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.
evidence – 1. “something that furnishes proof.” 2. “information that is relevant to the problem.” 3. analyzed and correlated information assessed to be of sufficient quality. 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.”
The model asks that a person place a check mark next to each of the following statements that describes him or her.
|1.||Entry||Typically relies on compiled genealogies.|
Typically relies on compiled genealogies.
Mostly relies on compiled genealogies and online sources.
Uses a limited number of record types and repositories. Mostly relies on online and microfilmed sources.
Uses a wide variety of record types. Often contacts record custodians to obtain copies of high-quality sources.
Insightfully pursues research at multiple, targeted repositories, making use of a plethora of records and record types. "Burned counties" are not roadblocks.
Captures URLs for online sources and citations for published sources.
Increasingly captures necessary information for manuscript sources.
Typically produces complete source citations.
Gives complete and accurate source citations including provenance and quality assessment.
Overcomes limitations of genealogical software to create well organized, industry standard reference notes and source lists.
Typically does not realize the need to judge information quality and has no basis for doing so.
Emerging realization that information quality differs. Muddles evaluation by thinking of primary/secondary sources instead of primary/secondary information, leading to muddled evaluation when sources contain both.
Judges information by source type, informant knowledge, and record timing. Applies "primary/secondary" to information instead of sources.
Additionally, learns history necessary to recognize and evaluate all explicit information in a source.
Additionally, utilizes implicit information in a source. Finds information in cases like illegitimacy that stump most researchers.
Limited understanding of evidence and the role it plays. Typically ignores conflicting evidence.
Captures direct, supporting evidence and increasingly depends upon it.
Additionally, captures directly conflicting evidence.
Additionally, recognizes and captures indirect, supporting evidence.
Additionally, recognizes and captures indirect, conflicting evidence.
In the absence of analysis, reaches conclusions by instinct.
Learning to evaluate the quality of sources, information, and evidence. Emerging ability to resolve minor discrepancies.
Additionally, resolves conflicting evidence or uses it to disprove prevalent opinion. Usually applies correct identity to persons mentioned in sources.
Additionally, when necessary creates soundly reasoned, coherently documented conclusions utilizing direct and indirect evidence.
Additionally: Publishes clear and convincing conclusions. Teaches and inspires others.
- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, online edition (www.m-w.com : accessed 23 November 2009), “source.”
- 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.
- Mills, EE2, 42.
- 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.
- Merriam-Webster, “information.”
- Mills, EE2, 24.
- Merriam-Webster, “evidence.”
- Mills, EE2, 822.
- Christine Rose,CG, CGL, FASG,, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case (San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2005), 2.
- 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.
- Merriam-Webster, “conclusion.”
- Mills, EE2, 820.