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Home: Surnames: Culwell Family Genealogy Forum

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Posted by: Lynn Huber (ID *****0819) Date: June 28, 2008 at 12:36:07
In Reply to: Re: THOMAS CULWELL, BORN 1773, NOT BORN IN IRELAND by Jearene Campbell of 218

Dear Jearene,

This is getting ridiculous! I didn't say, "I'm sorry I offended you.". I said, "I'm sorry IF I offended you."

And I did indeed once, and perhaps more than once, post the quotation, "If a person doesn't understand probabilities, they shouldn't do genealogical research." I've also posted the quotation, "History without fact is fiction.". Neither of those statements originated with me, but I happen to believe both of them

We can know what happened in the past if record of it was made, and the records have survived, or if people who were active participants in it, have given recorded testimony.

Certainly there are always alternative explanations if we're determined to find them. Forget the marriage record! Maybe Jane Doe just said her name was Susan Smith because her father didn't want her to marry John Jones, and so she was hiding record of the marriage. Maybe she was ten years younger than what her children's Bibles report, and what her tombstone says, because she wanted people to think she was younger than she was, and lied about her birth date. Yes, these are ridiculous examples, but just where do you draw the line in discarding verifiable documentation in favor of "alternative explanations" for which there's noevidence, or support?

I'll also add that there's considerable difference between drawing differnt conclusions based on the same facts, and disregarding the facts altogether because they don't support a preexisting belief,

The fact is that three of Thomas Sr's sons lived long enough to be asked his birth place. Either one wasn't asked, or didn't know, and the other two, independently of each other, said he wasn't born in Ireland. You have three of his sons asked his birth place, and not one of them said he was born in Ireland.

How do you explain this away? What are the alternative explanations - the census taker for unknown reasons, made it up? They were ashamed of being Irish, and lying? They were senile, and couldn't remember anything? Their father never said anything about Ireland, and they never noticed his accent?

The facts disprove the legend; the legend does not disprove the facts, and certainly not on the basis of nothing more than just the possibility there might be an unproven, unevidenced, and unknown alternative explanation of some kind,somewhere.

If you're going to base your beliefs on alternative explanations for the facts, there are far more alternative explanations for why a grandson of Thomas's Sr. might have been mistaken in what he believed, than that three of Thomas Sr's sons didn't know where their father was born.

If you can prove the legend, please do. I'd love to have Irish ancestry. I tried to prove it though, and found instead that the facts, by the rules of genealogical research, disprove it. If you can prove those facts are wrong, I'll be very happy.


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