TMG-L ArchivesArchiver > TMG > 2011-03 > 1301547547
From: "Cheryl Freeman" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Evidence and conclusions
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2011 23:59:07 -0500
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As I said, I have assumptions in my project. Most do not see the light of
day, because they are exactly that...assumptions. They stay buried in my
research notes and in CDs that do not print. Hypothesis might be a better
word for these. My hypthesese drive my research and are rarely shared
That, to me, is a world different than reasoned conclusions where I have
completed an exhaustive survey of available primary and secondary source
documents and followed the steps in the GPS standard to arrive at a reasoned
conclusion supported by the evidence which I can explain...and defend.
There seem to be two discussions here - that we shold not draw conclusions
but report all the available evidence. I am a believer that when possible,
we should complete a reasonably exhanstive search for evidenc, analyse the
results, resolve any conflecting eveidence and only then draw conclusions
which are properly documented.
I think we are on the same side :)
I still don't' know who my husband's 4-gr grandfather was. I have a working
hypothesis - assumption, if you will- which is well thought out and rarely
shared with other researchers. However, I do know why deeds for another
Freeman (as transcribed in the deed books) were dated 7 years after his
death 9n 1770. That is a conclusion after a review of all the evidence and
ruling out other possible explanations. There is a dfference. And when I
replied, it was documentation that meets the GPS standard on my mind, and
>From: [mailto:] On Behalf
>Darrell A. Martin
>Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:10 PM
>Subject: Re: [TMG] Evidence and conclusions
>On 3/30/2011 5:02 PM, Cheryl Freeman wrote:
>> Michael, no you do not come across as pedants :)
>> When I make an assumption, there is a reasoned explanation - either in my
>> research notes or in the CD, which explains how I arrived there. If I
>> you the impression that I am not in favor of specific and accurate
>> then that was my error. I have a lot of assumptions in my research.
>> Because they are assumptions, I share few of them and for the few that I
>> have shared, they are clearly noted as such in the CD or tag memo, along
>> with the facts that led me to the assumption and any conflicting
>> My point is that, for many events where there is conflicting information,
>> is possible to analyze evidence and draw conclusions which meet the
>> standards of the BCG.
>I'm not sure whether to argue with you or agree with you. The reason is
>that an "assumption" has, by definition, no supporting evidence -- it is
>an a priori assertion, a statement made BEFORE analysis begins. This
>does not make assumptions bad, if they are properly identified. They can
>be useful, for example, as starting points to aid in a discussion or in
>a search for evidence.
>However, for an actual assumption it is not possible to give a "reasoned
>explanation" because reasoning requires evidence; you cannot "explain
>how [you] arrived there" for the same reason; and there are no "facts
>that led you to [it]" because there are no facts.
>If you meant "estimates", even "rough estimates", then that is a horse
>of a different color. If you were to substitute "estimate" for
>"assumption", because that is what you meant of course, then I would
>agree with you. Estimates can be unproved, but should be at least
>plausible. They should be based on something, even though the evidence
>does not measure up to proof.
>Once the evidence is analyzed and conclusions are drawn, neither
>assumptions nor estimates may any longer be necessary.
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