TMG-L ArchivesArchiver > TMG > 2005-10 > 1128994161
From: "Darrell A. Martin" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Source Independency and Checks & Balances
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 01:29:21 +0000
At 05:43 AM 10/9/2005, Karla Huebner wrote:
>Personally, I would have thought of the US census as independent of one another. The enumerator was probably not the same each time, and there is no guarantee that the person giving the information was always the same (although in some situations it probably was the same person repeatedly). I wouldn't say it was any different than the UK census.
>But perhaps Barbara meant there is more chance of the same person giving the data than with some other sources.
Each census is certainly independent of others *as to the census information*. But when one is discussing data independence, the issue is primarily whether specific document A is independent of specific document B, not necessarily whether document A is in some absolute sense "independent".
If document A and document B both get their information from, or through, source X (whether X is another document or the memory of an observer of the event), then they are not independent of each other. However, if document C gets its information from source Y, and X and Y are independent of each other; then A is independent of C, and B is also independent of C.
Ultimately, in this somewhat cryptic example, for X-A-B to be theoretically independent of Y-C, then X and Y must be records made by, or the memories of, independent observers of the event who did not "compare notes". The problem with that level of independence is twofold: first, many basic genealogical events have very few actual witnesses (in the evidentiary sense, not the TMG sense); and second, most witnesses of a genealogical event expect that there will be one "official" record made, and depend on that record unless they know something is significantly wrong.
As a bit of an aside, people sometimes defer to the official record beyond all reason. My father's middle name, Carroll, was supposed to be Carl, after an uncle; it was put on his birth certificate wrong, and the family just shrugged and used Carroll.
Darrell A. Martin
a native Vermonter currently in exile in Illinois
|Re: [TMG] Source Independency and Checks & Balances by "Darrell A. Martin" <>|