Find your National Treasure in the Nation’s Capital – Day 1

Wow, what a day. A Full Day of listening to Dr. Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL., FASG, FUGA, FNGS. That name may be familiar with many genealogist, and followers of this blog.

A group of folks in Second Life, did a study of a video presentation on about Inferential Genealogy and I then did a case study on what I learned from that study.

What an honor it was to be able to attend four classes taught by Dr. Jones.

The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS); What It is and What It is Not“, was the title of the first class. He walked us through what the GPS is and why it is so important. He used “A Jigsaw-Puzzle Metaphor for Genealogical Proof”. For me, he put that very scary term (GPS) into reality in a very clear way of doing our research. Other terms, in the genealogy community were made real and not so frightening. Will have a lot of reading to do, based on his Source List he provided.

Using “Correlation” to Reveal Facts that No Record States” was the second class. This was a refreshing class for me, as the tools he taught in the Video series were reinforced. Tools being a Narrative, List, Timeline, Table, and Map. In my case study, I must have learned something, as I used 4 of those 5 items. Guess I need to go back to the Narrative, as I didn’t do a very good job on that one. But, I am not sure that I could have answered the Question to my case study, without using all 4 of the items that I used.

A break for Dinner. Could have used a nap, but was not going to miss the next two sessions.

Organizing Evidence to Overcome Record Shortages” He reminded us that we may not find the answer to our question(s), nor the records we are looking for, but may have to look elsewhere to find answers. Look into record sets that we might not normally use in our research. There have been discussions around the genealogy, blogging world, about Exhaustive Search. But he reminded us that we may NOT find all of the pieces to the puzzle, there may be some missing pieces or some damaged pieces. Dr. Jones provided is with six steps to overcome record shortages with a couple of case studies.

Inferential Genealogy: Deducing Ancestor’s identities Indirectly” was the fourth class. I remember that title. It appeared that this case study is what the Video Study that was done in Second Life was based on. A couple of the details of this case study were in the Video, but it was even more interesting is listening to the details that Dr. Jones went through to answering the question that he asked for this case study.

Through out the four classes, Evidence or citing sources was very important. But, more than just citing the source, but evaluating of the information that is presented from that Source. Being able to make to recognize that a source may be negative, and to be able to resolve conflicts.

I was reminded that what I do is not about collecting names, but really attempting to know who this person is and what their story might be. Or, the use the puzzle metaphor really worked for me, understanding that the end result may not be a complete puzzle. He also illustrated when you might have ‘enough’ information to answer the genealogical question that WE establish for our specific research project. He also reminded us that there may be other ways to find information when a specific document does not exist. Understanding the records that we are looking at, what they mean, what their limitation might be in that document. Record, Document, and EVALUATE the information that is gathered to answer the research question.

Thank you, Dr. Jones.


2 Responses to Find your National Treasure in the Nation’s Capital – Day 1

  1. Hi, Russ,

    I’m a bit late in gong through you weblog. 8-/

    What a coincidence, Dr. Jones talked about GPS with the San Mateo County (CA) Genealogical Society’s fall meeting a week ago. He did a thorough job of saying where proofs can look real and then not when you discover that the sources were all from a single source — and false.

    It will be interesting to see what the outcome is when the revised standard is released early next year.

    The other topics he discussed were

    Going Beyond Bare Bones: Reconstructing Your Ancestor’s Lives
    Finding “Un-findable” Ancestors
    5 Proven Techniques for Finding Your Ancestors’ European Origins

    Bill Worthington

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