Thursday, June 27, 2013

Clooz and Evidentia

Clooz and Evidentia are two genealogy support programs.  Your genealogy database program focuses on people while Clooz and Evidentia focus on your sources.  The two programs each has its own personality.

Clooz has been around a long time.  It was designed by Liz Kelly Kerstens, CG in the 1990s.   In 2012 it was bought out by Ancestral Systems and they have since made a major update.  Clooz gives you a way to catalog all of your sources. Basically, it is a filing system for your paper and electronic files.  You can sort your documents in several different ways to aid in analyzing them.  You can link your documents to the persons mentioned in the document though the main focus is on the document itself.  One of Clooz’s nifty feature is their “composite view.”  You can find all of the links between people. For example, your person of interest might be the main person on a document or he/she might be listed as a witness or in another capacity.  Seeing who is on what documents with which other people might give you a clue to their relationship.  Clooz also has document templates which assist you with your extraction of data.  Clooz will import data directly from Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic and The Master Genealogist.  It will import data indirectly via a GEDCOM from other programs.  It will also export directly to Legacy Family Tree.   It works very well for one name surname studies where you are gathering many documents that name people you haven’t connected yet.  Clooz has excellent support via their Facebook Page, Mailing List, Rootsweb User Group, User’s Guide and Instructional Videos.  You can really get to know the program before you make your purchase.  The cost is $39.95.  They do offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

Evidentia is a fairly new program developed by Ed Thompson that also catalogs all of your sources but its focus is on the extraction and analysis of the information contained in the documents.  It is based on the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) model.*  The program allows you to classify all of the information on the documents based on the GPS labels.  There is also a place you put your proof argument/proof summary.  One of Evidentia’s strengths is that if you aren’t sure which person the document refers to (more than one person with the same name) you can tag each person pending further analysis.  You can then evaluate all of the evidence you have for a specific person and easily spot anything that is conflicting.  You can also look at all of the documents that pertain to a specific event for your person of interest excluding those documents that don’t pertain to that event.  One thing I particularly like is the capability of making your own citation templates.  I use Legacy Family Tree as my database program but unfortunately some of their templates do not strictly conform to Elizabeth Shown Mill’s Evidence Explained.  Evidentia has Evidence Explained templates but you can modify them or create your own.  Evidentia offers support though its tutorial videos, step-by-step written instructions, support forum, and Facebook Page. Evidentia offers a 30 day free trial.  The cost of the program is $24.99. 

For more information about the GPS, please see the below series of articles:
Step 1 – A Reasonably Exhaustive Search
Step 2 – Complete and Accurate Source Citations
Step 3 – Analysis and Correlation of the Collected Information
Step 4 – Resolution of Any Conflicting Evidence
Step 5 – A Soundly Reasoned, Coherently Written Conclusion
Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Groups

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. michelle- i just came across your 6/2013 review. ashame there isn't more emphasis on genealogy citation. perhaps this will change.

    1. I think it is changing. Genealogists communicate between themselves so much more these days with the internet and now social media. Genealogists also have many more opportunities for continuing education. The word is getting out there that citing your sources really is important :)

  2. Is there any free programs that do what cooz does?

    1. I've not seen anything like it. Maybe someone else will know?

  3. Michelle, what is the sequence of your research process? When do you use Clooz/Evidentia, where are you entering your full citation first and do you only enter it once? I am trying to find the way to do the least amount of steps. I am currently doing the Genealogy Do Over and trying to use the Thomas MacEntee research log and only use Legacy when I have validated the source with the person, but I am hating the multiple steps of citation! Thanks in advance for your insight.

    1. I have only tested Clooz, I don't use it in my personal research. I think it is a good program but it just isn't for me. I have used Evidentia for some limited projects but for the bulk of my research I use a research calendar (log) and I record the citations on it. Depending on the project. I do this in two ways. If I am doing a project for a client I use a traditional research calender very similar to what Thomas uses (Excel spreadsheet). If my client is a genealogist I will include the completed research calendar in their report. My citations are on the research calendar. It is super easy for me to just copy and paste the citations as I need them in the report. If it is my own personal research I record my research calendar tasks in Legacy's To-Do List because Legacy gives me a lot of flexibility with sorting and filtering. This comes in handy when I am going to visit a specific repository. I can sort just for that repository and print out a list of everything I need. It doesn't matter who in my file that task belongs to. The reason I do this differently for clients is that with them I am working on a very specific research goal and everything can go on one research log. In my personal research I am researching a lot of different things at the same time so the sorting and filtering is important for me there.

      Back to Evidentia (and Legacy). You only enter the source citation one time for each source. If you use that source again your citation is already crafted. The only thing you need to add are the specific details for that person.

      In Legacy your sources are in the MASTER SOURCE LIST. In Evidentia they are in the SOURCE LIST. In Legacy, when you want to use one of your sources you simply choose it and then add the detail. You can see everyone that uses that source by clicking on SHOW LIST when you have the Master Source highlighted. In Evidentia, you will have a Citation List (this is the sources with the detail added).

    2. Thanks Michele! I always appreciate your streamed lined approach.

  4. Custodian is a package that originated in 1998, and is now at version 4. Does anyone have experience of it?

  5. Like many people I am struggling to find a system that suits me. at the moment, and i can't see it changing, all my files are of the form year-Occassion-person like 1911-census-peter_merchant. I use Gramps as a database program and it's citations/source/repository I find difficult to get a hang of.
    I have just changed my log to an Excel spreadsheet with four columns:
    1. What am I looking for
    2. What did I find
    3. Where did I find it (may contain Url)
    4. Notes

    I appreciate your writings. Keep up the good work.