At the Cherokee Ancestry Conference on Saturday I described the critical part of family history research — the evidence — and I identified some resources for understanding how to cite sources. The title of the talk was, “How Do You Know? understanding Evidence and Source Citations,” because we really do need to know what we can believe about ancestors.
I told the attendees that I would be posting some additional information here on the GenealogyClassBlog. I hope that it will be helpful to all genealogy students, whether in attendance at the seminar or not.
Realizing that there are mistakes in online family trees, and even in published genealogies, we discussed the importance of making sure that our work is correct before we share it with others. Standards for Sound Genealogical Research, from the National Genealogical Society, may be found here. Note that the document is in PDF format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader or Apple’s Preview to read it. At this same site, there is a link to download another related document developed by the National Genealogical Society, “Guidelines for Genealogical Self-Improvement and Growth.”
The Genealogical Proof Standard is described at the web site of the Board For Certification of Genealogists. The Genealogical Proof Standard is the current standard genealogists should use in determining whether the evidence supports a conclusion, especially when there is no direct evidence. This page also provides the process you would use to determine how to reach a conclusion based upon the Genealogical Proof Standard.
I would also recommend reading a Skillbuilding article, called “Guidelines for Evaluating Genealogical Resources,” by Linda Woodward Geiger for an explanation of how sources provide the information that becomes our evidence.
I will be presenting this same program for the Tulsa City County Library on Saturday, July 23, but expanded to an hour and a half, beginning at 1:00 pm. Following that lecture, I will be introducing a new program I am calling “Genealogy Using DNA: First Steps” from 2:45 to 4:15.
I will write again soon with links to genealogy blogger discussions about source citations in genealogy software programs and about additional genealogy programs. Here is a link to the downloadable flyer for Family History Month at the Tulsa City County Library. This form will also require Adobe Acrobat Reader or Preview for viewing.