Direct evidence, the sort of evidence that completely answers a research question by itself, is often scarce. Without any documents telling us exactly what we want to know, how do we identify relationships that might not be stated explicitly, resolve conflicts between records, and arrive at sound genealogical conclusions? By collecting, analyzing, and correlating indirect evidence of course! The Henry McGinnis family of 19th century rural Pennsylvania provides a good example of using mostly indirect evidence to reconstruct a family which left precious little for descendants to work with.
Chris Staats is a Cleveland, Ohio-based professional genealogical researcher, presenter, and writer. He has written articles for Family Tree Magazine, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, and other publications. Chris has given presentations covering methodology, resources, technology, and other topics at genealogical societies and libraries across Ohio. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, chapter representative for the Great Lakes APG chapter, and Seminar Chairperson for the Western Reserve Historical Society's Genealogical Committee.