I had started another blog several years ago at http://myfamilyresearchadventures.blogspot.com/, but when google plus ended some how I messed things up and now it is very difficult for me to get into that blog to post. So I decided to start a new blog that I can get to easier.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 4

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/r/mastering_genealogical_proof , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 4
This chapter has to do with source citations.

Dr Jones explains that citations used for academic papers do not always work for genealogists.
Genealogists work with many sources that are not in published book form and some times we work with packets or loose papers. So how do genealogist write citations then. I have always heard the main purpose for the citation is so that some one else can find the source that I used.

Dr Jones states there are 5 things that need to be in a genealogical long-form citation:
  1. Who - meaning who is the author. Not all citations will have a who, if it is records from a court house of archives this may not apply.
  2. What - meaning some kind of source title, this may also include a database title, or a collection of papers.
  3. When - meaning the publishing date, the exact date of viewing it on line, the date of the record (for vital church records). There may be 2 dates if you are citing a birth certificate from an on line database.
  4. Where in the source - meaning the page or image number, the name on the will or land deed, the chapter, etc.
  5. Where is the source found - meaning the URL and name of the web site or database, the library, the court house, your own personal copy, etc.
There is also a short-form citation that is used when referring back to a source you have already used. The short-form citation usually contains the author, the title and the new item detail (a different page number or item of interest)

That is the first part of learning about citations. Dr Jones goes on and says there are 2 ways that you can list citations in your document.

  1. Reference Notes - These are used when you use footnotes or endnotes. Reference notes are used when you are citing each separate fact and use the form described above. This is where you will use both long-form and short-form citations.
  2. Source Lists - These are used when you are doing a Bibliography or listing all the things you have looked at whether you used something from the source. Source Lists help determine if you indeed looked at all the relevant records.
Now with all that I am going to need to practice making citations and will more than likely use short cuts. There are many places you can go and find examples of citations and most software programs have templates for making citations. Also, FamilySearch and Ancestry are providing citations for their records that can be used.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 3

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 , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 3
This chapter has to do with the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) Element 1 or Reasonably Exhaustive Search.

So, how do you know if you did a reasonably exhaustive search?
First, you need to know what you are looking for and what time period and location you will need to search in order to answer your research question. Looking for a birth day in the 1920's is different than looking for the same information in the 1820's.

Dr Jones lists 6 things to consider:

  1. Find at least 2 sources that are independent of each other. Records are independent of each if the individual records were made by different people and/or made for different reasons. A birth record recorded shortly after the birth and a census record would be independent of each other.
  2. Look in a Wiki and see what records might be used. You want to search the common records for the time and location of your research question. Ask yourself "If another genealogist looked at my sources would they suggest another record group?"
  3. Have you located any primary records. A record or records that were made at or near the time of the event. Or have you found an eyewitness account. If you use only secondary records you have a higher chance of coming to a wrong conclusion.
  4. Are you using original records or authored works as your sources? Authored works have more room for error. The further the record is from the original, due to transcribing or translation, the higher the chance of error.
  5. If you used an authored work or an index, did you locate the records used to make them. There is always a possibility that there was a mistake when an index or an abstract was made. I know of a well used abstract that had a wrong relationship. This abstract was used in several authored works with no one tracking down the original will.
  6. After you have done your research, have you looked at any additional suggested by the records you have. For example if the census record indicated your ancestor owned land have you located the land record.
Even after all this you need to keep in mind that later a record may come to light that changes everything.