assumption

Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.

An assumption is a something taken for granted or accepted as true, often without sufficient evidence or evidence not yet fully established. An assumption is something not yet proven: a hasty conclusion drawn on probable versus concrete evidence. The word "guess" is a synonym for "assumption."

In genealogy, researchers are advised against making assumptions. Rather, researchers are encouraged to make well reasoned conclusions based sound evidence, after weighing and evaluating all considerations. Making assumptions can lead researchers and others astray, taking them down the wrong path in their research, or even causing them to reject anything that is contrary, regardless of the evidence. On the other hand, a well-reasoned assumption be useful for making "an educated guess," in the absence of sound evidence, until such evidence can be found. It is important to make a note in the record when an assumption is made, so others do not view it as documented fact. It is also important, after making an assumption, to keep an open mind to a different conclusion as new evidence is presented.

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