Mastering Genealogical Proof.
By Thomas W. Jones. Published by the National Genealogical Society. 2013. 178 pages.
Noel C. Stevenson in Genealogical Evidence wrote, “The results of your research can only be true and correct according to…a preponderance of greater weight of the evidence. ‘Preponderance’ or ‘greater weight’ means Quality, not Quantity.’”
Preponderance of evidence prevailed as the principle upon which to judge the authority of genealogical work. The term comes out of the practice of law, conveying the idea that a determination of accurateness is based on the more plausible evidence and its probability of truth, rather than on the sheer amount of evidence.
In the late 1990s, the Genealogical Proof Standard came to be the model against which we now can judge our work. The five components: thorough research, informative citations, analysis and comparison, conflict resolution, and a written supportive narrative are hallmarks of the GPS.
Before Mastering Genealogical Proof, there’s been no publication which presents the Standard in such an uncomplicated manner. Up to now, the publications have been technically manual-like, dry to the point of requiring companionship in the form of a study group to stay with and complete.
Dr. Jones by no means diminishes the Standard and its relevance and value. He just approaches it from the position of a coach, a tutor, who is sitting across the table from you and steering you through the principles of the GPS by presenting them in chunks of information that are easy to understand, examples that clarify the point, and exercises that keep you moving along. The book has a friendlier tone, a less bookish quality, a welcoming invite to study the GPS and not be intimidated by it, but rather, be uplifted and confident that you’re just as capable of giving your genealogy authority and weight as he is.
Dr Jones admits, “When I began tracing my family’s history…I gave no thought to accuracy. Trusting what I read and what people sent or told me, I naively shared false information with relatives and other researchers.” One of the most esteemed and popular genealogy persons admits that he started out as naïve as we did.
Thomas W. Jones, author of Mastering Genealogical Proof, makes you feel like he has the utmost confidence in you and that he thinks you can do your work just as well as he’s done his.
Mastering goes a long way guaranteeing his promise.
Mastering Genealogical Proof is available from the publishers, the National Genealogical Society, at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/mastering_genealogical_proof as well as from Amazon at http://goo.gl/bThqvx and from many other genealogy book stores.