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Genealogy Research Map – Dutch Version 2

Friday, 5 Feb 2010 | by Mark Tucker

The Dutch translation of the Genealogy Research Process map has been updated with some minor changes to make it a better translation.  I was contacted months ago by Bob Coret (who helped with the first translation) with some corrections.  Because of limited time and many commitments, I was not able to update the map until now.

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download PDF (Dutch – version 2) – 1.10 MB

The Genealogisch Onderzoeksproces (Genealogy Research Process) is important to researchers in the Dutch genealogy community and the Standaard voor Genealogisch Bewijs (Genealogical Proof Standard) is being promoted outside the United States.  Maybe the Board for Certification of Genealogists should consider working with genealogists in other countries to translate The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual into other languages.

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9 Genealogy Predictions for 2009 Reviewed

Tuesday, 29 Dec 2009 | by Mark Tucker

In December 2008, I wrote a blog post titled 9 Genealogy Predictions for 2009.  It is now time to review that list and see how well the predictions matched reality.

1.  Two more desktop genealogy applications will support source citation templates from Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained. Currently Legacy 7 and RootsMagic 4 support this. The other two might likely be Family Tree Maker and The Master Genealogist.

Family Tree Maker 2009 now supports source citation templates following Evidence Explained.  To my knowledge, no other desktop genealogy applications have announced this support.

2.  One major online database (Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, FamilySearch, Footnote) will announce upcoming support for Evidence Explained source citations.  Other sites will soon follow with their own announcements.

I am disappointed that none of the mentioned online databases support Evidence Explained source citations.  Please correct me if I am mistaken.  If GenSeek is released in 2010, maybe it will be the first.

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RootsMagic 4 Citation Quality Gotcha #2

Wednesday, 8 Jul 2009 | by Mark Tucker

In gotcha #1 we looked at the issue of having the Source quality associated with the Source Details instead of the Master Source.  In gotcha #2 we look at issues dealing with evidence.

Source, Information, & Evidence

According to Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, ”sources are artifacts, books, digital files, documents, film, people, photographs, recordings, websites, etc.” (see page 24)  Information is the content of the source.  Evidence “represents our interpretation of information we consider relevant to the research question or problem.” (see page 25)  So in order to classify evidence we need both information and a research objective.  Even though the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) does not include a step to define research goals, I’ve included it as part of the Genealogy Research Process Map because it is implied.  Step one of the GPS states:

“We conduct a reasonable exhaustive search in reliable sources for all information that is or may be pertinent to the identity, relationship, event, or situation in question.”
The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual, page 1.

How do we know which sources to search if we don’t have a research objective?  The definitions of direct and indirect evidence also points to the need to have a defined research objective:

Direct evidence – relevant information that seems to answer the research question or solve the problem all by itself.
Indirect evidence – relevant information that cannot, alone, answer the question;
Negative evidence – an inference we can draw from the absence of information that should exist under particular circumstances.
Evidence Explained, page 25

Even the definition for negative evidence hints at a research objective.

So how can we set the citation quality value for evidence in RootsMagic or any other genealogy software unless we have a research objective?

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ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award #4

Saturday, 4 Jul 2009 | by Mark Tucker

Writing about this next innovation has been on my backlog for many months (at least 3). In a previous innovator award, I spotlighted one of the first genealogy software packages to support source citation templates following those found in Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  These templates help the beginning and professional genealogist to accurately cite sources as part of their effort to do professional-quality work.

As early as the 1997 book, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, Elizabeth Shown Mills has covered the topics of citation and analysis.  It is this second item, analysis, that is the focus of this innovator award. In Evidence! we start to see the formation of the current classification for sources (as original or derivative) and evidence (as direct or indirect).  The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual published in 2000 supports the classification of sources (as original or derivative), adds a classification for information (as primary or secondary), and continues the classification of evidence (as direct or indirect).  These classifications remained unchanged in Professional Genealogy which was published in 2001.  By 2006 as seen on quick sheet, Evidence Analysis: A Research Process Map by Elizabeth Shown Mills we see the formation of a new evidence classification so in addition to direct or indirect we can classify evidence as negative evidence.  When Evidence Explained was published in 2007 it restated these same classifications for sources (original or derivative), information (primary or secondary), and evidence (direct, indirect, or negative).

The winner of the next innovator award not only supports Evidence Explained citation templates but has coded these professional analysis practices into their software in a way that is approachable to all.  So a big congratulations goes out to Bruce Buzbee and his RootsMagic team!

Innovator Award - Thinker's PickRootsMagic logo

Let’s look at the implementation in more detail.

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Better Online Citations – Details Part 2 (GEDCOM)

Sunday, 3 May 2009 | by Mark Tucker

GEDCOM support by Legacy 7, RootsMagic 4, and Family Tree Maker 2009

In Better Online Citations – Details Part 1 we examined how the QuickCheck model for “Book: Basic format” from Evidence Explained was coded in Family Tree Maker 2009, Legacy 7, and RootsMagic 4. From the screens we were able to identify implementation differences between the three applications. There are also differences between the applications in how citation information is conveyed via a GEDCOM export. The individual fields shown on the template screens are lost in the standard GEDCOM export making it impossible to create a rich EE-style citation in one application, export it to GEDCOM, and import it into another application while retaining that richness. In all cases (except when the exporter and importer of the GEDCOM is RootsMagic 4), the citation is changed from a “Book: Basic format” to a generic “old-style” (pre EE) format with important details lost.

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Better Online Citations – Details Part 1

Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009 | by Mark Tucker

There have been a number of comments from viewers of the video, “A Better Way to Cite Online Sources”, asking about how things work behind the scenes. Being a geek by nature, I tend to be technical in my writing and so I tried to stay away from too many details in the video. The main point was to show what a solution to the online citation problem might look like.

For those who want to know more, here are the details.

We will first start with the QuickCheck models found in Evidence Explained. These models can be used by software developers as a feature specification:

Evidence Explained - Book Basic Format Citation

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