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, June 4, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 5

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 5
GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation

This chapter has to do with Analyzing a record to determine how accurate it is. It also has to do with compering two or more records to come up with a conclusion.

Analyzing: There are two things you need to consider when analyzing a record: 1) What kind of a record is it? and 2) What kind of information is given?

What kind of a record is it helps determine whether you need to look further or not. A record can be:
  1. Original, meaning that the record is at its earliest state. This may be the actual record or an unaltered copy of the actual record.
  2. Derivative, meaning it can be an index, abstract, transcription or some other form of the original record, but it is not in the original form. You should try and locate the original if at all possible because a derivative record has a chance of having errors and may also contain additional information.
  3. Authored work, meaning a compilation of information some one has gathered and put together. The work may or may not contain source citations. If the work has no source citations than its accuracy is questionable.
What kind of information is given?
  1. Primary is where the person giving the information is not only a witness, but also the record was made at or near the time of the event. This is the most accurate, but you need to consider the length of time between when the event occurred and when it was recorded.
  2. Secondary is also referred to as hearsay. It is when someone who was not at the event is providing the information. A person giving his birth date is secondary, because he was to young to know the date. The person is going by what he was told by those who were present for his birth.
  3. Indeterminate is where you do not know who gave the information like in an obituary and census.
My biggest challenge analyzing a record is that I look at the whole record instead of just looking for one piece of information. For example a death certificate can have direct and indirect information and it can also contain both primary and secondary information. So I have problems when analyzing the record on how to separate these things out.

Correlation is where you compare and contrast all the records you have found for one event. Dr Jones gives several examples of ways you can correlate records.

  1. Use a table
  2. Make a list
  3. Make a timetable
  4. Draw a map

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