A researcher acquires sources, extracts information, identifies evidence, and analyzes all in all to reach a defensible conclusion. This is a genealogist’s research process. This is the standard a genealogist uses to “prove” a conclusion.
Evidence Management consists of the methods and tools a researcher uses throughout the research process to gather, track, and apply evidence.
Just as individuals grow in genealogical maturity, so too does software. This series of articles examines the maturity of evidence management on the Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org websites. Software vendors are the primary audience for this series. It will be quite technical, so some of you will have to bear with me. If I simplify it too much, I run the risk of miscommunication to the vendors. Hang with me, I have some lighter fare planned for the future.
|The Evidence Management diagram shows the distinction that should exist between source tracking, evidence summaries, conclusions, and people in a genealogy programs. |
As new articles are published, I will add links to this table of contents:
- Source tracking
- Evidence summaries
- Conclusion support
- “Genealogist or Gossip” – Table comparing vendor support for conclusion entry
- How Close Are They?
- “The Evidence Architecture of the New FamilySearch Tree” – Walk through an example showing how close the New FamilySearch Tree comes to true evidence management
- “Evidence Management and Ancestry.com Member Trees” – One feature of Ancestry.com Member Trees uses the same organization as an Evidence Summary. Another is Ancestry.com's Conclusion Interface.
To learn more about evidence, the research process, and the genealogist’s standard of proof, start with these sources.
Mills, Elizabeth Shown, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA. “Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis.” Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Second edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009). Pages 13-38.
———. Evidence Analysis: A Research Process Map. Laminated study guide. Washington, D.C.: Board for Certification of Genealogists, 2006. I haven’t personally used this source, but I understand it is a separate publication of the diagram inside the front cover of Evidence Explained.
———. “Working with Historical Evidence: Genealogical Principles and Standards.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly [issue titled Evidence: A Special Issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly] 87 (September 1999): 165-84.
Rose, Christine,CG, CGL, FASG. Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2005.
Tucker, Mark. “Genealogy Research Process Map.” ThinkGenealogy: Genealogy, Software, Ideas, and Innovation, 10 July 2008. http://www.thinkgenealogy.com : accessed 23 May 2010.