6 Words to Separate Family Fact from Fiction

The solution to a genealogical problem or research objective isn’t always obvious or clear-cut. And sometimes, information you think is true could actually be filled with errors. That’s why proper analysis of your family research is so important.

When analyzing research, genealogists use certain words to establish their levels of confidence in conclusions. Elizabeth Shown Mills defines these in her book Evidence Explained:

certainly: The author has no reasonable doubt about the assertion, based upon sound research and good evidence.

probably: The author feels the assertion is more likely than not, based on sound research and good evidence.

possibly: The author feels some evidence supports the assertion, but the assertion is far from proved.

likely: The author feels the odds weigh at least slightly in favor of the assertion.

apparently: The author has formed an impression or presumption, typically based upon common experiences, but has not tested the matter.

perhaps: The author suggests that an idea is plausible, although it remains to be tested.


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