Saturday, March 03, 2007

GPS for researchers

Ol' Myrt here is working with a newbie researcher on her Nottoway Indian ancestry. Its challenging to explain that "just because it's on the internet or in a book doesn't mean its true."

Where once the professional genealogists used terms such as "primary" and "secondary" to describe the possible reliability of source documents, they now go by the GPS GENEALOGICAL PROOF STANDARD described below:

Element of the GPS &
Contribution to Credibility

Reasonably exhaustive search
-- Assumes examination of a wide range of high quality sources
-- Minimizes the probability that undiscovered evidence will overturn a too-hasty conclusion

Complete and accurate citation of sources
-- Demonstrates the extent of the search and the quality of the sources
-- Allows others to replicate the steps taken to reach the conclusion. (Inability to replicate the research casts doubt on the conclusion.)

Analysis and correlation of the collected information
-- Facilitates sound interpretation of the data contributed by each source
-- Ensures that the conclusion reflects all the evidence

Resolution of conflicting evidence
-- Substantiates the conclusion's credibility. (If conflicting evidence is not resolved, a credible conclusion is not possible.)

Soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion
-- Eliminates the possibility that the conclusion is based on bias, preconception, or inadequate appreciation of the evidence
-- Explains how the evidence led to the conclusion

-- Genealogical Proof Standard - Board for Certification of Genealogists

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE, your friend in genealogy

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