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Become Mayor of the National Archives

Wednesday, 30 Dec 2009 | by Mark Tucker

What does a political title, a favorite repository of genealogists, an emerging new social networking site and a playground game all have in common?  Sounds like a crazy combination of unrelated things, but everything will soon become clearer.  It all has to do with foursquare which might become the hottest social networking site of 2010.

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Even though the web site shares the same name, it doesn’t have much to do with the childhood playground game you might have played in elementary school.  Unless you consider that it is supposed to be fun, has to do with locations, moving around, “checking-in” at different locations, and claiming your spot at the top of the ranks.  On second thought, they both have a lot in common.

What is intended as a fun way to encourage people to go out on the town and visit various locations might just find a place in the genealogy world.

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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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ProGen Study Group #8

Tuesday, 3 Feb 2009 | by Mark Tucker

The ProGen Study Group assignment for November 2008  was about research.

Our reading assignment from Professional Genealogy was:

  • Chapter 15 - Research Procedures by Linda Woodward Geiger, CGRS, CGL

As professional genealogists we often specialize in a location, type of record, topic, or ethnic group.  We need to be knowledgeable and prepared before research begins and effective while researching.

This paragraph does a great job summarizing the chapter contents:

“Regardless of our specialty, effective research on any specific project comes from long-range preparation, followed by a literature survey and an actual on-site search.  This chapter provides strategies for identifying available resources, determining their locations, using electronic finding aids, and otherwise preparing ourselves before we arrive on site.  Finally, it offers suggestions for the research itself – both good work habits and goodwill builders.”

This chapter is also a helpful reminder to personal genealogists that preparation before research is important.

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3 Documents to Improve the Quality of your Research

Thursday, 8 Jan 2009 | by Mark Tucker

 

In my presentation, Navigating Research with the Genealogical Proof Standard, I discuss 3 important documents that genealogists and family historians should use:

  1. Research Plan
  2. Research Log
  3. Research Analysis

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Mesa Family History Expo 2008 in 4 days

Monday, 10 Nov 2008 | by Mark Tucker

This is an exciting week for family historians and genealogists in the Phoenix area as the 1st annual Mesa Arizona Family History Expo will start this Friday, November 14th.  As a resident of Phoenix, I’ve thought for a long time that Arizona would be a great place to hold a family history conference (especially in the fall and winter months) and I am happy to see that one is coming.  If all goes well this year, then we can look forward to the sponsors, Family History Expos.com, returning again for many years to come.

On Friday and Saturday I will be attending classes and visiting the booths in the exhibit hall.  On Saturday at 2:30pm in the Palo Verde II room, I will be presenting:

Navigating Research with the Genealogical Proof Standard
(Beginner – Experienced) This class discusses the Genealogical Proof Standard and walks the student through the process by way of a visualization called the Genealogy Research Process map. Each step is explored through case study and uses traditional and online resources.

I hope that you can make it to the presentation.  If any blog readers are attending the conference and you happen to see me, then come say “hello.”

Until then, I will be counting down the days.

Family Pursuit in Beta Testing

Saturday, 11 Aug 2007 | by Mark Tucker

This last week Family Pursuit Beta 1.0 was launched and I am excited to be among the testers.  This web-based genealogy application promises tools to organize your research and collaborate with others. 

 Family Pursuit Beta 1.0

The user interface is clean and consistent.  A tutorial explains the application and there are help links available on every page.  I was interested in how the company would fulfill their promise to “enable genealogy enthusiasts to involve family members who have never engaged in family history work. ”  After spending a few hours using the beta, I think Family Pursuit, LC is on a path of innovation for genealogy software.  Those more experienced with family history now have tools available to mentor beginners in the research process and work collaboratively toward a common goal.

It is early in the beta process and not all features are available.  Overall, I like what I have seen so far and will share more details as the beta testing continues.

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