Southeastern Colorado Genealogical Society

Direct or Indirect Evidence?

Many researchers do not know how to differentiate between direct and indirect evidence. Direct evidence is any evidence that provides a direct answer to your questions without any calculation on your part whether the answer is correct or not. Indirect evidence is evidence that provides an answer but requires you to perform some sore of calculation to arrive at the answer, whether or not the answer is correct.

An example: You are looking for the birth date of John Davis who died on 14 Nov 1964. Your question:

"When was John Davis born?"

In case A:

County records have a birth record for John Davis' birth as 12 Oct 1890. From the parents listed you know this is the right John Davis and this answers your question directly. Also in a newspaper file you find an obituary for John Davis that says he was born 12 Dec 1890. This is still direct evidence, even if it is not correct because it answers "When was John Davis born?"

In case B:

John Davis' tombstone reads: John Davis died 14 Nov 1964, age 74 years, 1 mo, 2 dys. From this you can calculate that he was probably born 12 Oct 1890 you have the answer to your question but you had to calculate it. This is indirect evidence.

Contact Us

Southeastern Colorado Genealogical Society, Inc.

P.O. Box 1407

Pueblo, CO 81002

Monthly Meetings

Our monthly meetings are held on the first Saturday of the month with a Genealogical Studies class at 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm and our Program from 2:00 pm - 3:00 PM

You do not have to be a member to attend - Everyone is welcome.

Call 719-250-5782 for more information or to schedule a ride.