Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: Genealogical Proof Standard

As I mentioned previously, I bought a stack of new genealogy books as a Christmas present for myself and would be reviewing each book as I completed them. I just finished Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case by Christine Rose.

The book is quite short, less than 100 pages. I actually read the entire book in one sitting. The book includes an introduction, five chapters, epilogue, suggested sources and an index. As the title implies, the book is about applying the genealogical proof standard (GPS) to your work in order to build a solid case..

The first chapter is all about the GPS. The various components are explored. It also gives a good explanation of original vs derivative sources, primary vs secondary information and direct vs indirect evidence.

The second chapter goes into building a solid case. It includes when to use the GPS, the whos and whys, cautions and how to reach a sound conclusion when problems are present.

In the third chapter, we learn about evaluating records. A few common record types are explored and classified. I found it interesting that some records could fall within more than one classification or have varying degrees of credibility depending on the individual record.

Two case studies are found in the fourth chapter. The first is a hypothetical case and the second a real-life one. The hypothetical case is fairly clear-cut. The real-life one is explored showing the various records available, the conclusions that can be drawn from them individually and then the conclusion reached when combining everything using the GPS.

The last chapter talks about proof arguments and summaries. It gives a good breakdown of what needs to go in these. Interspersed through the book are various examples and images to illustrate the points. The suggested source list is brief, but offers several options for further research into the GPS.

While brief, I felt the book covered a lot of ground in an easy-to-understand format.I also like the small size since it can be easily taken along with me if I'm researching away from home and want a refresher.

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