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Archiver > APG > 2008-02 > 1203394411

From: Rebecca Christensen <>
Subject: Re: [APG] How widely used is the Genealogical Proof Standard
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2008 20:13:31 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <000701c8729d$00746880$1309fea9@janice19nttz6o>

I volunteer in a Family History Center a few hours each week. One of the most frustrating things about helping some patrons with their research problems is knowing they can probably solve many of their research problems by using the processes of the Genealogical Proof Standard. I am often asked to assist individuals who are frustrated that they can't make any progress in their research, but then they won't look in any records past easily available indexes. If the particular person's name they are looking for isn't listed in the index, then they see no reason to look any further in a particular group of records - even if siblings or extended family members, for example, are listed in the indexes to the records. "Their ancestor" isn't listed and they "really don't have the desire to pursue the records of the other family members." Or if the desired information isn't easily found online, then the information apparently "doesn't exist."

As I introduce people to the vast collection of microfilmed records available through the rental program of the Family History Library and the Family History Centers, some people are hesitant to order microfilm if they don't know for sure that the record will contain the answer to their question(s). I am often asked which ONE particular microfilm will have the answer to their question or will solve their brick wall. (Evidently, I must have a crystal ball.) While some record groups are better at answering different types of questions than others and I can suggest that maybe a particular record group may hold the answer to their particular question, until the records themselves are examined, there is no way to know what might be learned from any record until it is actually examined. Even then, there are often clues that are easily dismissed or overlooked by the inexperienced that provide clues to additional records that should be examined if a search is to be
reasonably exhaustive.

Fortunately, not all have this attitude. Often it is those that are inexperienced or whose experience with genealogy has been solely through the internet. Often if a patron can be convinced to order their first microfilm of original records and they find some new information on their family, they may continue the process of searching in original records for family information - at least starting the process of conducting a reasonably exhaustive search.. But I still see too many unwilling - for whatever reason - to take the step of researching in original records not already digitized and available on the internet, even the most basic of record groups, let alone the more unusual record groups that might be included in a reasonably exhaustive search.

So while this e-mail doesn't really address Mark's question about how widely the Genealogical Proof Standard is used by certified genealogists (which I am not at this point but working on it), I do see a need for further education in the genealogical community as a whole on the processes involved in using the Genealogical Proof Standard to solve research questions and problems. It would appear that many beginners and those who use the internet as their main or only source for their genealogical research have missed the whole concept of the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Rebecca Christensen

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