Family History Episode 23 – Using the Genealogical Proof Standard

Listen to the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast by Lisa Louise Cooke. It’s a great series for learning the research ropes and well as refreshing your skills.

Originally published 2009
Republished March 18, 2014

https://lisalouisecooke.com/familyhistorypodcast/audio/fh23.mp3

Download the Show Notes for this Episode

Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-2009. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.

Episode 23: The GPS in Action: Using the Genealogical Proof  Standard

In episode 20, we talked about using the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), the powerful research process used by the professionals. This process ensures the quality, accuracy and success of our research. Researching by these standards now may save you going back and re-doing some of your hard work later down the road.

In today’s episode I’m going to help you put the GPS into concrete action with an example from my own research. And I have some downloadable free tools that will help you do the job! In this episode we also follow up with a listener question on how to export your family tree from Ancestry.com—see below for an updated link.

The GPS in Action

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a worksheet that prompts you through the GPS process and helps you keep track of everything and stay organized?  Well, I wanted something like that myself. I think we need more than just a blank form: we need and want a detailed worksheet that not only gives the area to record our findings, but also buy medication online usa incorporates all the key areas of the Genealogical Proof Standard so that we can be sure we aren’t missing anything.

I didn’t find something like this online so I created it myself.  Click on the Research Worksheets, under Links below, for both a filled-out sample version and a blank version that you can save to your computer.

According to the Board of Certification of Genealogists the 5 keys elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard 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

I’ve incorporated these elements while keep in mind Mark Tucker’s process map worksheet (see Links section below) into my Research Worksheet.

The Research Worksheet is divided into the following sections:

  • Research Objective
  • Known Facts
  • Working Hypothesis
  • Research Strategy
  • Identified Sources
  • Final Conclusions

In your conclusion which is called a Proof Argument you should:

  1. Explain the problem
  2. Review the known sources which you identified on your worksheet
  3. Present the evidence with source citations and the analysis of those sources
  4. Discuss any conflicting evidence.  This important because it may generate another search that needs to occur, or put to rest questions about evidence that on first glance looks conflicting.
  5. And finally summarize the main points of your research and state your conclusion.

Updates and Links

How to download your GEDCOM from Ancestry.com

Research Worksheet: Example

Research Worksheet: Blank Form

Correspondence Log

Mark Tucker’s GPS Flowchart

“Is That Software Expired?” Why I Wouldn’t Use Obsolete Family Tree Maker Software

As Family Tree Maker software nears the end of its product lifecycle, many may wonder how far past the “expiration date” they should use it. Here’s my take.Family Tree Maker Discontinued

Ancestry.com recently announced that they will stop supporting Family Tree Maker, the popular desktop software that syncs with Ancestry.com trees online. Sales will end on December 31, 2015. Product support and major fixes for current users will end a year later. (Click here for full details.)

This means the clock is ticking for Family Tree Maker users to decide where to put their family trees. Or is it? Can you continue to use software after it’s officially “expired?” For how long? What risks do you take if you do?

Consider the “Best If Used By” dates we see on the food products we buy. There is currently still some life in this product, and will be for a year after they stop selling it. According to Ancestry, during 2016 “all features of the software, including TreeSync™, will continue to work, and Member Services will be available to assist with user questions. We will also address major software bugs that may occur, as well as compatibility updates.” So technically, the “Best if Used By” date is the end of 2016. But then what?

What Happens with Family Tree Maker after 2016?

The software will still function on your computer. But it won’t sync to your Ancestry online tree anymore, and there will be no upgrades to make it compatible with future computer hardware or software. So eventually, you’ll need to transfer everything out of Family Tree Maker software anyway to be able to keep up with evolving technology. That’s what happened to me with my first favorite genealogy software. When it was discontinued, I hung on to it for a long time, and honestly, I had no problem.

Eventually, however, the old software was no longer fully compatible with new operating systems and I had to upgrade. I took a risk in continuing to enter information into an obsolete system–and  wouldn’t take it again in retrospect. When it finally did come time to transfer, I was gambling with whether my system had gotten so far behind the times that it would be too difficult or even impossible to transfer everything. (Think how much our data transfer technology has changed in recent years: from floppy disks, CD-ROMs, CDs and DVDs to flash drives and now cloud-based transfers.) And I also ran the risk that there might be license limitations to how many computers my old software could be loaded onto.

Our genealogy software contains thousands of pieces of linked pieces of data: names, dates, relationships, source citation information, digitized photos and documents and more. This is not something we could easily re-create and I for one would not want to have to redo all that research (or even just key it in). Even if GEDCOM files continue as a universal file type for genealogy software, the ability to export every piece of information exactly as you want it in GEDCOMs is not guaranteed. For example, consider that when you download a tree from Ancestry, according to their customer support pages,”Any pictures, charts, books, views, or similar items found in the original file will not be included in the [downloaded] GEDCOM. Vital information, notes, and sources are usually retained after conversion.”

Why continue to load your Family Tree Maker software with data you might not be able to fully retrieve when you want to?

If you’re a Family Tree Maker user, I’m not saying you should panic. You have time to do your homework and carefully consider the best next step for you. You could start using new family history software with a reliable cloud-based back-up service for your computer, so your files are fully protected. You could migrate to another cloud-and-software-sync model over at MyHeritage (their desktop software is free). Click here to read more about those options and see current offers by RootsMagic and MyHeritage.com for Family Tree Maker users.

Bottom line: “Best if Used By” usually indicates that the sooner you finish consuming a product and move on, the healthier and better your experience will be. That is an applicable analogy for Family Tree Maker users. Research your options and move on to another product so your family tree will continue to grow and be healthy!

More Gems for Family Tree Maker Users

Here at Genealogy Gems we care about you and your data. Here are more resources for you:

What Ancestry’s Retirement of Family Tree Maker Software Means for You

Best Genealogy Software: Which You Should Choose and Why

How to Download and Backup Your Ancestry Data

 

Language Translation Tool for Genealogy: MyHeritage’s New Global Name Translation

MyHeritage Global_Name_Translation_PR_imageAt some point in the past, many of our relatives–overseas or in the same land–spoke a different language. They used different versions of names we know. Records about their lives were created in a language we don’t know, whether their home tongue or the language of an institution, like church records in Latin.

Well, MyHeritage has just launched a groundbreaking new technology today that aims to remove language barriers in family history research. “Global Name Translation™ helps overcome the Tower of Babel syndrome,” says Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “The world is getting smaller and more connected, yet information from other countries is still mostly hidden from those who don’t speak the language.

Now you can now search for historical records at MyHeritage “in one language and receive relevant results from other languages, automatically translated for you into the language of your search,” explains Japhet. Alex is Aleksi MyHeritage name translationFor example? “A search for Alessandro (Alexander in Italian) will also find ‘Саша’ (which is the Russian form of Sasha, a popular nickname of Alexander in Russia) with its corresponding transliteration into the language of your search.”

This technology is also integrated into MyHeritage matching technologies, so subscribers will begin receiving transliterated matches from other languages.

According to a press release, Global Name Translation™ works with “very high accuracy, generating all the plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages. In addition, a manual search in one language will also provide results in other languages, translated back to the user’s language for convenience. This is a unique innovation not offered elsewhere, useful for anyone interested in discovering their global roots.”

The first version works with several languages: English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Russian and Ukrainian. “The next version currently in development will add Chinese and Japanese, and additional languages will follow.”

MyHeritageClick here to learn more reasons we love MyHeritage, which is a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast, or click here to explore MyHeritage yourself. If you are looking for a language translation tool for genealogy outside of MyHeritage, check out the chapter on Google Translate in the fully-revised and updated second edition of The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke.

How to Delete and Merge Duplicates in Ancestry Family Tree

Does your online family tree suffer from duplicate leaves? If so, you’re not alone. Hundreds of people seem to have this problem, based on the popularity of a YouTube video tutorial by The Barefoot Genealogist. This tutorial teaches you how to trim extra foliage from your online Ancestry.com family tree or in Family Tree Maker.

First, presenter Christa Cowan describes how we often end up with duplicates on the family tree. Sometimes people attach records buy anti worm medication for humans incorrectly to individual profiles in Ancestry.com—she shows how to do it correctly, without accidentally creating someone new. And, bonus: she shows how to attach records to more than one person at a time (you want everyone in the household to have that 1920 census record attached to their profiles)!

Watch this video to learn how to look for unwanted duplicates and then use the “merge duplicates” feature to clean up any mess or confusion.

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