Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia) : National Genealogical Society, (2013), 6. Book available from Publisher at: www.ngsgenealogy.orgChapter 1 - Homework
1. What is genealogy?
In Dr. Jones own words, it is a research field concerned primarily with accurately reconstructing forgotten or unknown identities and familial relationship in the past and present.
In my own words, it involves all of the family history involved in genealogical research. Some may only want to do a straight-line pedigree, but I feel that it encompasses more than that, for most of our ancestors were not only children. They came from families, they had siblings, many had extended family living with them or near them, and many suffered tragedies.
And, most importantly, it involves being able to source the information that is found. If it is not properly cited, it is legend.
2. What are the GPS's five elements?
- Thorough searches in sources that might help reliably answer a research question.
- Informative citations to the sources of every information item contributing to the research question's answer.
- Analysis and comparison of the related sources.
- Resolution of any conflicts between evidence and the proposed answer to the research question.
- A written statement, list or narrative supporting the answer.
3. You have shared your family history with someone who wants you to omit all the proof statements, proof summaries and proof arguments, including explanations of reasoning and documentation. How do you reply?
Again, it becomes a genealogy based on legend, and thus, no credibility.
Just as there are standards in the genealogy world, we must also adhere to the standards we have set for ourselves. Once our undocumented work becomes public and is 'out there', there's no retrieving it. It may have information added to it or taken away from it. It can perpetuate from one internet site to another, and from one vertical file in a small library to a home across the country.
4. Why can't a genealogical conclusion be partially proved?
Each of the five parts depend on the other, even though discovery may come in a different order.
5. What is the first step in genealogical research?
In my own opinion, it is a careful perusal of what has already been researched, either by myself or others. Then, I determine which direction I need to go to establish proven relationships, military service, residency, etc.