Day 4 of the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. My entire summary, day by day, here.
Israel Pickholtz spoke about "Beyond a Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove."
He clarified that the question is where there are repeated first names, if you truly believe that one person's father is Reuvain, do you record that as the father? Record it with a question? Or have two separate individuals that can be merged later?
1) Is there evidence that should be discoverable to prove or disprove?
2) Is he laying a trap for himself or future researchers who will believe it is true?
If the answer to either is yes, don't record the relationship as fact.
Putting together lots of high probability facts gives you a much lower probability of being accurate. So how does he decide to record a fact?
1) Is the proof sufficient?
2) Does accepting the assumption serve a purpose?
3) Does what he has qualify as "beyond a reasonable doubt?"
4) What other scenarios are there and might they be correct?
5) Is there conflicting evidence?
6) Engaging in wishful thinking?
7) Issues of shalom bayit (disagreements with fellow researchers)?
Israel's rule: even when you are sure, don't record it until you find one more piece of evidence.
He gives several examples from his own extensive research in the single-surname Pickholtz Project talking through his research and thought processes and revisiting each of his questions. The depth and breadth of research was quite impressive--and each specific example was chosen to demonstrate each of the 7 questions above.
I also (in my JGSMD capacity) attended the IAJGS Annual Meeting. This blog isn't the place to cover that, but it is why I wasn't able to attend the more "fun" afternoon sessions.
I then went to the NextGen BOF meeting. There were some new faces which was really nice. There were lots of discussions about how to bring other younger genealogists to the meeting, our reasons for attending, and just some good discussions. We got some ideas for helping improve attendance next year (possible genealogy-themed Birthright trip with a week at the conference followed by trips to places like Yad Vashem and Beit Hatfutzot, having a kids' day, etc.)
And then the second-annual dinner with fellow Shpikovers! It's been great to see Marla and Ava again!