We continue today with another key part of the Genealogical Proof Standard, "we resolve any conflicts caused by items of evidence that contradict each other or are contrary to a proposed (hypothetical) solution to the question".
Here are some cases a class might study.
CASE ONE: The parish register of the imaginary English village of Burham contained the following entry,
"11 April 1811, James Dixon, age 33, son of John and Helen Dixon, of this parish married Jane Castle,27, daughter of William and Eliza Hogben of Northburn, by licence"
You are delighted to find Jane but confused by the contradictory information. How can Jane be a Castle and her parents be surnamed Hogben? Your first challenge is to identify all possible explanations for this oddity, then propose research to eliminate all but one hypothesis. Think about it, all hypotheses need to be tested just in case all are wrong!
CASE TWO: One of the contiguous parishes of Burham is Greater Sedley. The following problem emerged from the parish registers. Among the baptisms were found
- 14 February 1796 Ann daughter of John and Margaret Rigden
- 21 August 1798 John son of John and Margaret Rigden
- 04 January 1800 Richard son of John and Margaret Rigden
No further trace of any Rigden is found among the baptisms, marriages and burials of Greater Sedley. However in Burham the following baptisms turn up
- 18 April 1801 Catherine daughter of John and Catherine Rigden
- 24 March 1803 Richard son of John and Catherine Rigden
- 30 June 1805 Edward son of John and Margaret Rigden
- 28 October 1807 Ann Elizabeth daughter of John and Margaret Rigden.
Among the burials in Burham are found these
- 16 August 1802 Richard Rigden age two years
- 4 August 1807 Ann Rigden age eleven year. Drowned.
Your believe is that Catherine and Margaret are the same person. Ken tell you to dig deep and identify all possible explanations, and suggest research plans to test each hypothesis.
So there you are, a couple of problems involving conflicting information that you can play with. Rewrite them to suit your own needs in teaching in Roger Mills county, Oklahoma or somewhere in Bavaria in a century and decade of your choice.
What do you think?