Public Service Announcement: Charlie asked if there was a pdf available of the entire 18 Days with Sherlock series that I did back in Sep and Oct of 2012. I didn’t have one so I put one together. Please forgive any formatting issues you might find. Taking it from the blog to a pdf isn’t an exact science. When I have time I will go back and redo the entire thing.
18 Days with Sherlock
After the series I did on the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), I received quite a few questions which I will split over a couple of days.
”WOW! I am a bit overwhelmed! I can really see just how important this is but I can’t imagine doing this for every fact in my file. How do you do this?”
The GPS is used for facts that do not have a direct evidence source or for a fact that has conflicting evidence. If you have a death certificate for someone then you have direct evidence of their death date. If you have a marriage certificate you have direct evidence of the marriage between two specific people on a specific date. You would use the GPS for things like “Is John Doe the son of James Doe?” when there has been no document found that specifically states that John is the son of James. If you have a will that states, “to my son John” that is direct evidence of the relationship. In that case you might still need to prove that YOUR John is in fact the John that is identified as the son of James in the will using the GPS. You may have direct evidence but also have other direct evidence that is conflicting. In those cases you would need to apply the GPS. For example, let’s say you have a Bible entry for John Doe that gives his date of birth as 04 Jan 1850. You also have the 1900 census that has Apr 1854 and you have his death certificate that has 02 Jan 1851. All of these provide direct evidence but you have a problem. You will have to weigh each piece of evidence and write up your conclusion. Just remember, even if you have direct evidence it could be wrong.
[Edited to add: The GPS should be used for every fact in your file. My answer to the above question was talking more about case studies and I didn’t make that clear. You do not need to write up a formal case study for every fact. Case studies are used for the more complex cases so that you can explain how you came to the conclusion that you did. The case studies you read in journals such as the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) are examples of the more involved and complex case studies. I added this paragraph in response to Michael Hait’s comment below. He was correct when he said the GPS should be used for every conclusion.]
”You said to write it up in a word processor and then attach it to your computer file. I use Legacy and there are notes fields. Can I write up the summaries there?”
Of course you can. The only problem you will have are with the footnotes. In the general and research notes fields you can attach sources but you can’t attach them within the text itself. In other words, you will have a list of sources that you used but you won’t be able to tell what sources go with what. Your other option is to write it up in a word processor complete with footnotes and then copy and paste it into one of the note fields but you will have some major formatting issues. It is just easier to type it up nicely in a word processor and then attach the file to the person in Legacy. You can make a notation in one of the notes field showing that you do have a proof argument attached.
”Do you really discount the 1850-1870 census because they don’t list relationships?”
I don’t discount the censuses at all. All I am saying is that these censuses do not give direct evidence of the relationships between the people within the household and you should research further to find other evidence of the relationship. I have quite a few examples in my own file of minor children in a household that were not the children of the head.
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis