Friday, February 1, 2013

Genealogical Proof Standard - Intro

The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) is such an important concept I will be devoting five blog posts to this topic covering each of the five points of the standard.  In this intro I am going to give you a basic outline and some resources for more information.  I will then go back over each point more in depth.

So what is the GPS and why should beginner/intermediate researchers worry about it?  In genealogy our main objective is to prove certain things like when and where John Doe was born, who were his parents, who did he marry, who were his children, when and where did he die, etc. Many times you don’t have direct evidence to prove your point and must rely on indirect evidence.  For your answers to these questions to be credible, you must follow a methodical and recognized standard of researching practice.  The GPS is a methodology that ALL researchers can use, not just advanced researchers.  It is sound advice and if you follow these guidelines you will produce quality research and you will break through brick walls. 

According to the Board for Certification of Genealogists, the five elements of the GPS are:

  • a reasonably exhaustive search
  • complete and accurate source citations
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion

Even without me explaining the five parts I am sure you can already see how this would make for better research.  Please don’t be intimidated.  This is a very logical approach that is easy to understand. This series of blogs will give you the basics of what you need to know.   I will be giving you some resources for more in-depth learning. Tomorrow we will look at what a reasonably exhaustive search is.

Genealogical Proof Standard by the Board for Certification of Genealogists
Genealogical Proof Standard podcast by Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG for FamilySearch
Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case by Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. THANK YOU for taking this on - I am looking forward to the details!

  2. This series is aimed at the beginner so it is just an introduction. I think it will make them want to know more so plenty of follow-up resources will be listed. I think that most beginners want to do quality research they just don't know how :)