Based on my reading and the content of several videos by the experts, even the hiring of a professional genealogist is allowed as long as you are doing the interpretation of the information. (remember the ESM graphic where she describes how our SOURCES supply us with INFORMATION which we interpret (or not) as EVIDENCE.) So our genealogical “angels” may access sources that we can not and provide us with information, but we have to interpret that information to determine if it is credible evidence. Does it support or disprove our argument (using this term as an academic would)?
A case in point: Working on “my” Jens T. Dahle family, I was trying to push the family back another generation to his wife’s grandparents. I find the Norwegian search engine challenging, mainly because I do not know Norwegian! The rootsweb listserve experts helped me understand the “sogn” or parish and what “fylke” it was in so I could find the information. They were kind enough to even test some of the features and came up with what they thought (and they were careful to say that) was “my” guy I was looking for. A reasonably exhaustive search was conducted to find other Oles that might fulfill the criteria. Only two survived that test….two Ole Nielson/Nilsons christened on the same day. So which of the two was it? It was a case of whether the indirect evidence was enough to draw a reasonable conclusion. The “seal the deal” fact was that the mother of Ole #1 was named Randi Oldsdotter Sem. Sem being a farm name which carried forward for two generations in this lineage with just a slight variation in spelling.
When I started working on my first major paper, the case study, I struggled with what was indirect evidence and what to write about. I see now that almost all of our conclusions are based on indirect evidence, because we weren’t there when the event occurred. I could write the case study on the above example, but I picked a more difficult example that used the historical naming patterns to narrow the choices. This example would have been more straightforward.
So it’s been a good day (and the Huskies won big over Colorado!).
What I worked on since the last post: improving my skills with the Norwegian records (this will also help me with my own family as I have a brick wall on my Norwegian line.) and completing the four generation pedigree chart for the Client Report (just a few blanks to fill in and I will have Esther’s great grandparents. Woo hoo! Note: the quilt fabric arrived and my client says it is even prettier than she had thought. She won’t get to it until after the holidays.)