Technology Tuesday–Evidentia

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of hosting on of Dear MYRTLE’s “Monday’s with Myrt” webinar series. You know how sometimes timing is everything? That webinar was one of those times. In preparation for that webinar, DearMYRTLE has an “Across My Desk” segment so I had been looking for articles to include. In this case, if found me. A Blog Post by Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana, of The Last Leaf on This Branch. The specific blog post was Technology Tuesday – Pulling Evidence from Thin Paper

She talked about Evidentia, a relatively new software program that may be of use for genealogists. Laura did a great job of explaining how the program worked and why it might be a program to have in our Genealogy Toolbox.

As it would happen, I had a technical problem recording the Webinar. Based on the discussion and feedback, Dear MYRTLE will be hosting a two part Webinar on Evidentia.

So, what IS Evidentia

  • Not a database management system for families / people
  • Had heard of “evidenced based” research
  • Start with a CLAIM
  • Names, Dates, Relationships, etc
  • Each Claim has SUBJECT(s)
  • Quality of Evidence

I had heard some time ago about the need to have an Evidence based genealogy program. Or, rather then entering names and dates into a genealogy database program, you start with a document or record or “evidence”. I wasn’t sure what that meant until I saw were “evidence” in such a source CLAIMS something to be “true”. A census record claims that a person (named) was so many years old at the time that the census was taken. If further CLAIMS that this person was born in a certain state.

So far, we have three (3) claims: name, age, and state of birth.

Here is where Evidentia comes in. You enter the Source of the Claim, there are built in Templates for an appropriate Citation, and you enter the Claims that this source suggests. You are further asked to enter more information about the Quality of the Evidence, and each of the steps that the Genealogical Proof Standard suggests. I am not an expert in this area, but the program has the right questions for me to answer, and provides where to answer them. Its all still a learning curve for me. But it does help move me in the right direction for recording the Evidence that I gather for a specific person.

Here is a link to the Evidentia website: http://evidentia.ed4becky.net/

There are videos to help learn about and how to use the program.

So, I downloaded the free trial version of the program as I have a project that needs something like this.

At Christmas, I was visiting family and one of my nephews “brought” an old “book” that he wanted to show me. It was handed down from his great great great grandmother (I think). So, he allowed me to borrow it.

 

IMG_8635

 

It’s old, about 9” x 13’, and it’s a page numbers “log book”. Mostly Names and dates. The inside cover has writing about the “author”, the best that I can tell, and newspaper clippings.

 

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The first number of pages are information that might be found on Family Group Sheets. The names, birth dates, death dates, you can visually see relationships. Of course, none of it has any citations. The newspaper clipping that are scattered throughout this 300 page book have the date of the newspaper, nor newspaper name. Pretty useless, one might say.

Knowing many of the surnames throughout this book, clearly the people named in this “log book” lived is Chester County, Pennsylvania. But, there are some great pieces of data. I would NOT want to enter any of this into my genealogy database. BUT there might be hints that I haven’t seen before.

I have started to entering the Claims that this Source has to offer, and I am citing that this claim came from this log book. I have no clue IF any of this data will end up in my genealogy database, but I suspect it will. For example, the young man’s great great grandfather is listed.

There are about 40 pages of family listings, then for the next 150 pages are names and dates. Toward the end of the book are 5 interesting entries:

  • Weather
  • Cyclones
  • Earthquakes
  • Explosions
  • Fires

Page 286 has an entry “Earthquake Oct. 9, 9:30am, 1871

Page 287 A Darlington’s House burnt – Dec 25, 1888

Hey, that’s one of mine.

Page 78 – William L Howard, Newtown, May 4, 1881 – Kicked by a horse Age 50

Page 72 – Pres. William (James) A Garfield, Wash, aged 50, Sept 19 1881 (shot by Chas Julius Guitan. C Guitan hung June 30, 1882 at Wash at 12:35 pm

What about this newspaper clipping: Malvern Man Killed in Own Garage By Carbon Monoxide; William H Hicks, 37, is victim of fatal fumes, inhaled while placing new tags on car – Body is found in kneeling position by his wife. (hand written note: Jan 9 1931), but it’s between pages 92 and 93. The placement of this article, in this logbook doesn’t make any sense, but that’s where I found it and will leave it there.

Because of all of the potential data in this book, knowing that it will be returned, I want the data captured somewhere. I want to evaluate the data BEFORE any of it is placed into my database.

This log book, to me, is like a compiled genealogy. You know the books without Citations or Source information?

I will then look at my database and see who might the logbook entry be referring to in my database. IF I have a match, after evaluating the evidence (claims) I’ll enter the information into my database.

I have several family Bibles what are in the same condition, where I don’t want to handle them, but want to capture the Claims that are included to data entry later IF it applies.

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4 Responses to Technology Tuesday–Evidentia

  1. Betty Taylor says:

    This sounds interesting. It would probably be a big help to me. I really haven’t gotten into the habit of documenting like I should.

    Betty

    • Betty,

      Please give it a try. I have been documenting my information, but this application takes my documentation on the next level. Meaning, to really analyze the data that I do have and point out that I might have more work to do.

      Thank you and good luck,

      Russ

  2. Janice Moore Cronan says:

    Russ,
    I use Ancestry.com and they have a place to enter the source material. In what way would this software help me?
    Thanks, Janice

    • Janice,

      Great question.

      The difference between Ancestry, or any other genealogy database management program, is that they are Name driven, while Evidentia is Source Driven. You can start with a Name, or you can start with a Document. It’s a different way of researching, or for me, another Tool in my research toolkit.

      Yes, Ancestry.com provides for citing your sources. However, if you have multiple Birth Facts in Ancestry, you have no way to really look at the Birth events / facts in ONE PLACE, nor does it offer you a way to Evaluate what you have.

      Evidentia STARTS with Source information, provides for you to evaluated each Claim (Fact) and it’s citations, then offers you a place to document your conclusions.

      I am working on a couple of follow up posts now, to explain more.

      Please stop by the Evidentia website to see what it can do.

      Hope that helps,

      Russ

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