Friday, August 14, 2015

Homework Questions - 21 Aug 2015 What Does SHE Say? Study Group

Following our lively discussion today, archived here, we're gearing up for next week's study group session with the following homework questions. Remember our goal is to have:
Panelists and community participants share specific, real-life scenarios as we consider assimilation of concepts in EE3 to improve research outcomes. 


Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd edition (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015). [Book available from the publisher at and in digital format from the author's website]
The author hereafter referred to as ESM.

The book hereafter referred to as EE3.
Homework Guidelines

Friday, 21 Aug 2015 - EE - Chapter 1 Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis (continued)
Please answer your choice of at least half of the following questions, being careful to include  one or two specific examples from your research. Homework may be submitted via a blog or Google Doc, with the link posted as a comment here.

Focus Statement
“Textual analysis is the cornerstone of all research into historical matters.” (See EE3 - 1.30)

Expanding on last week’s Research Process Map discussion, let’s revisit a few points:
  • ESM’s reference to Sherlock Holmes when it comes to negative evidence.
  • Three things essential to a conclusion.
  • Key elements when arranging a proof argument.

Problematic Concepts
  1. Can any source be definitive, without error? Describe a specific research scenario where this concept has impacted your research. (Hilary’s ancestral birth record comes to mind. I’m sure she will re-share it here.)
  2. Describe ESM’s distinction between direct as opposed to major, principal and key sources?
  3. What is meant by finding “the source of the source” ? Describe this concept’s contribution to the integrity of our compiled genealogies. How this proved challenging in your research?
  4. Describe one of several rules (See: EE3 - 1.20 and 1.21) that may throw your research on an erroneous tangent.
  5. Participate in a discussion about processed record formats during our study group session. There are benefits as well as cautions to be considered.
  6. Courts accept certified copies of original records, why does ESM believe certified copies may diminish reliability? What’s the alternative?
  7. Describe how testing contextual statements  and comparing assertions has solved one of your research challenges.
  8. What role should veracity and skill of the creator of a record play in our analysis?
  9. ESM speaks to the motivation of an informant. Does it make a difference whether the information is provided in a sworn statement or a personal memoir?
  10. Describe your reaction to ESM’s discussion about language characteristics, the physical characteristics of the document and penmanship when analyzing its place and assembling evidence for your written conclusion?
  11. Popular television programs mention the chain of custody say, for instance, in a court case. What is ESM’s take on this subject? (In your own words, of course!)
  12. What does ESM mean by a record's degree of processing?
  13. If “timeliness can be a critical factor in weighing the accuracy of information within a document” (See EE3 - 1.40) what impact can this have on your specific research scenario?
  14. Why is a source description not a one-time effort but part of our ongoing research process?
  15. What part of EE3 Chapter 1 still concerns you?

Friday, 21 Aug 2015
Noon Eastern US (New York)

11am Central US (Chicago)

10am Mountain US (Denver, Salt Lake City)

9am Pacific US (Los Angeles)

If you need a time zone converter, here's one DearMYRTLE recommends:


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Myrt :)
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