Mastering Genealogical Proof
Mastering Genealogical Proof
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Product #: NGS21

 Product Information:

Mastering Genealogical Proof; by Thomas W. Jones; Soft Cover; 8.5x11; xii+178 pp; ISBN: 9781935815075; Published: 2013; Item #: NGS21

As a unique textbook on genealogical methods and reasoning in the twenty-first century, Mastering Genealogical Proof guides readers in acquiring genealogical skills transcending chronological, ethnic, geopolitical, and religious boundaries.

About the Book and Author

Mastering Genealogical Proof aims to help researchers, students, and new family historians reconstruct relationships and lives of people they cannot see. It presents content in digestible chunks. Each chapter concludes with problems providing practice for proficiently applying the chapter’s concepts. Those problems, like examples throughout the book, use real records, real research, and real issues. Answers are at the back of the book along with a glossary of technical terms and an extensive resource list.

Thomas W. Jones, who has pursued his family history since he was fifteen, is an award-winning genealogical researcher, writer, editor, and educator.


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Genealogy’s Standard of Proof
    • What is genealogy?
    • Why a genealogical proof standard?
    • The Genealogical Proof Standard
    • Modern technologies and genealogical proof
    • Research and reasoning cycles
    • Using the GPS
    • Chapter 1 exercises
  • Chapter 2: Concepts Fundamental to the GPS
    • Research questions
    • Sources
      • Categories of genealogical sources
      • Importance of source distinctions
    • Information
      • Informants
      • Categories of genealogical information
      • Importance of information distinctions
      • Relationship of sources and information
      • Evidence
        • Categories of genealogical evidence
        • Importance of evidence distinctions
      • Relationship of sources and information to evidence
      • Chapter 2 exercises
    • Chapter 3: GPS Element 1: Thorough Research
      • What “reasonably exhaustive” means
      • Planning thorough research
      • Executing thorough research
      • Demonstrating research extent
      • Chapter 3 exercises
    • Chapter 4: GPS Element 2: Source Citations
      • Citation components
        • Five questions that citations answer
        • Physical sources viewed as images
        • Sequencing citation elements
      • Kinds of citations
        • Reference notes
        • Source lists
      • When and how to craft a citation
      • Resources for citing genealogical sources
      • Chapter 4 exercises
    • Chapter 5: GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation
      • Tests of analysis
        • Authored work or original or derivative record?
        • Primary, secondary, or indeterminable information?
        • Other tests of analysis
      • Tests of correlation
        • Prerequisite to correlation
        • Ways to correlate
      • When to analyze and correlate
      • Outcomes of analysis and correlation
        • Casting doubt
        • Resolve conflicts
        • Yield conclusions
      • Chapter 5 exercises
    • Chapter 6: GPS Element 4: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence
      • How evidence conflicts
      • Resolving conflicting evidence
        • Reasoning
        • Explaining conflict resolutions
      • Unresolved conflicts
      • Assembling evidence to establish a conclusion
      • Chapter 6 exercises
    • Chapter 7: GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion
      • Proof statements
      • Proof summaries
      • Proof arguments
        • Differences between proof arguments and proof summaries
        • Divisions within proof arguments
        • Developing the argument
      • Clear writing
      • Chapter 7 exercises
    • Chapter 8 Using the GPS
      • Chapter 8 exercises
    • Chapter 9 Conclusion
    • Appendix A Pritchett Article
    • Appendix B McLain Article
    • Glossary
    • Reading and Source List
    • Answers to exercises
      • Chapter 1 exercise answers
      • Chapter 2 exercise answers
      • Chapter 3 exercise answers
      • Chapter 4 exercise answers
      • Chapter 5 exercise answers
      • Chapter 6 exercise answers
      • Chapter 7 exercise answers
      • Chapter 8 exercise answers
    • List of Tables
      • Table 1 Suggestions for Identifying Sources to Answer Genealogical Questions
      • Table 2 Selected Guides Describing American Genealogical Sources
      • Table 3 Long-Form and Short-Form Reference-Note Citations to the Same Source
      • Table 4 Selected Documented Examples of Errors in High-Quality Sources
      • Table 5 Correlation in a Narrative and a List
      • Table 6 Timeline Separating the Identities of Men Named John Geddes in the Same Irish Parish
      • Table 7 A Table Correlating Sources, Information, and Evidence
      • Table 8 Seven Related Proof Statements in Context
    • List of Figures
      • Figure 1 Who-What-When-Where-Where Elements in Four Citations to Published Sources
      • Figure 2 Who-What-When-Where-Where Elements in Four Citations to Unpublished Sources
      • Figure 3 Who-What-When-Where-Where Elements in Citations to Published Sources Viewed in Published and Unpublished Media
      • Figure 4 Who-What-When-Where-Where Elements in Citations to Unpublished Sources Viewed in Published and Unpublished Media
      • Figure 5 Map Correlating Evidence from Ten Deeds, a Chancery Case, and a Land Grant to Help Prove a Relationship
      • Figure 6 Illustration and Analysis of an Explanation of the Resolution of Conflicting Evidence