Evidentia–Source Analysis Report (for comments)

August 9, 2013

Evidentia512

Source Analysis Report
Civil War Draft Registration Records
Prepared 09 Aug 2013 by Russ Worthington
Source Analysis

Source: U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865 Digital Image Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, http://www.ancestry.com, 26 July 2013 ARC Identifier: 4213415; Archive Volume Number: 3 of 6, Record Group: 10, NARA; Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal Generals Bureau Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records)

The source reviewed was a clear unaltered Image Copy of an original record.

Source Citation:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War);

Collection Name:

Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); ARC Identifier: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 3 of 6.

Source Information:

Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Original data:

Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865. NM-65, entry 172, 620 volumes. ARC ID: 4213514. Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War), Record Group 110. National Archives, Washington D.C.

Ancestry.com Search URL:

http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=consolidatedlistsofcivilwarreg&rank=1&new=1&MSAV=1&msT=1&gss=angs-d&gsfn=james&gsfn_x=NP_NN_NIC&gsln=wake&gsln_x=NS_NP_NN&msbdy=1828&msrpn__ftp=New+York+City+%28All+Boroughs%29%2c+New+York%2c+USA&msrpn=1652382&msrpn_PInfo=6-|0|1652393|0|2|3244|35|1652382|0|0|0|&cpxt=0&catBucket=rs&uidh=ut2&_83004003-n_xcl=f&cp=0&pcat=39&fh=0&h=899095&recoff=

Information and Evidence Analysis

Citation: “Archival Research Catalog (ARC),” digital image, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, http://www.ancestry.com, accessed 27 July 2013, ARC Identifier: 4213415; Archive Volume Number: 3 of 6, Record Group: 10 citing NARA; Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal Generals Bureau Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records)

Draft Registration for James A Wake is found on Line 6

Claim: This reference asserts that On the registration the subject’s name is James A Wake. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary (meaning we must assume the informant was not a knowledgeable eyewitness or participant in the event).

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect (meaning the evidence is implied, circumstantial or fails to answer the whole question) when applied to the question of the Name Variation of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake registered in the 6th Congressional District in New York

Claim: This reference asserts that Registration Classification 2. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information.

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect when applied to the question of the Military of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake was in the Registration Classification 2, meaning married and over 36 at the time of the registration. (see Registration assertion)

Claim: This reference asserts that James A Wake appeared in the 6th Congressional District Registration record in New York. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information.

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect when applied to the question of the Registration of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake registered for the Civil War Registration in the 6th Congressional District in New York.

    From Ancestry.com: This is a collection of lists of Civil War Draft Registrations. There were four drafts between 1863 and 1865, which included 3.175 million records. Historically, the 1863 draft was one of the most tenuous moments in the Union outside of the battles fought on Northern soil. Most of the concern was due to the draft riots that took place in New York in 1863.

    These records include 631 volumes of registries and are basically lists of individuals who registered for the draft. The records are split into two different classes, Class I are those aged 20-35 as well as those 36-45 and unmarried. Class II is everyone else that registered.

Claim: This reference asserts that James A Wake reported his residence to be New York on Christopher Street. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information.

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect when applied to the question of the Residence of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake resided in New York, New York on Christopher Street

Claim: This reference asserts that James A Wake is 36 years as of 1 July 1863 and would have been born about 1827. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information.

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect when applied to the question of the Birth of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake was 36 as of 1 July 1863

Claim: This reference asserts that James A Wake reported Place of Birth to be New York. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information.

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect when applied to the question of the Birth of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake was born in New York

Claim: This reference asserts that James A Wake reported marriage status to be Married. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information.

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect when applied to the question of the Marriage of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake as married at the time of the Registration

Claim: This reference asserts that James A Wake reported his occupation to be a Foreman at the time of registration in 1863. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information.

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect when applied to the question of the Occupation of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake was reported to be a foreman

Claim: This reference asserts that James A Wake reported No military service James A Wake reported No military service. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information.

  • The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect when applied to the question of the Military of James A Wake. The Civil War Registration reports that James A Wake had no prior military service

Prepared 09 Aug 2013 by Russ Worthington

Evidentia© 2012-2013


Mastering Genealogical Proof–Chapter 6, Conflicting Information

August 5, 2013

Chapter 6

Russ Worthington
04 August 2013

Reference:
Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof , (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013)

Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/mastering_genealogical_proof

Following the Dear MYRTLE Google+ Hangout On Air discussion of Chapter 6, I thought that I would put “out there” my “conflicting” information, looking for some feedback.

I have mentioned that I am using Evidentia for this project. I am trying to determine IF James A Wake served in the Civil War. From my research, so far, this James Wake appears to be a good candidate. However, I can’t determent if this James Wake is the Jame A Wake are the same person. That piece of conflicting information is not being addressed here. James A Wake, according to a Congressional Registration was 37 as of 1 July 1863, which would suggest that he was born about 1826.

My research has found a James Wake as described below. This report is directly out of Evidentia from my data entry, to date. This James  Wake was found with the same family members in the 1860 and 1870 census, and it appears in a household which may be that of his parents and siblings in the 1850 census.

There is the Evidentia report to date:

Evidentia512

Genealogical Proof Report

for the Birth of James Wake

Prepared 05 Aug 2013 by Russ Worthington

Summary of Findings

14 July 2013 – Updated based on the 1870 Census – James Wake was 40 in this Census and would have him born between 26 Jun 1829 and 25 Jun 1830 in New York. The updated hypothisis for his birth range is now 2 August 1828 to 23 June 1831, in New York.

14 July 2013 – Looking at the 1850 Census, James Wake was 21 which would have his birth date between 02 Aug 1828 and 01 Aug 1829. This is earlier, by almost a year, from the 1860 census found initially, but still born in New York.

14 July 2013 – Based on the 1860 Census James Wake was born 24 Jun 1830 and 23 Jun 1831 in New York.

Itemized Research Findings

6 assertions from 3 sources were considered in evaluating this claim.

The 1860 US Census – James Wake[1] asserts that James Wake is 29 years old on 23 June 1860 which would mean born about 1831. The source reviewed was a clear unaltered Image Copy of an original record. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary (meaning we must assume the informant was not a knowledgeable eyewitness or participant in the event). The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect (meaning the evidence is implied, circumstantial or fails to answer the whole question).

In the 1860 US Census, James Wake 29 years old when the census was taken on 23 June 1860. This would indicate that he was born between 24 Jun 1830 and 23 Jun 1831

The 1860 US Census – James Wake[1] asserts that James Wake was born in New York. The source reviewed was a clear unaltered Image Copy of an original record. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.

The 1860 US Census claims that James Wake was born in New York

The 1850 US Census – James Wake[2] asserts that James Wake is 21 years old on 01 August 1850 which would mean born about 1829. The source reviewed was a clear unaltered Image Copy of an original record. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.

In the 1850 US Census, James Wake was 21 years old when the census was taken on 1 August 1850. This would indicate that he was born between 2 Aug 1828 and 1 Aug 1829. This date range is earlier then the 1860 Census of 24 Jun 1830 and 23 Jun 1831

The 1850 US Census – James Wake[2] asserts that James Wake was born in New York. The source reviewed was a clear unaltered Image Copy of an original record. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.

The 1850 US Census claims that James Wake was born in New York

The 1870 US Census – James Wake[3] asserts that James Wake is 40 years old on 25 June 1870 which would mean born about 1830. The source reviewed was a clear unaltered Image Copy of an original record. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.

The 1870 US Census claims that James Wake was 40 years old when the census was taken on 25 June 1870. This would indicate that he was born between 26 Jun 1829 and 25 Jun 1830. This date range falls between the 1860 Census and the 1850 Census

The 1870 US Census – James Wake[3] asserts that James Wake was born in New York. The source reviewed was a clear unaltered Image Copy of an original record. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary, and must be treated as Secondary information. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.

The 1870 US Census claims that James Wake was born in New York

Recommendations for Continuing

  • Locate James Wake in the 1830 US Census
  • Locate James Wake in the 1840 US Census
  • Locate James Wake in the 1850 US CensusLocated 14 July 2013

     

  • Locate James Wake in the 1860 US CensusLocated 14 July 2013

     

  • Locate James Wake in the 1870 US CensusLocated 14 July 2013

     

  • Locate James Wake in the 1880 US Census
  • Locate James Wake’s death date for further Census Records
  • James Wake’s age in the 1850 Census was 21, the 1860 Census 29, and the 1870 Census 40. There seems to be a conflict in the reporting of his age at the time of the Census. This may be a conflict

End Notes

11860 U.S. Census, New York Ward 9, District 1, New York, New York, Population Schedule, Page 175, Lines 10 – 13, dwelling 628, family 1358, James Wake; digital mage, Ancestry.com (Digital Image : accessed 14 July 2014); citing NARA microfilm M653, roll 797, Image 180, Familiy History Library Film: 803797

21850 U.S. Census, New York Ward 8, New York, New York, Population Schedule, Page 203A, Line 11 – 16, dwelling 344, family 863, James Wake; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 July 2014); citing NARA microfilm M432, roll 542, Image 10.

31870 U.S. Census, Hudson County, New Jersey, Bayonne, Population Schedule, Page 314A, Lines 30 – 35, dwelling 486, family 567, James Wake; digital mage, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 July 2014); citing NARA microfilm M593, roll 863; Image 84, Family History Library Film: 552362.

Prepared 05 Aug 2013 by Russ Worthington

Evidentia© 2012-2013

The question is two fold: 1) Do I have a conflict? and 2) Based on the evidence presented in the census records am I able to resolve the conflict. Please note that the To Do list is included in the report, under Recommendations for Continuing.

What is your reaction to such a report?


Mastering Genealogical Proof Study – Tracking

August 5, 2013

In Preparation for Chapter 6

Russ Worthington
04 August 2013

Reference:
Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof , (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), viii.

Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/mastering_genealogical_proof

I have been using Evidentia software for my study of this book.I have collected some data, actually a far amount of data, but I wanted to keep track of that somehow. I can do that in my genealogy database, but I am not ready for that yet. So, I created a Spreadsheet.

Here is what I want to capture:

  1. A Subject ID for Evidentia, to keep names straight
  2. Surname
  3. First or Given Name
  4. Middle Name, if any
  5. Birth Date
  6. Birth Location
  7. Marriage Date
  8. Marriage Location
  9. Death Date
  10. Death Location
  11. Record Search Order
  12. Record Searched
  13. Residence

I think that the Order that I find the records may become important, so I want to track that. Having it in the order I searched may help out later in my project.

The Record Searched, I called it above, but in my EXCEL worksheet, I just say Record. What record did I find information, OR not find information. I found a Civil War Registration Record, but I didn’t find a Civil War Service Record. I want to remember that.

Residence is to help develop family groups. I am NOT using my genealogy database, at this point, but I wanted a way to sort to show the family groupings by the Residence Claim.

Sorting is key here.

I am creating a Subject ID for each different person I found or identified. They will help when or IF I need to merge two subjects. I couldn’t tell the difference from the Record and what it claimed, but during the analysis I may be able to resolve that conflict, two different names.

This is for TRACKING purposes for me:

Evidentia-MGP-Tracking

This is sorted by Name. The yellow hi-lites are reminders that I have some conflicts to resolve. Almiria or Elmira; was she born in New York or New Jersey.

It’s not hi-lighted, yet, because I don’t know if James Wake and James A Wake are two people of ONE person. I am started with the Civil War congressional registration record for James A Wake, and the question I am trying to answer, did he serve in the Civil War?

I won’t infer (using what I learned with the study of Inferential Genealogy) anything here. That will be done in Evidentia. Also, not all of the data (claims) I find will be tracked at this point.

I’ll also be able to spot holes in my research. For example, the last entry is Wi


HACK GENEALOGY: A New Genealogy and Technology Resource

July 17, 2013

Repurposing today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy

17 July 2013 – Chicago, IL. Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee announces the debut of Hack Genealogy, a new resource for the genealogy industry and the growing community of genealogy and family history enthusiasts.

Hack Genealogy is about “repurposing today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy” and a little bit more. Hack Genealogy is more than just a list of resources: It provides information on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry.

Hack Genealogy is not merely about surviving the overwhelming presence of new and emerging technologies . . . Hack Genealogy is about genealogy and technology success in its many facets.

What Will You Find at Hack Genealogy?

Here are the features to be offered at Hack Genealogy over the coming months:

· Cool GenStuff: Each day we’ll provide a curated list of the latest information about genealogy that deserve your attention.

· Discussions and Issues: We’ll discuss issues important to the genealogy community including education, self-publishing, sharing research and more.

· Education and E-Guides: Through the use of webinars, e-guides, Google+ hangouts and other innovative educational technologies, Hack Genealogy seeks to educate genealogists on the latest technologies.

· GenBiz Buzz: Learn how others have succeeded with their genealogy and family history-related business and the tools they used to succeed.

· Interviews: We’ll ask a variety of players in the genealogy landscape this question: How Do You Hack Genealogy? to learn more about how technology is being repurposed to expand the family history experience.

· Product Reviews: Reviews of the latest products and services including software, mobile apps and more.

· Resources: A listing of the best tools for every aspect of genealogy from research to sharing photos to writing and publishing your family history.

How Hack Genealogy Got Started

Hack Genealogy takes its inspiration from the Technology and Genealogy group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/techgen/) started by Susan Petersen in late 2012. As an administrator of the group, Thomas MacEntee – creator of GeneaBloggers and High-Definition Genealogy – realized that the questions asked by group members and the great content shared was reaching only the Facebook audience. Hack Genealogy is a way to get more genealogists and family historians to discuss the use of technology in a non-threatening, easy-to-understand environment.

We hope you’ll travel along with us on this journey of discovery in the genealogy and technology fields.

About Hack Genealogy

Hack Genealogy (http://hackgenealogy.com) is a technology resource for the genealogy community with a focus on “repurposing today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas MacEntee is the driving force between Hack Genealogy whose goal is to provide information on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry.

Follow Hack Genealogy on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/HackGenealogy), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/hackgenealogy) and at http://hackgenealogy.com.

About Thomas MacEntee

Thomas MacEntee is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research and as a way to connect with others in the family history community. When he’s not busy writing blog posts, organizing the 3,000+ members of GeneaBloggers, teaching online genealogy webinars and more, Thomas MacEntee is busy in his role as “genealogy ninja.” Stealth is not easy, but he manages to get the inside track on emerging technologies and vendors as they relate to the genealogy industry. After being laid off from a 25-year career in the tech industry in 2008, Thomas has been able to “repurpose” his skill set for the genealogy community and loves to see other genealogists succeed, whether it is with their own research or building their own careers in the field.

#####

Contact:       Thomas MacEntee
hidefgen@gmail.com
High-Definition Genealogy
1416 W. Carmen Ave., #3
Chicago, IL  60640
+1 (773) 661-3080

Thomas MacEntee

Founder, High-Definition Genealogy

http://hidefgen.com

+1 (773) 661-3080


Technical Tuesday – To Start over again ??

July 2, 2013

A topic that came up on Monday’s with Myrt was Do I start my research over? Hmmm. With all of the new “stuff” I am learning about family history research, for a moment I thought that was a good idea. Several expressed similar reactions. But with the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), Inferential Genealogy, Evidence Explained!, Mastering Genealogical Proof, not to mention features in our genealogy database management programs and this new program Evidentia, one might think about starting over.

Now, my database is far from perfect. I didn’t know about the items just mentioned. But I did learn to cite my sources. I even thought how important that was for those who might look at my research “later”, but more so that I could answer one question, Where did you get that information from?

At some level, I was doing some of the ‘right things’, just didn’t know what I was doing. But to start over, I don’t think so.

I really want to see how “bad” my database really is, while applying the principles of this “new”, to me, steps and processes in my research before I jump to any conclusions. Where have I heard that from.

So, here is my plan.

My daughter is considering in applying to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In fact, she could join from a number of our ancestors and probably a couple I haven’t documented yet. The ancestor that we are going to work on, is Ann Cooper Whitall. There is a chapter in south Jersey that bears her name. But, no one has applied for membership for her in years, and has a ‘red flag’ (my term) linked to her name.

I exported the descendants of Ann Cooper, from my database, to a GEDCOM file so  that it could be imported into Evidentia. That worked well, easy to do, but Evidentia does not import sources and citations. Oh, right, it is Evidence or Source based, and I am trying to make is the ‘traditional way’ of name based. BUT, that lack of importing of my information makes total sense now that I think about it.

My Evidentia database now has a bunch of names, from Ann Cooper down to my daughter. I have my sources in my genealogy database, so I can work on each source, enter it into Evidentia, follow the steps that are included to create a “GPS” like file or profile for the people in my file.

I am NOT going to do everyone, but will concentrate on my “direct line” from Ann Cooper Whitall down to my daughter.

Since I have already spent some time figuring out how to get my Evidentia data into Family Tree Maker, my genealogy database management program, I know how I want to get the information back into the program, so I have a better documented file to submit.

Here is a link to the work that I did Evidentia and Family Tree Maker. Please remember that the Blog shows the most recent post at the top of the list. The real trick here, will be to see how merging individual people from Evidentia, back into Family Tree Maker will look at the “end of the day”. I do expect some clean up of that merge, but hopefully it will be to move some information around, from my old way of doing things, and to clean out unwanted or unneeded source material.


Technical Tuesday – Change on how to search on Ancestry.com

July 1, 2013

There has been a lot of discussion about the changes at Ancestry.com and how we search. According to Ancestry.com 2% of their current users, continue to use the “old” search, while 98% of us, use the “new” search. My only question is why have TWO different ways to search. Or in words that I have seen “two different search experiences”.

I don’t normally, for my own research, use either, or use the search on Ancestry that “is there”. I have learned how to use it. What ever the current version “it” is. BUT, I attended the Fairfax VA Genealogy Conference earlier this year and attended a presentation on how to get the most out of Ancestry. I came home so excited that I offered and was able to give two presentations to two different groups to take advantage of the new search engine.

So, when all of this discussion came up over the past few days, from what I am guessing is the “2%”, I was scratching my head. Then I read Randy Seaver’s Geneamusings Blog. Also, from reading earlier blog posts by Randy, he was giving similar presentations in local groups near where he lives.

Here is my take and how I am able to take advantage of the “new” features. I must say, that I did not try to answer my Genealogy Question with the “old” search, so I can’t compare Old vs New, but only can show how I answered this question.

Where did Ready Cash reside for the 1840 – 1880 Census?

What I knew, is that Ready Cash was born about 1800, and was located in Rockbridge, Virginia. I wanted to be able to pick him up specifically in the Census from 1840 until 1880. Before then, I might not be able to locate him, but I did for each census year mentioned.

Going to Ancestry.com and entering Ready Cash, Born 1800, and was in Rockbridge, Virginia. When I entered the Location, I started to type R O C K, and stopped and selected Rockbridge, Virginia from the drop down menu. I made sure that I did not have Exact Only selected at the top, Only Historical Records from the US Collection at the bottom of the search screen.

Search-01

The results were overwhelming. 4,251 Records from Census and Voting Lists. Far too many (for me)

Search-02

I have to do better at this. So, I put a check mark in EXACT ONLY at the top of the Edit Search window. Not marked in the screen capture above, but I can go in and EDIT my Search criteria by clicking on the Edit button just above the Census and Voting List “red box” on the left.

Search-03

You will notice that each entry has a check box next to “Exact Only” or the text below the box that says “Restrict to exact”. This should shorten my list.

Search-04

And it did, but now I am down to only 2 categories of records with Ready Cash listed. 1840 and 1870. Too far. But, lets look at the Records and not just the Categories, to see if there is any hints there.

Search-05

Looks like my person, but missing a couple of census years.

My experience with Census Records is Ages of the person, implying the year of birth, so I left the birth year at 1800, but added the /- option of 5 years. Again, the green Edit button, and in the pull down menu selected 5.

Search-06

Tried my search again.

Search-07

Gee, added 1880. When looking at the Records Tab, I just wanted to make sure that I was seeing the results for the right person. I see his name spelled three different ways, different birth years, but they do look some what consistent and that I am seeing the right Ready Cash. BUT, I am still missing 1850 and 1860.

Back to the Edit button, I wanted to loosen up the Location a bit. The New Search has an option for Adjacent Counties. Maybe he moved for those two census years. I am picking up the name differences and birth year differences and am not picking up any other “Ready Cash” names. Looks like there is only one person in the area with that name.

Search-08

It’s a pull down menu under the Location field.

Selecting and searching from here I see:

Search-09

1850 and 1860. More details are below.

Search-10

He was in Boteourt, Virginia for 1850 and 1860.

I have been able to answer my research question. I started with 4,251 hits and got it down to 1840 – 1880 census records for my person.

In reality, the first search I did, there were 1,342,175 hits. The 4,251 were only Census and Voting Lists.

Bottom line, for me is, I like the New Search at Ancestry.com. It’s a change for me and others, but in about 10 minutes I was able to answer my research question. Where did Ready Cash reside for the 1840 – 1880 Census?


Mastering Genealogical Proof–Chapter 1 Homework

June 18, 2013

Chapter 1: Genealogy’s Standard of Proof

MGP_StudyGroup

 

Home Work Assignment

Name: Russ Worthington


Chapter 1 exercises[1]

OK, so I am not a good student, but I will do my best with this open book exercise. I’ll attempt to answer the questions, but will try to explain what it all means to me.

1. What is genealogy?

Genealogy is a research field concerned primarily with accurately reconstructing forgotten or unknown people or identities and relationships. Many of these identities and relationships existed in the past, but genealogical research also includes living people. Genealogy emphasizes biological and marital kinships, but it also addresses adoptive, extramarital, and other kids of familial relationships within and across generations.

2. What are the GPS’s five elements?

  1. Reasonably Exhaustive search to help answer the research question
  2. Complete and accurate citations for each piece of information that help answer the research question
  3. Analysis, correlation, and comparison of sources and information that help answer the research question
  4. Resolve any and all pieces of conflicting pieces of information that help answer the research question
  5. Create a written statement or narrative that supports the answer to the research question

3. You have shared your family history with someone who wants you to omit all the proof statements, proof summaries, and proof arguments, including explanations of reasoning and documentation. How do you reply?

In order for our research to stand the test of time, undocumented information is mythology. However, with only documentation the reliability of that information may become questionable. Proof statements, proof arguments, proof summaries need to be included. In addition, explaining how we reached any conclusions will help improve the accuracy of our research.

4. Why can’t a genealogical conclusion be partially proved?

The five components of the Genealogical Proof Standard are interdependent and will not be able to stand on their own.

5. What is the first step in genealogical research?

Ask questions about the person or that person’s relationships that are presented in a document.

My comments:

First, I am not a professional, anything. What I have done, in the past, is to collect information about people and documenting where I found that information. I have not be one to who will say “I am a genealogist”. To me, that was a formal term that I couldn’t relate to. I was too new. I still am after about 15 years of doing this hobby. My view of a ‘genealogist’ was someone who collected names and dates at one end, or someone with a series of credentials after their name.

I learned very earlier on, about “citing your sources”. I got that piece, as I always wanted to be able to answer the question “where did you get that information from”. Why, because I was asking the same question of others research. And, I wanted to be able to go back and re-look at what I had found in that past.

I wanted to be able to create a database that I thought was somewhat reliable, and the anyone looking at my data would be able to look at what I had reported and see exactly what I saw. I also realized that these “names” had stories that might be of interest to find more about. There were “family stories” that sounded interested, but I wanted to prove or disprove those stories.

What I think I had been doing, was step one and two of the GPS process, and in a way did some analysis when comparing the data collected. But that is about as far as I got.

What this first chapter of this book told me was that genealogy is like other fields where research is involved. For me, that would be problem solving. That’s what I did before I retired. We had standards, guidelines, how to do things, and how we tried to resolve a problem. Someone would say that “something” is broken, we would try to determine what was broken and tried to fix it. If that didn’t work, re-test it, using the tools that we had.

This chapter told me, that the Genealogical Proof is like that. What I had missed was having a Question, or identify what didn’t work right. I knew how to ‘test’ what was broken, wrote down what I saw, what I did, go back and re-test to see if “it” was still broken, and continue that sequence of things until the problem was solved. Note that I said that I “wrote down” what I saw, and what I did. When I supervised others, I wanted others to do the same thing, so that I might help them resolve the problem they were working on. How can I help you if I don’t know what you did? So, my professional life, helped out, to some degree, my genealogy research.

An interesting comment in this first chapter was “no source is trustworthy in and of itself”[2] (Jones 2013) and that we deal with “sources that were imperfect the day they were created”[3] (Jones 2013). We have to interpret the evidence that we find along the way. We may have created a conclusion, but when we find new information, we should re-evaluate what was already found and ready a new conclusion. As Dr. Jones states “Our goal is to prove our conclusions”[4] (Jones 2013).


[1] Jones, Thomas W. 2013. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series. page 6

[2] Jones, Thomas W. 2013. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series. page 2

[3] Jones, Thomas W. 2013. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series. page 2

[4] Jones, Thomas W. 2013. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series. page 5


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