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Archiver > APG > 2006-12 > 1165810228

From: "Mills" <>
Subject: [APG] FW: Analyzing evidence
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 22:10:28 -0600

Helen wrote:
>For certification, the kinship-determination project is to be written in
Register style ...

>Now that the Board for Certification is requiring a case study (also
called a proof-summary) and a kinship-determination project (which must
include at least two proof summaries),

An offline query to me, as BCG ombudsperson, asked for clarification of
these two points. As a generality, for every person who asks a question,
there are usually umpteen others who wonder but hate to ask. So I'll post my
response on line.

The *BCG Application Guide* (p. 9, last bullet) states that the
kinship-determination project should be written in "a clearly, comprehensive
format that follows the appropriate style--i.e., NGS Quarterly, Register, or
Sosa-Stradonitz." (The sentence is written in conventional form, putting
items in a series in alphabetical order; no preference is expressed.)

The questioner interpreted the second paragraph above to mean that three
case studies are required for the application. He then asked (a) what was
the point in requiring three and (b) how does one write two separate case
studies in the middle of the kinship project.

At issue here is the difference between a case study and a proof argument.
Case studies do contain "proof arguments" but a proof argument can be
substantially less than a well-developed case study. (Analogy: An arm
contains an elbow, but an elbow is not the whole arm.)

The specific requirements at issue here are these:

--Requirement 6:
Case Study: Conflicting or Indirect Evidence
This is a substantial, standalone essay that demonstrates your ability to
conduct a solid piece of research and solve a problem using indirect or
contradictory evidence. It may involve IDENTITY or kinship. Many applicants
choose to focus on identity issues here rather than kinship issues. The
option here gives them flexibility to demonstrate their best work, whatever
the type.

--Requirement 7:
Kinship Determination Project
The options here are 1: a narrative genealogy (all descendants of a couple);
2: a narrative lineage (straight line, ascending or descending); or 3: a
narrative pedigree (all ancestors of a person).

The project should cover at least three ancestral generations (couples) and
-use a wide range of sources;
-provide biographical data for each couple in the genealogy;
-identify children in each generation with all known vital data;
-provide documentation of every statement of fact that is not common
knowledge; and
-(for two of the parent-child links) present a "proof argument" to support
the claimed parent-child relationship.

Well-done research across several generations typically presents us with
several situations in which no one piece of solid evidence clearly states a
parent-child relationship. Yet reasonably complete research will often
provide several pieces of evidence that can be combined to reach a sound

Therefore, at whatever point in our narrative that we say someone is
*believed* to be the child of someone else, we discuss the various pieces of
evidence which support that conclusion, pro and con.


Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Ombudsperson, Board for Certification of Genealogists

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