Applying The Scientific Method to Genealogical Research (Part 4)

My cousin and I attempted to use The Scientific Method to answer the question of where Bertha Danko is buried.  In the first iteration of The Scientific Method, we tested the hypothesis that Bertha Danko is buried in an unmarked grave in Hope Cemetery, Worcester, Massachusetts.  We were not able to prove the first hypothesis, and so we conducted a second iteration where we tested the hypothesis that Bertha’s death record includes her place of burial.  We were not able to prove the second hypothesis, but we learned that Bertha Danko’s name was actually Bronislawa Danko, and that Bronislawa was buried by the undertaker Lucian Karolkiewicz.

Now, many Danko family members in Worcester, Massachusetts were buried by Henry Karolkiewicz who probably inherited the funeral home from Lucian Karolkiewicz.

3-2.  Gather information and resources:  Lucian Karolkiewicz’s records were probably inherited by Henry Karolkiewicz.  Henry Karolkiewicz’s funeral business was later sold to the Dirsa family who formed the Henry-Dirsa Funeral Service.
3-3.  Form new hypothesis:  Lucian Karolkiewicz’s records include the place of Bronislawa’s burial.
3-4.  Perform experiment and collect data:  Contact the Henry-Dirsa Funeral Service in Worcester, Massachusetts and request information on the burial of Bronislawa Danko.
3-5.  Analyze the data:  Henry-Dirsa Funeral Service does not have Lucian Karolkiewicz’s records for that time period.
3-6.  Interpret data and draw conclusions:  Lucian Karolkiewicz’s records for that time period were probably not transferred to the Henry-Dirsa Funeral Service.  However, Henry-Dirsa Funeral Service may be able to suggest other ways to find where Bronislawa Danko was buried.

Once again we seem to have struck out in our efforts to find Bronislawa Danko’s grave, but as long as we can develop a new hypothesis, we can conduct another iteration of The Scientific Method.  Frequently, the conclusions drawn from one iteration will lend themselves to the formation of a new hypothesis.

In Part 5 of this series, I will discuss how the staff at the Henry-Dirsa Funeral Service developed a new hypothesis for the next iteration of The Scientific Method.

For other posts in this series, please see:

Copyright © 2010 by Stephen J. Danko

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