TMG-L ArchivesArchiver > TMG > 2003-10 > 1067636024
From: "Darrell A. Martin" <>
Subject: [TMG] [A] and [AE] and conflicting information (renamed subject)
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003 15:33:44 -0600
At 12:11 PM 10/31/03 -0600, Teresa Ghee Elliott wrote:
>What I was thinking of is cases where the document itself said she was
>For instance, we know that she was born in 1800. Her father dies in
>1813, leaving her mother with 6 small children to feed. Then in 1814,
>she marries and her marriage certificate states that she is 17 (the
>legal age to marry). The preponderance of evidence says she couldn't
>possibly be 17, since her parents married in 1798 (with a marriage
>license to back up the date), making her born (if she were 17) a full
>year before her parents married. She states in 1850 on the census that
>she is 50 years old, and her tombstone states that she was born in Aug
>1800. Our primary birth date would be Aug 1800, but we would have a
>secondary date of 1797, (which we would give very low priority to.) If
>we use [A] or [AE], then on her marriage sentence, it is going to state
>that she was 14, which she probably was, but her marriage license
>plainly states that she is 17.
I understand what you are saying, and this is not to say you are *wrong*.
But I would not, in any way, say she was 17 at marriage unless I thought
that was the case. This is another situation where I think the
often-misunderstood supposed best use of TMG, to merely "record evidence",
is not only *not* the best, but can cause misleading results. I think the
best use of TMG is to record -- and output -- my *conclusions*, always
citing the available relevant evidence from which that conclusion was drawn.
To me, if I create narrative output that includes the statement that
someone "was age A at event E", that will properly be read as my
conclusion. That is why I seldom quote evidence in my narrative output, and
then usually because the evidence is itself narrative. Anyway, the value of
the sentence variables [A] and [AE] working correctly (whatever that means)
is that if I should change my conclusion about either her birth date or the
date of the marriage, the output age will be adjusted -- without further
direct input from me, but still my conclusion.
I think there are two places where "age 17" belongs, in this example:
-- First, as conflicting evidence. Her recorded age on the marriage license
is evidence for her birth in 1797, or conflicting evidence for her birth in
1800. Using TMG to record a secondary birth date of 1797 is one way to do
that, and in such a case the citation of the marriage license as supporting
evidence for that secondary Birth Tag would include "age 17". I do not,
however, choose to create secondary Tags unless the conflicting evidence
does not provide sufficient grounds for me to make a confident selection
from among the options. I would cite the marriage license as conflicting
evidence for my primary (only) Birth Tag for her. I would put in the
citation CD something like, "said to be 'age 17', which is either
misrecorded or falsified." If I used Sureties this citation would have a "
- " Surety value.
-- Second, "age 17" might be included in the memo for the Marriage Tag. My
narrative sentence for the Marriage Tag might end up being something like:
Sue Smith, age 14, married John Jones, age 23, on 15 June 1800.
The license says Sue was 17, the minimum legal age at the time.
I think this states the (admittedly interesting) facts clearly, but also
avoids muddying the waters about what is evidence, and what is my conclusion.
I end with how I started: this is not to say that I think you are *wrong*.
A careful researcher can certainly use TMG as you do. But it is not the way
I would suggest to others.
Darrell Allen MARTIN
a native Vermonter currently in exile in Addison, Illinois
|[TMG] [A] and [AE] and conflicting information (renamed subject) by "Darrell A. Martin" <>|