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GenPerfect–My Ideal Genealogy Software

Thursday, 17 Mar 2011 | by Mark Tucker

I grew up in Utah, have a brother-in-law that worked for WordPerfect, and used WordPerfect in high school and college before Microsoft Word became the dominant word processing software. So when I tried to put a name to all the ideas about what the ideal genealogy software would look like to me, GenPerfect was the perfect name.

I am sad that I missed RootsTech 2011, but am excited to see that it has stirred up ideas and there is a spirit of innovation that seems to be sweeping through the genealogy/technology community.  Some are having discussions about a new data format to bring GEDCOM into the 21st century and make sure it plays well in the online world of collaboration and social networking. One place you can find this is the BetterGEDCOM Wiki and another is the e-mail list for the FamilySearch Developer Network (FSDN).

Much of the recent discussion on FSDN has been around the main sticking points of the data model and whether the structure should be people-based or record-based. As a developer, I often want to jump down into the details of the problem and gnaw on it until I figure it out. But lately I am changing. I prefer to look at it from a user’s perspective. Call it product management or User Experience (UX), but if in the end the data model doesn’t allow the software to do what I think it can and should do, then I think a great opportunity would have been missed.

So back to GenPerfect. What do I think it should look like? What implications does that have on a data model? As a user, what is my vision of the perfect genealogy software?

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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.

image

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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Arizona State Genealogical Society – Advanced Methodology Workshop

Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 | by Mark Tucker

 

Arizona State Genealogical Society

This Saturday, November 14, 2009 from 9:00 am to noon, the Arizona State Genealogical Society will hold an Advanced Methodology workshop.

First the group will analyze a case study and determine if the research objective was proved.

I then have the privilege of presenting “Navigating Research with the Genealogical Proof Standard.”  The presentation slides, handout, and a copy of the Genealogy Research Process Map can be found at: http://www.thinkgenealogy.com/map

I am really excited to meet the members of the society and share a topic that is very important to me.

If you are in Tucson, AZ this Saturday morning, you are invited to attend the workshop.  More information can be found at the Arizona State Genealogical Society site:

http://azsgs.org/event/advanced-methodology/

Navigating Research with the GPS – July 2009 Update

Tuesday, 28 Jul 2009 | by Mark Tucker

In preparation for my presentation this Friday at the BYU Genealogy Conference, I updated my slides and posted them on SlideShare:

View more documents from Mark Tucker.

This slide presentation goes with the syllabus material that I posted earlier.

Hope to see some of you on Friday at 1:30pm.

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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RootsMagic 4 Citation Quality Gotcha #1

Tuesday, 7 Jul 2009 | by Mark Tucker

I applaud the work the RootsMagic team has done to bring professional-quality research practices to the most recent version of RootsMagic. The work that they (and others) are doing is truly innovative. Just the other day, I awarded RootsMagic 4 an Innovator award for the implementation of research analysis around their citation quality feature.

I strongly encourage users of RootsMagic to use this feature, but in its current implementation there are a few gotchas and workarounds that need to be followed.

The Genealogical Proof Standard & Evidence Explained define research analysis classifications for a source, information, and evidence. A source is an object (or person) that contains (or has) information. A source can be classified as original or derivative. An original source is in its first oral or recorded form. Everything else that comes from an original (or another derivative) is a derivative. For example, a book is an original. Let’s say that it is a census enumerator’s book that he carried from house to house to take the census. Now let’s say that book is microfilmed and stored at an archive. The microfilm copy is a derivative. The digitization of the microfilm is a second generation derivative of the original. Without getting into the special cases of image copies, duplicate originals, and record copies, it is relatively easy to start uncovering the provenance or ancestry of the source you are using for your research back to the original source. The classification of a source as original or derivative helps to answer the question “Is there a better source?” and helps in your analysis as original sources usually carry more weight than derivative.

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