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.


Elizabeth Lapointe said...

Hi, Hilary,

I like the way you have answered the questions to yesterday's study of GPS.

I watched the Google+ session yesterday, as well as the one last year, and I am getting so much positive information out of it.

You, as well as the other people on the panel, are great. I learned so much. Looking forward to next Sunday!


Pat Richley-Erickson said...

Thank you for your writeup, Hilary. I also like your footnotes as a reasonable way of extending the learning experience for your readers.