How do you prove information?

+3 votes
How do you prove that information is correct when their may be no proof that such a thing existed?

I have a distant adopted family member that claims some of our family members may have been members of a certain group in the area.
in The Tree House by Chris McCombs G2G6 Mach 6 (61.8k points)
I'm not sure which thing has no proof.

If I understand you:  Someone claims some of your family may have belonged to a group.  There is no proof the group existed.  Have I got that right?
There is proof the group existed.

There may not be any proof that these people were part of this group.
Is it a group that might have membership records, or be reported or photographed by a newspaper?
I really did not want to give the name of the group but i guess in order to get an answer I have to. The group is the Klu Klux Klan.
Thanks for clarifying, Chris.  I was overthinking it.

Just a few ideas:

Some groups have official histories, and a person in charge of maintaining archives.

Qualifications for membership might help - you can't join the American Bar Association without passing the bar exam.  Being qualified wouldn't prove membership, but not being qualified would prove they couldn't have joined.

Names might be mentioned in news articles or legal actions.

If the organization was incorporated, officers' and directors' names appear on public records.

If you can't find proof, you still can mention the speculation in the biography.
Chris, you probably have to scour newspaper reports of Klan activity in hopes of connecting anyone to it.  There may be published books documenting their history, but a membership list would be a rare thing indeed.  Good luck!

My question refers to this passage from Wilheilm Kuhner's book "Who knows why the geese go barefoot?"

Some of John’s decedents fought for the Confederate States of America, and some of them almost certainly joined the Ku Klux Klan.

 To me the phrase "Almost Certainly" means the person assumed there were a part of the KKK because they fought for the south. 

Thanks, but I am not all that interested in this line of the family. The line I am apart of is from the Pennsylvania area. Hence my family.
That statement is so vague and broad that I think it would be meaningless, if not irresponsible, to apply it to any particular individual.

1 Answer

+6 votes
Logically you have two unproven statements here:

A. A certain group existed (in the past).

B. Specific persons were members of that group.

Assuming you can prove that the persons in B actually existed, any proof of B would imply a proof of A. On the other hand, no one has so far found a proof of A. (I assume this is not for lack of trying.) Since presumably a proof of B interests fewer people and therefore has less resources devoted to it than a proof of A, directly proving B is likely going to take longer than a proof of A.

To put meet on the bones: Assume the statements are these:

A. Werewolves exist.

B. My grandfather was a werewolf.

I'd say: Good luck proving either of those statements.
by Gus Gassmann G2G6 Mach 5 (51.6k points)
After clarifying comments, my answer has been made redundant. I'd like to retract it. How?
Happens all the time, Gus.  You can hide it, or you can edit it to replace the text with 'never mind.'  It's a fine answer, and I think you should leave it.
I agree with Herbert. Keep the answer. It may help others with a similar situation as this with a different group.

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