DNA information as direct or indirect evidence

I am trying to determine if a recently discovered YDNA match would be considered direct or indirect evidence.  I have read the QuickLesson 24 re DNA.  However, the four examples do not seem to address my situation which is as follows.

My question would be (generically) Is individual A of hometown USA a grandson of individual B of Faraway, USA?

The tester's (my sibling) YDNA information is a match to an individual who is a great great grandson to individual B, through a known son of individual B. 

So is this DNA evidence considered direct or indirect evidence as applied to my question?

Thank you for your insight.


Submitted byEEon Wed, 02/28/2018 - 10:00

Jo, with DNA evidence we apply the same criteria we apply with any other type of evidence. In this case, does your DNA result directly, explicitly state that A is a grandson of B? Or are there other ways that the test result could be read?  Do you have to combine that test result with other evidence to build a case for your conclusion?

Submitted byjarnspigeron Wed, 02/28/2018 - 10:59

In my opinion I have to combine other evidence to make my case. Ths evidence supports my hypothesis but does not explicity answer the question.  Appreciate your response.


Submitted byyhoitinkon Wed, 02/28/2018 - 13:00

I come at this from a a slightly different angle. Whether something is direct or indirect evidence to me is about whether it relates directly to the research question, but it doesn't have to be a complete answer. 

For example, if my research question is "when was John born?" and I have a census record that says he was 20 years old in 1850, I would call that direct evidence even though it doesn't give me the exact birth date. But if I had John providing a witness statement that did not give his age, I would consider that as indirect evidence since it would tell me he was born before a certain date because he had would have reached the age of majority to provide the statement. 

I prefer my research questions to be open-ended rather than yes/no. So I would formulate the research question as "Who was the paternal grandfather of individual A of Hometown USA?" I would then consider the Y-match direct evidence, giving the non-specific answer "Somebody from the paternal line of individual B of Faraway, USA." It would require combination with other evidence to come to a conclusion, but that is true for any piece of evidence since one piee by itself never proves anything. 

With the yes/no question, there's little room for non-specific answers so perhaps it would be indirect then. Interesting question!