EVIDENCE and PROOF; What are those?
Before going further, you must be come to realize that many commonly used labels such as “hearsay,” “circumstantial,” “primary,” “secondary,” “direct,” “indirect,” “derivative,” etc., are next to useless; none of those tell any listener what you mean.
For you to be considered a thorough researcher, you must dump your pride and admit that you neither understand, nor can you give us a definition for any of those words. In fact, across now 50-plus years I have yet to hear or read a definition for any of those terms that will work for all occasions. Try it yourself.
One example will serve; you will hear that a cemetery is unreliable because it is “hearsay,” and in fact such stones are hearsay and in its most classical form. So do we ignore what is written there? Of course not; every single one tells us about something.
Cemetery headstones, even if you can’t read more than the family name, reveal that the dead person had SOME relationship — great or small — to that place. For a couple examples; folks buried there before about 1900 likely lived nearby since a horse drawn hearse with people moving at about the same speed traveled about 2.5 miles an hour.
Then too, the placement in the cemetery usually reveals that those buried nearby were known or related to the dead person.
That stone alone should send you to the cemetery, death, church, land and estate records for that “where” county. Start with finding the local genealogical/historical society, then a large source such as LDS records, then the local library, then any experienced researcher who lives there.
After that, search the state library and find a detailed map of land owners at that time. That person who tends or mows grass there has a phone; call and ask what he/she knows about your family and whether or not anyone has visited that part of the cemetery during the past few years. Remember too that the same fellow mowing (“Sexton,” ask who pays him?) The neighbors may know who the last preacher was, what members yet live nearby and where the church records were taken.
Then too, if the cemetery is in a rural area, those who live nearby usually will know a bit about that place. Such folks may know a lot about the place; most do. Ask, ask!
The facts you gain seeking your family must be the most reliable you can find, and you must identify those sources so that a stranger could go to that same reference without further direction from you.
Your statement, “I got this fact from my Aunt Jane’s Bible” simply won’t get the job done, ever, except for someone in the family who feels that Aunt Jane and her Bible are sufficient proof (few are).
However, by also being able to say such as, “Aunt Jane has the family Bible and a war discharge, and both carry some of the same information," those two items considered together may be very powerful evidence, yet, if viewed separately, those might not be so convincing.
In summary, we first learn the rules of whomever or what group will be judging our material and then we set out to comply with those rules by gathering the most reliable evidence we can find.
Next, our “judges” will decide if we have found enough reliable information to meet their standards, and it makes all but no difference what you and Aunt Jane think. If those examiners say “No,” we hunt for more sources, or we put it on the back burner. They make the rules; most set in concrete.
So, if you need to please your cousins, that’s fine (and easy), and if you must meet the higher “proof” rules of some club or group, that will require more than Aunt Jane would want, and finally, if you mean to join such as D.A.R., S.A.R. Colonial Dames, Daughters of 1812, or any other such group, remember that some have stiff requirements. You should plan on being required to have enough evidence to prove what you tell them about your ancestry. That may be very difficult and rarely do they make exceptions.
Next time; Evaluating Evidence
EVIDENCE and PROOF; What are those?
Fighting for Love takes Relay chili cook-off win
The Relay for Life chili cook-off was held at the Crossville Depot Feb. 22. The first-place winner was the Fighting for Love team. Bill Pressley and Sherry Lawson presented the award to team captain Christy Holt and family.
Another fun day at 127 Senior Center
Another fun day at the 127 Senior Center was held Friday, March 7, to socialize with goodies and chit chat. The members played billiards, dominos and bingo, which was called by Arlene Simmons (with her adorable “bingo” sweatshirt), and the gifts were provided by Quality Health Care.
- Marriage licenses (Published March 12, 2014)
PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Building a foundation and a place to play
The new church family that has been planted in Pleasant Hill, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission, took on a mission of its own.
Seniors can learn to defend themselves at Fair Park
We all know the world is getting more dangerous every day. It would be a good idea to know a little bit about defending ourselves when caught off guard. A fifth Senior Self Defense Beginner Class will be starting the end of this month.
PLATEAU GARDENING: Got questions? Tennessee Master Gardeners have answers
These encounters brightened my week just before that Sunday night ice storm and snowy Monday got March 2014 off to a roaring start: I saw an old friend in a grocery store parking lot. He stopped to chat and during that conversation asked, “What’s the story with azaleas this winter? Mine are protected up by the house but they look bad.” I didn’t have an immediate answer but have been asking around to see if other gardeners in the area have azalea troubles, too.
Womanless beauty pageant coming to Palace Theatre
The sixth annual Parade of Beauties and Chinese Auction Friday, March 21, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Palace Theatre. Some extra things about this event is that the Avalon Center is celebrating 30 years of service.
AROUND THE TOWN: Two childhood faves celebrate milestones
Two pop culture icons are celebrating milestones this year: Mattel’s Barbie doll and the movie The Wizard of Oz. Barbie turns 55, and Oz is 75. Ironically, they are my two childhood favorites.
Master Gardener classes to begin
Once again spring is just around the corner. For all the Cumberland County residents who would like to learn more about plants, soil, bugs (good and bad) and all that it takes to be a successful gardener, the University of Tennessee, through the Extension office, is offering the Master Gardener training course.
Seniors enjoy oldies from Days Gone By
The 127 Senior Center gathered together Friday, Feb. 28, to socialize with coffee, goodies and chit chat. They played billiards, dominos and bingo, which was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the gifts were provided by Dr. M. Stewart Galloway, ophthalmologist.
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- Fighting for Love takes Relay chili cook-off win