direct evidence

Applying the EAM to DNA: Part 3, Evidence

Why do we take DNA tests? Reasons vary. Many people hope it will “tell me who I am.” That’s a reasonable expectation for adoptees and others with questions about their own parents and siblings. Others swab or spit because they think it will tell them where their ancestors come from. Experienced family historians turn to DNA to help resolve questions for which paper-trail research has turned up no explicit answer.

Documentation vs. DNA: The False Argument

“When documentation doesn’t exist, DNA tells us what’s what.” Or, at least, that’s the argument a genealogist posed in another forum. Where do we begin with this? For today, I’ll ignore the last five words of the quote and address the broader concept: Documentation always exists. Always. Even when we use DNA as “proof,” we still must have documentation ...

QuickLesson 24: Evaluating DNA as Evidence

Of course, DNA is evidence. Prosecutors and defense attorneys use it daily to build cases for guilt or innocence. Forensic genealogists and police use it to build cases for the identity of human remains. Some historians and millions of genealogists use it to build cases for historical identity and kinship.

However …

QuickLesson 13: Classes of Evidence—Direct, Indirect & Negative

Evidence can be messy. Because it is a mental construct, it rarely gives us the clear and simple answers that we seek. Sources, by contrast, are physical; we can touch them, see them, smell them, hear them. Information is also physical, visible, audible. Evidence, however, is intangible. It’s only what we think certain information means. That’s all it can be―until we make something concrete from it by processing it and molding it into a meaningful and convincing form.

How do we do that?

QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof

Sources give us information from which we select evidence. If our research is thorough and we have soundly analyzed our findings, we might reach a conclusion. The body of evidence on which we base that conclusion is our proof.
As students, we learned to classify sources into two types, as a basis for evaluating reliability. Primary sources, theoretically, would be original, contemporary records.