Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2012-08 > 1345179394

Subject: Re: [TGF] DNA - proof or just indication?
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2012 00:56:34 -0400 (EDT)

Israel wrote:

>What I do not know is whether what I now "know" to be correct is good
enough to be formally recorded as fact in my database or whether I have to
leave that riddled with "probablys" and "maybes."

>Is it or isn't it - and who decides?

Proof is always in the mind of the beholder, and some people are more
easily convinced than others.

The so-called "Genealogical Proof Standard" promulgated in The BCG
Genealogical Standards Manual is in fact described in that work as a credibility
standard. Genealogical evidence that meets that standard--whether
documentary or DNA--when properly explained, should be sufficient to convince most
reasonable people that the conclusion drawn from it is in accord with
reality. However, there will always be some who are still doubters, while only a
portion of the evidence would be enough to convince others.

The standard requires that a reasonably exhaustive search be made for all
evidence that may bear on the question at issue. If no search had been made
for people whose DNA might provide additional evidence for or against a
hypothesis, and appropriate tests made, the remaining evidence in my opinion
would not be sufficient to meet the standard. Until DNA tests were made and
either confirmed, or at least did not negate, the record evidence, a
"probably" is needed to qualify conclusions drawn from the record evidence alone.

I'm comfortable making an unqualified declaration of the conclusion, if
the evidence meets the credibility standard. Should the evidence fall short,
a "probably" or "perhaps" is necessary.

>And thus far, our Y-chromosome tests have been for 37 markers. Can we be
more certain if we upgraded to 67 or 111 markers?

Usually, yes--but not always in the expected direction. The more precise
data could indicate a relationship more distant than suggested from a
smaller array of markers. As with any measurement, greater precision narrows the
range of uncertainty, but doesn't completely eliminate it.


Donn Devine, CG
Wilmington, Delaware, USA

CG and Certified Genealogist are service marks of the Board for
Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after
periodic evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark

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