I’ve proved it.

That’s a loaded sentence.

We don’t prove something with one just record that states what we want.

We evaluate that record. We determine how reliable that record is. We decide who the probable informant is. We determine how reliable that probable informant is. We need to make certain that the scribe or clerk wrote down faithfully what the informant said.

We need to be aware of things we have assumed.

We look for all the records that may address the point we are trying to establish. We do not limit our searches to records that are easy to access. We research without preconceived answers directing our searches. We look at records even if they are inconsistent or make statements with which we are uncomfortable. We continue to look for all the records even if our preliminary searches point in one consistent direction.

We don’t just copy down a piece of information from a record and say “there’s our proof.”

We copy that piece of information down and say:

Here is a statement from a record. Now it is time to analyze that statement.







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