TSGS Cruiser Blog

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jumping to Conclusions

Do Not Let the Trash Can Get in Your Way!”

While working at a business recently, I went into a small room that had swinging doors. The entry way was partially blocked by a large plastic trash can. I moved it slightly and slipped past it pushing one of the doors into the small room. Within a few seconds I was heading out of the room, pushing the same door I went through before. It was blocked by the trash can. I reached through pushing the can back so I could open the door to get out. I just went through the same door seconds earlier, I thought how in the world did this can get in the way? Did someone come along and move it? My first, immediate thought was that someone must have moved it! So, what were the facts?

When I went into the room, I pushed the door in and away from the trash can that I had moved a little to get by it. Then as I was going out I pushed the door away from me toward the trash can. I had not moved the can far enough for the door to swing both ways. So, it turns out that I was the only one that moved the can. I had to laugh at my thought that someone moved the can in my way. It was a foolish conclusion based on circumstantial information.

In our genealogical research, we often do not find solid documented evidence; and we have to make reasonable conclusions based on circumstantial information that often leads to false assumptions and conclusions. This is also compounded when you want the evidence to prove these conclusions to be true facts! When we have only circumstantial evidence, we need to ask what are the facts? Then try to piece all of the evidence together to reach a reasonable conclusion. Accepting weak evidence for fact can cause you some serious stumbling blocks to go back in time about your family.

- Written by JGWest.

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