was "Tessmacher."
If you don't have your own source for such information, contact locals at a historical/genealogical society, local library, message board on Ancestry (http://boards.ancestry.com) local area Facebook page, etc.
Sometimes a local can easily fill in those missing pieces that may take you hours or days.