This is Ol' Myrt's response to a concerned participant in our Inferential Genealogy Study Group posted here.
Thanks for a thoughtful analysis attempting to explain your understanding of the term "Inferential Genealogy" as used by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS in his online course that we are following.
As we progress through the case studies, we will undoubtedly understand more fully the intentions of Dr. Jones' use of the term "inferential genealogy" than could be portrayed in the short introduction we reviewed this past Tuesday.
This week we will study Dr. Jones' Case Study 1 where he states "An inexperienced genealogist may look only for information that directly answers their question." He also encourages us by saying "As this [direct] information gets sparse, that doesn’t mean the question cannot be solved."
Our focused goal in Case 1 is to determine who are Maxfield Whiting's parents.
Dr. Jones then guides us through a broad search through two states and multiple counties to study seven documents that pertain to those "around" Maxfield Whiting. By "around" we mean by location, time and association.
In Case 1, you will see how Dr. Jones trains us to journal our findings about each document, resolve conflicts and cite our sources.
He concludes "By documenting our sources and stating our assumptions we can save future generations a lot of time, and they can build on our research rather than redo it."
Hang in there Meg. You can do this.
As to your concern about real life and Second Life identities, we always state it isn't necessary for you to divulge your true identity to the world. Your "Meg" blog is a great work-around.
Since most of us genealogists in Second Life work together to solve each other's research challenges, we tend to know about our lineages beginning with grandparents and earlier generations.
I hope the mechanism of your blog will assist you in overcoming your discomfort with the distinctions between real life and Second Life, so that you may continue to participate in this dialog.
I remember when email was considered an unwise method of communication among responsible genealogy researchers.
Time marches on, and new technology comes into play. I am pleased that voice chat is possible for large numbers of participants in Second Life. It sure beats typing -- especially with Ol' Myrt's typos!
In two years, we'll laugh at this "cutting edge" technology as being so out-dated.
All is well. All is well.
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.