APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2008-02 > 1203430648

From: "Melinde Sanborn" <>
Subject: [APG] How widely used is the Genealogical Proof Standard
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 09:17:28 -0500
In-Reply-To: <394072.7773.qm@web36111.mail.mud.yahoo.com>

Those of us who are not certified and pre-date BCG's concise statement of
the GPS nevertheless likely use some, all, or more than it encompasses. The
original question on this thread may have been asking about awareness of the
label in addition to the actual practice of the GPS. That original question
also was couched assuming a negative answer, asking why do we think it is
not more widely espoused.

>From a business perspective, in my case the phrases may mean something
different than intended. Certainly my view of what constitutes a reasonably
exhaustive search (RES) has evolved over the years (also the topic of a
recent thread - such a good List).

I don't use the word "reasonably." It is likely a nod to limitations of
time, geography, and money. When I have to settle for a "reasonably"
exhaustive search, I'm a very, very unhappy camper. [This applies both to
original research and to editing the research of others.]

Source citations are a crucial part of good research - they both instruct
and direct. They are also on the brink of a revolution, I believe. Someday
soon the standards will move from "here is the description of the record I
used - now you can find it and judge it" to "here is the record I used - see
for yourself." Technology is a wonderful thing, but it will mean that
analysis and experience will need more provenance and critical eyes.
Critical eyes develop from experience, instruction, and exposure. The job
ahead is huge.

Strangely enough, it is the step of writing the conclusion that is most
valuable to me in the GPS. Do others find this, too? I may be perfectly
happy with the thoroughness, interpretation, scope, and presentation of
work, but it is writing the conclusion that points a finger at a flawed


I believe that the above is a paraphrase of the five parts of the GPS:

a reasonably exhaustive search;
complete and accurate source citations;
analysis and correlation of the collected information;
resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

Please see these requirements at:


This thread: