The historian's choice
Every history - every picture of the past - involves a degree of choice on the part of the historian. But if we are aware that a choice is being made, albeit an informed one, between various unprovable possible scenarios, we tend to create a more historically credible tale.
We cannot force historical evidence to say things that suit a story we have already half decided upon. Nor can we wilfully ignore evidence that doesn't fit our picture. But there are nevertheless many different ways of building up a picture of a past event, and filling in the blanks - so there is an element of uncertainty about most historical research. This is one of the reasons why history is so exciting.
Follow the story of George Burdett, who seems to have abandoned his family for a life abroad, to see how historians build up a picture of the past, and to understand how important it is not to make assumptions about what might have taken place.