Saturday, February 13, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! 7th-13th Feb 2016

FINALLY Get Organized graphic

Blogger DearMYRTLE wants to help genealogists get organized for 2016. She proposes a weekly set of tasks to help us achieve our goal. Ol’ Myrt explains that “Each week's post will feature options for paper and digitally-oriented genealogists, with an eye to the beginner and intermediate researcher.” If you want to participate in this year-long activity, read more about it at FINALLY Get Organized!  

Here’s how I’ve completed this week’s tasks.

Task 1. “Print out and study the synopsis of the GPS Genealogical Proof Standard”.

Printed and studied.

Task 2. “Read the following blog posts, and view the embedded videos”.

I read the blog posts and watched both videos of “What Does She Say?” that Myrt made last summer. To refresh my memory, I also re-read Chapter 1 (Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis) in ESM’s book Evidence Explained. [1]

Myrt says that “From ESM we learn that no source provides definitive proof” and that we need to “look at your own kinship determinations to see where you can find direct sources of information, as opposed to major, principle or key sources”.

I understand that as genealogical researcher, I “can take no record at face value” [2], but I’m confused by the next part of that sentence where I’m asked to “find direct sources of information, as opposed to major, principle or key sources”. Isn’t “direct sources” just another way of saying “major, principle or key sources”?

Task 3. “Make research notes on your to-do list where you now realize your evidence is weak”.

I went over the first four generations in my surname binder (me, my father, his father, and his father) to see if I had any weak evidence and then made notes in my to-do list of what I found. Here is an example:

• Generation 1 (me): I have my birth certificate (short form) and my baptism certificate that show when and where I was born. However, I’ve never requested a copy of my birth registration, which provides more details, including the name of the informant. I’ve decided to order the long form of my birth certificate, because it “is a certified copy of the birth registration”. [3] I can place my order online; the cost is $35 and it should take 15 business days plus delivery time.

As I looked for weak evidence in these four generations, I was surprised to see that I didn’t always cite my sources for my documents. For example, I don’t have source citations for my birth and baptism certificates, as well as those for my father. I also didn’t cite my source for his obituary and I didn’t cite my source for my great-grandfather’s burial certificate (the copy I received from the parish church). I’ve therefore added notes on my to-do list to get these citations done as soon as possible.


1. Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2007), 15-38.

2. Mills, Evidence Explained, 33.

3. Service Ontario ( : accessed 11 February 2016), “Get or replace an Ontario birth certificate”.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

No comments:

Post a Comment