Genealogical Maturity

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Genealogical Maturity is a system of self evaluation and self improvement first proposed by the Ancestry Insider in 2009. The Genealogical Maturity model measures one's understanding and use of the Genealogical Proof Standard. and the associated Evidence Analysis Research Process Map. The model measures improvement in five areas: sources, citations, information, evidence, and conclusions.


The Genealogical Maturity model uses dictionary definitions as much as possible, with clarifications from leading genealogists.

source – 1. the origin that supplies information.[1] 2. “an artifact, book, document, film, person, recording, website, etc., from which information is obtained.”[2]

citation – 1. “citations are statements in which we identify our source or sources for…particular [information].”[3] 2. “a citation states where you found [the cited] piece of information.”[4]

information - 1. “knowledge obtained from investigation.”[5] 2. “the content of a source—that is, its factual statements or its raw data.”[6]

evidence – 1. “something that furnishes proof.”[7] 2. “information that is relevant to the problem.”[8] 3. analyzed and correlated information assessed to be of sufficient quality.[9] 4. “the information that we conclude—after careful evaluation—supports or contradicts the statement we would like to make, or are about to make, about an ancestor.”[10]

conclusion – 1. “a reasoned judgment.”[11] 2. “a decision [that should be] based on well-reasoned and thoroughly documented evidence gleaned from sound research.”[12]

Self Evaluation

The model asks that a person place a check mark next to each of the following statements that describes him or her.











Self Improvement


  1. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, online edition ( : accessed 23 November 2009), “source.”
  2. Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FNGS, FASG, FUGA, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 2nd ed. [hereinafter, EE2] (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009), 828.
  3. Mills, EE2, 42.
  4. Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG, quoted in The Source, ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs, FUGA, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, FUGA, 3rd ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006) p. 24; citing “How Do You Know?” in Producing a Quality Family History (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1996), 117.
  5. Merriam-Webster, “information.”
  6. Mills, EE2, 24.
  7. Merriam-Webster, “evidence.”
  8. Mills, EE2, 822.
  9. Christine Rose,CG, CGL, FASG,, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case (San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2005), 2.
  10. The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual, ed. Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL, FASG, (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2000), 8.
  11. Merriam-Webster, “conclusion.”
  12. Mills, EE2, 820.