2013 Docu-Challenge #1: English Parish Register Marriage Entry–Part 4 Marriage Summary Conclusion

Dear MYRTLE, in a series of Webinar’s and Google+ Hangouts has been discussing the software program Evidentia. We were to use the Evidentia Software and participate in a Docu-Challenge as outlined here:
2013 Docu-Challenge #1: English Parish Register Marriage Entry

I have made three earlier blog posts on this challenge.

2013 Docu-Challenge #1: English Parish Register Marriage Entry–Part 1 Data Entry

2013 Docu-Challenge #1: English Parish Register Marriage Entry–Part 2 First Step in Analysis

2013 Docu-Challenge #1: English Parish Register Marriage Entry–Part 3 Revisit Source

Part 4 is to now really review and do our analysis of the claims in this online source.

The first will be to look at William Warren and what this document claims. Going to the Analyze Evidence, from the pull down arrow selecting William Warren and the Marriage Claim


we see the following:


The  Assertion is in the left column, we select the Evidence Quality, and if we double click in the Analysis box a mini-editor will appear. Because William Warren would have been present at his marriage, the Evidence Quality I selected as Direct.


There were 4 Assertions to which I added my analysis.

1) William Warren and Sarah Bickle were married under the Banns of marriage on 30 Oct 1833, in the Parrish of Warrington (Werrington), county of Devon in Cronwell, England

NOTE: It’s not clear to me if it’s Warrington or Werrington)

2) William Warren and Sarah Bickle were married by Thomas Waddon Martyn, Curate, in the Parish of Warrington (Werrington), county of Devon in Cronwell, England


3) The marriage record of William Warren and Sarah Bickle was signed by William Warrant, but signed with an “X” by Sarah Bickle, as indicated on the record

4) William Bickle and Daniel Prior were present at the marriage of William Warren and Sarsh Bickle

Once that is saved (Save Proof) the Summary Conclusion was entered.


William Warren and Sarah Bickle were married under the Banns of Marriage on 30 Oct 1833, in the Parish of Warrington (Werrington), county of Devon, in Cronwell, England, by Thomas Waddon Martyn, Curate. William Bickle and Daniel Prior were present at the marriage. Sarah Bickle and Daniel Prior signed the document with an “X”, with the words “the mark of” the persons name, while William Warren and William Bickle signed their name.

Again, the Proof was saved.

Not shown above, is that I added the date at the beginning of the Summary Conclusion, as I have only looked at ONE Source. When (or IF) I find additional sources on their marriage, I would update the Summary Conclusion, based on the new evidence.

Evidentia provides an HTML Summary Report. Selecting Reports, in the pull down menu, the Proof for the Marriage of William Warren, that was just completed, select the Font I want in the report and the Preparer’s Name.


The report is then generated. Due to the length, it will be in 3 screen captures.




This completes the first four (of six) tasks in this Challenge.


17 Responses to 2013 Docu-Challenge #1: English Parish Register Marriage Entry–Part 4 Marriage Summary Conclusion

  1. rjseaver says:

    Thanks for going through all of this – it’s very useful to see it done step by step.

    What I notice is that the GPS definitions of Sources, information and Evidence are not followed exactly. Actually – not even close!

    The marriage record is an image copy of an ORIGINAL Source (not a Primary Source). Unaltered image copies are treated as ORIGINAL sources.

    The informant is the celebrant, so this is PRIMARY information since the informant was present for the event and recorded it soon after the event.

    The names, date and place are explicitly given, so this is DIRECT evidence that the event occurred.

    The person making the record is not a Source, the record is the source. The person making the record is the Informant.

    Information is not classified as Direct or Indirect – Evidence is.

    There were not four sources to support the claim of a marriage – there was only one source, the Cornwall PR collection. You created 4 separate claims for the marriage, but they are for the marriage itself, the celebrant, their signatures, and the witnesses. All of those are important, but they do not provide 4 pieces of evidence of the marriage. The claims I see on the document are for:

    1) the names of the marriage parties, the date and the location;
    2) the name of the celebrant who performed the ceremony
    3) the literacy level of the bride and groom – can they write their own names?
    4) the names of the witnesses.

    Only the first claim supports the claim that William Warren and Sarah Bickle were married – the other information is useful and supportive, but not critical to the question “when and where were William Warren and Sarah Bickle married?”

    While I admire the effort to make a program that tries to analyze sources, information and evidence, I think that it is not ready for prime time yet.

    For this program to “sell” in genealogy circles it needs to embody the GPS principles and write consistent reports that make sense.

    • Randy,

      Thank you so much for your comments. Much to ponder, which I will do shortly.

      Your comments are greatly appreciated.


      • rjseaver says:

        Russ, please understand that i’m not criticizing you or your effort to add data to the program, but I am criticizing the program itself.

        When Evidentia first came out, I made comments like that to the creator of the program, who said that he would fix things to comply with the GPS. Obviously, that hasn’t happened yet. My concern is that users will be turned off by the non-GPS terminology, or worse, will use the program thinking that it is GPS compliant.

    • jennylanctot says:

      Randy, I agree that some of the wording on the reports needs revising (and I have done so to my own proof report in a blog post that will be published momentarily). However, 90% of what you have addressed here relates to the way the data is entered into the program – not the program itself. The tooltips in the program, which are there to guide the researcher along the analysis process according to the GPS, state precisely what you have stated here.

      I also used “image copy” for my source type – and that is because I did not look at the actual original marriage register. I was looking at a digital image on a website. Granted, it isn’t likely to change the weight I give to my source, but I still believe it’s proper to note that I was not viewing the actual original.

      • Jenny,

        Thank you for your comments. I think we have seen that the developer of Evidentia is listening to what each of us are sayings. Wording was one item he has mentioned on Google+.

        Again, Thank you,


  2. ed4becky says:

    Randy I don’t understand your comments.

    I agree, a source is not Primary or Secondary, the informant is. If you look on the Source tab under Provenance, you see that the focus is on identifying the Source as Original as derived. There are several options to guide the user, but its clear that the goal is to identify a source as original or derived.

    On the Claim screen the Info quality leads you to identify the informant of the information as Primary, having direct knowledge, or secondary, meaning their knowledge was not first hand.

    The final qualifier on the Analyze Evidence screen leads you to identify the Evidence as direct or indirect i.e. clearly stating the claim or implying it, with a nod to negative Evidence (also indirect).

    I do not see how what you are saying and what the program is doing as different. Help me understand!

    When I said I would fix it, I then went back and looked at what it said, and it still seemed correct to me. I renamed ‘source quality’ as ‘provenance’ because that made sense – it was not about quality it is about you are identifying the path of the source from its original. Beyond that I saw us saying exactly the same thing.

    Can you point out specifically where we differ? I value your input.


  3. […] I choose the font I’d like to use for my report, then click “Generate Report.”  Evidentia creates an HTML document incorporating all the steps I took to reach my conclusion.  Please note that I have copied and pasted my report into Word to edit some of the verbiage to conform with GPS, as Randy Seaver noted in the comments on Russ Worthington’s blog post here. […]

  4. ed4becky says:

    I have been working on improvements for the last 2 months and a new release due out next week address some of Randy’s concerns.

    I feel I need to point out that the line that currently says “4 sources were consider…” has been updated in the next release to indicate “4 assertions from 1 source were consider…”.

    The above citations were clearly from the same source (though the assertions as noted were different), and the regrettable error in wording may lead one to believe more sources support the final argument than have actually been considered.

    The next release will hopefully be available next week with many other enhancements as well and is free to all registered users of Evidentia.

    • Ed,

      Thank you for your comments.

      It is my hope, that this new user of Evidentia, and NOT completely knowledgeable about GPS has not created confusion on the Blog. I am very new to your program and still in the earlier stages of understanding the Genealogical Proof Standard.

      Clearly, to me at least, Evidentia is causing me to re-think how I work with the information that I might find in my research. I am on the upward part of the learning curve on both.


  5. dearmyrtle says:

    I think Randy’s comments are somewhat justified, but what he fails to see is that Evidentia is the first program that “forces” a genealogist to look at what is inferred and what is directly stated in a document.

    Evidentia is the first program that takes a variety of claims (assertions) from one or more sources, and brings them to the researcher’s attention for analysis.

    Evidentia is the first program to take our analysis and attempt to correlate this into a summary report.

    These are quite simply not options available in our typical “fill in the blank” genealogy management software.

    It’s a little fix to rearrange wording on a summary report, and the software developer has worked months with beta-testers to tweak the program.

    By working through a series of DearMYRTLE Docu-Challenges with Evidentia, we shall move the discussion to a broader audience.

    From this, the software developer will be able to make additional refinements to the program.

    Randy, lets not make sweeping statements expressing serious doubts, when what we’ve got is:

    — unusual software
    — an even more unusually responsive software developer.

    Otherwise, my dear friend Randy, we may find software developers will stop designing in the genealogy genre.

    How we WISH, for instance, that Ancestry.com would be this responsive!

    TOGETHER, we can accomplish much.

    • Dear MYRTLE,

      Thank you for your comments.

      I am still on a learning curve with this program and the whole Genealogical Proof Standard way of thinking. I hope that my blog post has not clouded the issue.

      Thanks you for the Challenge.


  6. dearmyrtle says:

    I think it’s perfect that Russ did not edit the summary report, so we could see how the program could be tweaked. I also think Its perfect that Jenny tweaked her summary report so we can see the adaptability of Evidentia. I particularly liked the “astronaut” comment.

    Evidentia is leading us to water (the GPS water) but it cannot make us drink.

    It takes a LOT to get genealogists to switch from “fill in the blank” genealogy, to evidence analysis.

    All of this is a perfect prelude to Tom Jones’ MASTERING GENEALOGICAL PROOF. It has a workbook component.

    • Dear MYRTLE,

      Thank you for your comments. I know that this Docu-Challenge is causing my to rethink, as you suggest, from filling in the blanks, to doing analysis on the data I have and find.

      Thank you for the Challenge.


  7. Russ, etal, Well, I’m terribly sorry that I’ve been away and unable to participate in this amazing exercise. My entire reason for being so excited about this software is that it is the FIRST of its kind to even attempt to make the Genealogical Proof Standard known and even remotely understandable to researchers who are unfamiliar with it. Is the software perfect? Heck no, but the developer dove in head-first when Ol’ Myrt started these discussions and he’s working to update it. Again, there is no software out there, that I’ve been aware of, that’s sole purpose is to assist in ANALYZING the evidence (note, I didn’t use the word ‘information’…I learned that through the use of this software) we glean from the sources we gather in our research. There is a reason that the first workshop webinar was SRO…there are so many family historians and genealogists who WANT to do their research right, but for whom the jargon of our Industry is still just jargon. I was a hobbyist for 15 years; I worked on my own to locate information to fill in my database of family history information. I didn’t even know the GPS existed. At least this software attempts to educate us and make us better at analyzing our ancestors before we commit them to our trees. For that, I’m very thankful.

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