A newfound friend called herself a evidence based genealogist. Being unfamiliar with this concept I had to check it out
In my simple mind I try to follow the Genealogical Proof Standard by evaluating the evidence I collect, discussing incongruous sources and explaining how I draw the conclusions. I don’t enter a name into my genealogy software until I have reliable sources that prove this persons identity, whereabouts and actions. So; Am I an Evidence based or Conclusion based genealogist?
Philip Trauring in his blog B&F: Jewish Genealogy and More claims that most people who research their family carry out conclusion-based genealogy In his post Evidence-based Genealogy he discusses the differences between Evidence based and Conclusion based genealogy.
Amos Bannister in the blog Tracing the Footsteps of Amos presents Some semi-random musings on evidence-based vs conclusion-based genealogy. He suggest using the terms “Source-based” and “Person-based” as this, in his opinion, is more understandable. I tend to agree with him.
In her blog Welcome to Genealogy By Ginger!, Ginger R. Smith presents a really interesting article called Am I an Evidence-Based Genealogist or Conclusion-Based Genealogist? She describe herself as a hybrid and shows how the different principles applies to her genealogy research. To me Ginger’s article brings a somewhat abstract subject down to earth. I think I’ll join the “hybrid club”
I think am beginning to grasp this concept now, so what tools exist for taking an evidence based approach?
- Evidentia software claims to solve the problems facing the genealogy community, and also simplify the process of analyzing evidence and creating proof arguments while still following the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).
- Clooz software “Connects people through documents” and is “a Unique analysis tool” according to their website.
- Linascope “preserves entire lines of evidence” The website opens with the phrase “In genealogy, you’ve got to prove it or it’s just Entertainment” Now, that is something most of us can relate to.
These are the ones I could find. There may be others.
So, do we need to toss out all the work we have done, exchange our traditional genealogy software for something new and start all over?
In my opinion; no. Every field needs theories to raise conscience about the work that is done. Still, I can’t help feeling that this divide between Evidence based and Conclusion based genealogy is somewhat artificial. No matter what we call ourselves or what software we use to organize our data; If we don’t base our genealogy on reliable sources that we continuously evaluate and discuss, we are fiction writers, not genealogists.
That said, I highly respect and cheer on those who wants to take this approach. It is no doubt that what is called Evidence based genealogy is a very thorough method to secure the reliability of your conclusions.