Search This Blog


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ARCHIVED: ESM QuickLesson 13 Classes of Evidence - Direct, Indirect and Negative

Hilary Gadsby states "Evidence is not what we read, see or hear in a source. It is our interpretation of what the information in the source is telling us." In this study group session, we explore Elizabeth Shown Mills' three classes of evidence, how to craft a research question, the importance of correlating evidence and the importance of writing our "current thinking" when answering the research question. We also make the distinction between negative research results and negative evidence. WOW! We stayed an extra 34 minutes to get through this meaty subject.
  • Direct Evidence - explicit
  • Indirect Evidence - not explicit
  • Negative Evidence - not explicit

Donna B says "This was great! I'm beginning to understand how indirect evidence can be helpful." She also likes the use of a chart to keep track of all information items that factor in the conclusions we may draw.


We also mentioned the importance of knowing the laws in force at the time of an event in the ancestor's life. Lisa Gorrell's homework included the page from the state statute regarding the age of a young woman at the time of a marriage. Lisa managed to explain why there was no parental approval for the marriage of an apparently underage bride. It was from correlating information items from a variety of records that Lisa could arrive at reasonable conclusion about the woman's birth date.

GenLaw Study Group

We suggest placing your written conclusion in note for the event in an ancestor's life.

Viewer Valerie Eichler Lair writes "In my software I put abt. before the date to show that I do not have an original document with direct evidence with primary information of the date. And then in my reports such as "Location List" I can clearly see what event needs more research. abt. tells me (and others) that I got the date from age in census, an obituary, a tombstone, a death record with a birth date, etc"

Sure you *could* watch the video of this ESM QuickLesson Study Group session here or on DearMYRTLE's YouTube Channel, but you'll want to log in to view and comment at: 

Be sure to watch this video to find out why we decided direct evidence doesn't have to be accurate.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
Hangouts: Pay what you want. So it's simple. If you value the work Ol' Myrt, +Cousin Russ and our beloved panelists do week in and week out on your behalf, please:

Check the DearMYRTLE Hangouts Calendar for upcoming study groups and hangouts. There you'll find links to the GeneaConference (in-person) and the GeneaWebinars Calendar with over over 200 hours of online genealogy classes, webinars, live streams and tweetchats from other hosts and presenters over the next 12 months.