Monday, 24 February 2014

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2 Chapter 1 Homework

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]
Chapter 1: Genealogy’s Standard of Proof

Question 1. 
The dictionary definition of genealogy is a line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor (1).
This translates in laymen’s terms to the study of kinship and pedigree, which is conducted by using oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records.
Many genealogists can also be called family historians because they go further than defining the relationship and use the records they find to build a fuller picture of the families they discover and how they lived in their place and time.

Question 2. 

   A search needs to have been done of sufficient records that a conclusion can be drawn; the number of records will depend on the reliability of the records that have been found. To draw a conclusion you must be reasonably certain that you have not overlooked a source that any competent researcher would have used.

The sources that are used need to be completely and accurately recorded in such a manner as to make them retrievable.

The information discovered in the research process must be analysed to ensure that it refers to the same person or persons, in the same place and at the same time.

Any conflicting evidence should be reviewed in such a manner that any discrepancies between different sources may be coherently explained.

A written conclusion should be drawn which pulls together all the previous elements. (2)

Question 3. 

I believe for research to be of value it needs to be referenced in such a way that anyone can confirm what I have found and build a conclusion. 
If any piece of information is later found to contradict what I have concluded then further analysis of all the evidence will be possible. 
Without proper sources and reasoning, research does not stand up to review and incorrect conclusions may be perpetuated by other researchers.

Question 4. 

The conclusion is the result of an analysis of all the gathered information. If there is sufficient evidence then the conclusion is a proof. 
If there is insufficient evidence or a conflict cannot be resolved then further research is required until a conclusion is possible. 
Without fulfilling all the criteria in question 2 any conclusion is not valid.

Question 5. 
What questions do you need to answer?
Assess what you need to discover before you start any research.

1 Online Oxford Dictionary accessed 19th June 2013.
2 The Genealogical Proof Standard accessed 19th June 2013.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Occupations of Our Ancestors

 - Should we consider exactly how we view them with 21st century eyes.

This blog post was triggered by a comment Jill Ball made on Google+ about a fellow cruiser’s comment about social media.
She said that a blog post had reminded her of this comment. This post deals with the reactions of individuals to changes.
Although we all have to cope with changes in our lives many of us adapt to change better than others and some of us actually relish change as a challenge.

I am not going to discuss the management of change so much as how change has influenced our lives and those of our ancestors.

My son has grown up in a world where technology particularly computers are commonplace. Whilst this may not be the norm everywhere most “westernised” and many asian countries are similar. Trying to explain to his generation that we did not have such technology when we were growing up can be difficult. If so much has changed in one generation how can we ever truly put ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors and think and feel as they might have done. To be able to visualize their lives we need to know exactly how they lived and what affected their lives.

Museums, reenactments and newspapers can all play a part in piecing together their story, but can we ever truly see things as they would. Were they the ones who took the changes on board or did they dig their heels in and try to resist change. After all changes are not always for the better.

My husband and I both have family members who worked with animals such as horses, they would have been important in a society without automotive transport (cars, trains). Many of the trades associated with horses are dying out or practically non existent today. How can we even picture such a society ?

Today we worry about pollution from various sources contributing to “Global Warming” but would knowing about such possibilities have made any difference to our ancestors, many of whom would have been unable to read or write and would have been struggling to survive.

Knowing what someone did can be important when fleshing out our family histories, but understanding how that impacted on their standing in the community could be more important in explaining how they were and why they did what they did. If we truly wish to understand what makes us who we are today we need to study the history of the village, town and even the county or country.

However you carry out your research do not forget the Friends, Acquaintances and Neighbours.
In other words look out for the FAN club.