March 18 Topic: “Breaking Through Brick Walls with Reason and Logic”, by Greg Liverman
Breaking through the proverbial genealogical “brick wall” is hard. Logical evaluation of facts and evidence is required.
The scientific method has been used for over a thousand years to advance human knowledge in an orderly way. It is regularly applied to all branches of learning, not just those we think of as “science”. This simple method can easily be applied to family history research to break through brick walls using logic and critical thinking. These techniques are particularly important where direct evidence is not available.
This seminar introduces the scientific method, describes how evidence can be evaluated critically and provides real examples to illustrate how the method can be applied to discover unknown relatives or evaluate whether other families are related to yours.
Greg Liverman, Ph.D., began tracing his family history in the 1990’s with an old Macintosh computer and a copy of Family Tree Maker. At that time, family and career pursuits did not leave much time for genealogy work. He was finally able to return to charting his family history in 2009. Greg quickly realized that he could bring to bear all the analytical and problem solving skills he had developed in over forty years of working as a journalist, scientist and business manager.
Living on a ranch on the western slopes of Pikes Peak means there are few libraries nearby, so Greg has become adept at using online resources for both domestic and foreign research. He has researched his family history “on the ground” in libraries, cemeteries and records offices in seven states, with more on the list to visit. He has experience in using various techniques, based on the careful application of reason and logic, to successfully break down “brick walls”.
Greg and his wife Wendy added genetic genealogy or DNA testing to their brick wall demolition toolkit in 2013 and have immersed themselves in the details of DNA tests and evaluation methods. They have answered several questions about their family history using DNA evidence. Greg recently launched Pinewood Genealogy to help people with their genealogy research and genetic genealogy analysis.