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Negative evidence

negative evidence disproof

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#1 DoninRiver

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 11:55 AM

My problem:  Some online genealogies list the parents of Frederick Osborn (husband of Nancy Wallace) as being the son of Joseph Osborne and Elizabeth Burke, but I have disproved this possibility with several facts. 

 

My questions: 

Should I enter my disproof into my database?

If so, what might a negative fact template look like for this information?

Should I have a separate entry for each reason?

 

Of course, the other possibility is to ignore the problem.

 

Opinions please.

 

Thank you

Don Sherry



#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 12:59 PM

I would certainly enter the data, including the evidence. There is no one best way to do it.

 

You could enter a narrative as a part of the general note for the Frederick Osborn, and that's probably the most common way to do it. My concern with that approach is that it leaves you with the general person data for Frederick Osborn as the only place to attach your evidence. For that reason, I think a better approach would be to have a user defined fact - maybe call it something like "Research Information" or "Research Log" or something like that - where the fact note contains your narrative and the fact offers a place to attach a citation and your images. The images could attach to your citation or to your user defined fact or to both.

 

The problem in reverse comes if you wish to exchange your data with any genealogy software that doesn't support user defined facts, or maybe that supports user defined facts but doesn't support notes for them or doesn't support citations for them. As I said in the beginning, there is no one best way to do it. Sometimes the state of genealogy software makes me want to give up all such software and just use Microsoft Word as my genealogy software of choice.

 

Jerry

 



#3 DoninRiver

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 03:11 PM

Thank you Jerry.

 

I greatly appreciate your help and candor.

 

Don



#4 RobJ

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:52 PM

An additional suggestion - if you are using any of the shared public 'one world tree's like WikiTree, Geni, FamilySearch, and to some degree Ancestry.com and FindaGrave, make sure the information there is correct also.  I've been using so many tools and sites lately, with so many differences between them, but in the end they are ALL linked together, and bad and good info is slowly propagated around the world.  While there are many users that simply copy what looks good, there are also many that do carefully check sources, and correct their own trees and the public trees, and thereby propagate the good info.  Good and careful genealogists check the facts and explanations, so make sure to add them.  It will often take awhile, but I've made corrections, and watched them slowly begin to propagate outward to others trees, and the public trees.  In a way, we are all fellow collaborators on one big tree, whatever tools and sites we use.

 

Don't worry about the few that stubbornly stick with their version of the facts.  Good facts with sources and explanations will go around them, pass them by, and spread to others.  One great advantage of the publicly shared trees is that they are community edited, and generally, sooner or later, the truth wins out.