“Everyone tracing a family’s history faces a dilemma. We strive to reconstruct relationships and lives of people we cannot see, but if we cannot see them, how do we know we have portrayed them accurately? Is determining ancestry that predates living people’s memory just guesswork? Or do we blindly trust every source we examine and ignore inconsistencies?” This quote from the back cover of Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, VA: National Genealogical Society, 2013) by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, is at the heart of genealogical research. How do you know that what you know constitutes “proof”?
Tom Jones’ course, “Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard” will explore all aspects of this question by using the GPS and his Mastering Genealogical Proof book as guides. Classmates will participate in discussions and exercises on what constitutes evidence, how to craft source citations, how to analyze and correlate evidence pieces and resolve the conflicts that are bound to arise. With all this work, “proof” is not tested until it is written down and shared, acting like an argument to an unseen jury explaining your thought process and conclusions. This proof argument or statement and conclusion are gifts to future generations who won’t have to wonder, “where did they get that?” Think–if our family researcher predecessors had done the same for us, we wouldn’t have to redo their work or wonder “where did they get that?”
This course will be offered June 28 to July 3, 2015, at La Roche College in Pittsburgh at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). Registration opens Wednesday, February 4 at noon Eastern. This course has sold out within minutes in previous offerings which shows the wide interest in learning how to do research correctly the first time, saving time and money.