I'm working out a problem in a burn county (meaning the courthouse burned down) right now and am not finding the answers I need. Perhaps there were records that existed at one time that would have quickly provided some answers. If they did exist, it seems they went up in flames when the courthouse did. In fact, some of the microfilm I looked at this weekend was clearly taken of records that had suffered fire damage. The edges were burned and in some cases it looked like the flames started to eat toward the middle of the page.
I have a couple other sources to investigate, but finding a direct answer to my problem does not look very promising. This work I'm doing is a perfect example of having to use inferential evidence. What is that you wonder? Basically, it's using circumstantial evidence to build a case to prove your point or a relationship.
When I think of inferential evidence I immediately think of Tom Jones. Last year I was in Tom's class at IGHR and he was also an instructor in the Boston University course that I took. Tom has written several articles using inferential evidence to prove relationships. In fact, he has an excellent article on FamilySearch.org discussing this topic.
Incidentally, Tom is at SLIG this week teaching Course 9: Advanced Genealogical Methods. So while you and I may not be attending SLIG or Tom's class, we can maybe take a few moments, read Tom's article and pretend that we are there. I know it's a stretch.