I sputter when I see genealogy work products that aren't as good as they could be, my work products included. This blog will permit me to explore the sources of errors, inaccuracies, and omissions. Hopefully I can learn not to make them myself.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Follow Friday: Resources for Studying Genealogical Standards
In yesterday's blog posting, I noted in passing, "One thing that has become clear in the last few years is that the modern genealogist believes in education." So do I. That is why I am embarking on an additional topic for The Demanding Genealogist. I plan to use the Follow Friday theme to talk about studying genealogical standards. In conjunction with the blog, I will over time develop a website by populating it with resources for study. Please bear with me as I take time to introduce this topic.
There is no summit which, once reached, is the end of the climb
It’s time to think in positive terms about how we all learn to do a better job at genealogy. There isn’t a summit which, once reached, is the end of the climb. Instead, each time we get a bit better in our skills, we see the next rise ahead of us, the next thing to learn.
In that spirit, I’ve established a website called Genealogical Standards Study Resources at http://genstandards.weebly.com/ in order to track and categorize resources for studying genealogical standards. The categorization will be roughly in tune with the current published standards. You can visit the site now, but I do warn you that the various categories will be populated over time, so be sure to keep watching for my Follow Friday postings. "Under construction" is the current most popular listing on that site. If you have ideas to add, please leave me a comment on the Home page of the site.
The resources will be what you and I publish when we discuss doing the best quality genealogy work that we can. Some will be from magazine or journal articles while others will be blog postings. Whenever possible, I will include a link to the article. Sometimes, however a published article will be so good that I won’t want to ignore it. In those cases, I’ll try to give you enough information to find a copy for yourself.
The Best Place to Start is with the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS)
The GPS is the best place to begin our discussion of standards. It is the first topic in The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual for a reason. We do genealogy to determine links of kinship and identity. That is, we study genealogy in order to prove those links.
In my search of blog postings on quality genealogy, I know there are already many resources out there. Michael Hait's Planting the Seeds blog has 37 postings on the topic Genealogical Proof Standard showing up in his tag cloud. Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings tag cloud shows 51 postings on GPS. A Google search on the topic goes on for pages.
Is GPS Important? Are Standards Important?
Because the GPS is associated with the Board for Certification of Genealogists by many people, it's important to take a few moments to underscore the fact that a proof standard is for everyone doing genealogy.
We get hung up on doing perfect source citations quite often. To paraphrase Elizabeth Shown Mills on this topic, it's an art, not a science. Some places to begin your study on citations are:
Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyperspace (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2007). See also the companion website which provides models and interactive forums:https://www.evidenceexplained.com/ : accessed 19 May 2012.