Hoy  -   research process page 1


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The following is an abbreviated version of a presentation made by Dr Charles Hoy to a  meeting of the Borders Family History

Society in Melrose.   The author will be pleased to correspond on any of the items - see email address on this site.


PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED -  when can we be sure that a suspected family member is in fact in our direct line or not?


Three methods available towards a proof of such relationship:


1    INDUCTIVE - going from the particular to the general.


Problem - when do we stop and agree that we have indeed made a finding?  The cautious and correct researcher says that we need more data before we can make claims beyond what we already know.


What is sufficient evidence?

What is both necessary evidence and what is also sufficient evidence to be certain in such a case?


2    DEDUCTIVE - going from the general to the particular.


Example: we know that lots of people were emigrating from the Scottish Borders in the mid 19th century, and we can't find any Hoy family in the Scottish Borders today - so we assume that they must have emigrated as well.


Problem - findings are limited;  so do we make more deductions?


Example - "we have this evidence that they have the same surname and both appear on the census roll for 1881 at the same address, so we conclude they are related".  Is that sufficient evidence?


3 HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE - make a hypothetical inference and then check it out with deductive arguments. Checking for

reliable  and  valid  evidence  for  previously  deduced arguments is a powerful methodology. See example below:




Updating the Family of John Hoy in Melrose at the beginning of 1700s.




One problem in Family History research is being convinced that we have evidence for any claim we make about a particular ancestor. As this web site has shown for some years we have been concerned for the truth of evidence, and earlier suggested that John Hoy (soldier) was the John Hoy born 1707 to Isabell Bartoun and John Hoy. This met with evidence from Chelsea Hospital Records (1730-1812) in that a John Hoy aged 40 with 9 years service was discharged on 5 Oct 1747. However, we now believe that it was the John Hoy born 1718 who became the soldier, and that the recorded dates from Chelsea Hospital were inaccurate !!   Why ?


In the case of John Hoy in Melrose, we have a number of John Hoy born to Isabell Bartoun and John Hoy, indeed there were three sons of that name, born in 1707, 1712 and 1718. It is believed to be unusual for the first born son to be named for a deceased older sibling, and unprecedented we think for it to happen twice?


For confirmation that John Hoy (soldier) is the John Hoy born 1718 and who married Ester Martine, we need to look for a Hannah who married George Martine. This is from working backwards for the names of Esther Martine's mother and father names from those of their children, if we can be permitted to assume the usual name order pattern from John Hoy and Esther Martine's own children. It is likely, but not proven that she would have been born in the Melrose/Gattonside/StBoswells(Lessudine)/Ancrum or Kelso areas. Finding this Hannah would compound the evidence firmly. However, this information is not yet found.


Any Help on this would be most appreciated.


IF John Hoy (soldier) was born in 1718, son of John Hoy, Gardener, Gattonside




aged:21 1739 joined Army, based on discharge Chelsea Hospital. WO 116/4.


26 1744 21 Mar: baptised George, son to John and Esther Hoy, soldier, Col Fleming Reg (36th Reg of Foot), Kent. 942.23/C1V26G (SLC FHL)


28 1746 27 Apr: baptised John son to John Hoy a soldier and Esther Martine, Melrose.


29 1747  5 Oct: John discharged as outpatient from Chelsea Hospital.

Written evidence that John was born at Newris, Teviotdaleshire.