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This is the syllabus for one of a series of classes taught by Robert Raymond and represents his private opinions. Suggestions for changes should be made on this page's Discussion page.

Contents

Baby Steps

“Baby steps” is a system of self evaluation and self improvement. It focuses on five aspects of the evidence analysis process: sources, information, evidence, conclusions, and citations.

The Research Process
This class is about sources.


Where does sources fall in the evidence analysis process?[1] From sources we find information. From information we select evidence. From evidence we make conclusions. Our conclusions contain citations. And citations point back to our sources.


Read through the following table to see how a person might typically improve over time in their use of sources. Think about which level best describes you. At the conclusion of the class, set a goal to improve as explained in “Genealogical Maturity.”

# Maturity Level Sources Check
1. Entry Typically relies on compiled genealogies.
2. Emerging Mostly relies on compiled genealogies and online sources.
3. Practicing Uses a limited number of record types and repositories. Mostly relies on online and microfilmed sources.
4. Proficient Uses a wide variety of record types. Often contacts record custodians to obtain copies of high-quality sources.
5. Stellar Insightfully pursues research at multiple, targeted repositories, making use of a plethora of record types. "Burned counties" are not roadblocks.

Sources

INSERT REMAINDER OF SYLLABUS HERE

Summary

...

Using the table at the start of this handout, and using what you learned in class today, set a small, baby step improvement goal. See Genealogical Maturity for more information.

Continuing Education

Advancing from level to level requires continuing education. Avail yourself of these resources:

Recommended Books about Sources, Information, Evidence, Conclusions, and Citations.

  • Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, 3rd edition. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990. In particular, see chapter 4.
  • Leary, Helen F. M., ed. North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History. 2nd edition. Raleigh: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996. The first section is applicable to research anywhere. Because of the cost, I recommend this book only for those doing research in southern states.
  • Merriman, Brenda. Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Family Historians. 3rd edition. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2010. Lacks an index.
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997. Not as good as Evidence Explained, but cheaper.
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown Mills. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Second edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009. For the evidence analysis process, read the 26 pages of chapter 1.
  • Rose, Christine. Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case. 3rd revised edition. San José, California: CR Publications, 2009.
  • Rose, Christine and Kay Germain Ingalls. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy. 2nd edition. New York: Alpha Books, 2005.
  • Rubincam, Milton. Pitfalls in Genealogical Research. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1987.
  • Stevenson, Noel C. Genealogical Evidence: A Guide to the Standard of Proof, revised edition. Laguna Hills : Aegean Park Press, 1989. The use of legal terminology is outdated, but the research methodology is still good.
  • Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, editors. The Source. Third edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006.


Notes

  1. Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Analysis: A Research Process Map, laminated study guide (Washington, D.C.: Board for Certification of Genealogists, 2006).

 

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