Genealogical Proof Standard


claverterry
 

I have used the current situation to take a 6 week online family history course (free at this time) with the University of Strathclyde. As part of that, I have been introduced to GPS. My reaction is that I have largely followed the spirit of the Proof Standard, but then again, I will formerly carry this out for direct ancestors.
I think I will have to construct a blank form, to ease the formal procedure, to use for each genealogical question being answered [the simplest examples  being 'who are the parents?' and 'who is the spouse?'].
I have 2 questions: (1) Has anyone else gone through this process formally and embedded the statements/reports in FH6? (2) Will the word processing facilities in the fabled FH7 help to embed such proof statements/reports?  
Context: I have nearly 6k people on my tree and have been building it for about 12 years. I started with Legacy software then FTM but moved to FH6 3 years ago - what a wonderful piece of software. Custom queries are helping me to tidy up the information well.
regards Terry


Mike Tate
 

Hi Terry,

To avoid any misunderstanding, presumably GPS does not mean Global Positioning System but Genealogical Proof Standard.

See https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/The_Genealogical_Proof_Standard_(National_Institute)

 

Not only does FH V7 have word-processing but also Source Citation Templates that may help with your GPS.

 

Regards, Mike Tate

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of claverterry
Sent: 06 May 2020 10:30
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

I have used the current situation to take a 6 week online family history course (free at this time) with the University of Strathclyde. As part of that, I have been introduced to GPS. My reaction is that I have largely followed the spirit of the Proof Standard, but then again, I will formerly carry this out for direct ancestors.
I think I will have to construct a blank form, to ease the formal procedure, to use for each genealogical question being answered [the simplest examples  being 'who are the parents?' and 'who is the spouse?'].
I have 2 questions: (1) Has anyone else gone through this process formally and embedded the statements/reports in FH6? (2) Will the word processing facilities in the fabled FH7 help to embed such proof statements/reports?  
Context: I have nearly 6k people on my tree and have been building it for about 12 years. I started with Legacy software then FTM but moved to FH6 3 years ago - what a wonderful piece of software. Custom queries are helping me to tidy up the information well.
regards Terry


Virus-free. www.avast.com


David Potter
 

@Mike. Are there any clear descriptions as to what will be in FH7? I too am tidying and checking things in my research. Good fun but quite labour intensive. If there are tools that would make certain things easier I could hold off certain Clean/Check tasks until FH7 is released.


On Wed, 6 May 2020, 10:53 Mike Tate, <post@...> wrote:

Hi Terry,

To avoid any misunderstanding, presumably GPS does not mean Global Positioning System but Genealogical Proof Standard.

See https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/The_Genealogical_Proof_Standard_(National_Institute)

 

Not only does FH V7 have word-processing but also Source Citation Templates that may help with your GPS.

 

Regards, Mike Tate

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of claverterry
Sent: 06 May 2020 10:30
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

I have used the current situation to take a 6 week online family history course (free at this time) with the University of Strathclyde. As part of that, I have been introduced to GPS. My reaction is that I have largely followed the spirit of the Proof Standard, but then again, I will formerly carry this out for direct ancestors.
I think I will have to construct a blank form, to ease the formal procedure, to use for each genealogical question being answered [the simplest examples  being 'who are the parents?' and 'who is the spouse?'].
I have 2 questions: (1) Has anyone else gone through this process formally and embedded the statements/reports in FH6? (2) Will the word processing facilities in the fabled FH7 help to embed such proof statements/reports?  
Context: I have nearly 6k people on my tree and have been building it for about 12 years. I started with Legacy software then FTM but moved to FH6 3 years ago - what a wonderful piece of software. Custom queries are helping me to tidy up the information well.
regards Terry


Virus-free. www.avast.com


claverterry
 

Yes, Mike. I followed on from the title, but after pressing the send button, did wonder about the ambiguity.

I wonder what Source Citation Templates means in detail. Will these be customisable? Otherwise I could attach documents to events such as marriage and birth.

regards
Terry


colevalleygirl@colevalleygirl.co.uk
 

Currently, I only create proof arguments/proof statement when the route to an assertion has not been simple. See for example http://www.colevalleygirl.co.uk/tree/g1/p51.htm#i51 or http://www.colevalleygirl.co.uk/tree/g1/p296.htm#i296  (scroll down to the baptism events and look at the associated pdfs).  I use the Research Planner plugin to create a bunch of standard ‘to-do items’ for an individual, and to document my progress and results.

 

I’m expecting the better word processing facilities in FH7 to make it easier to create the statements.

 

Source citation templates should also make it easier to meet the element of the GPS relating to source citations.

 

However, I shall have to wait like all of us until FH7 is released to know exactly what we’re getting, I suspect.


Mike Tate
 

@Terry, Calico Pie never issue product details in advance as they would be commercially sensitive.

We will all have to wait until FH V7 beta testing begins.

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of David Potter via groups.io
Sent: 06 May 2020 11:02
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

@Mike. Are there any clear descriptions as to what will be in FH7? I too am tidying and checking things in my research. Good fun but quite labour intensive. If there are tools that would make certain things easier I could hold off certain Clean/Check tasks until FH7 is released.

 

On Wed, 6 May 2020, 10:53 Mike Tate, <post@...> wrote:

Hi Terry,

To avoid any misunderstanding, presumably GPS does not mean Global Positioning System but Genealogical Proof Standard.

See https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/The_Genealogical_Proof_Standard_(National_Institute)

 

Not only does FH V7 have word-processing but also Source Citation Templates that may help with your GPS.

 

Regards, Mike Tate

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of claverterry
Sent: 06 May 2020 10:30
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

I have used the current situation to take a 6 week online family history course (free at this time) with the University of Strathclyde. As part of that, I have been introduced to GPS. My reaction is that I have largely followed the spirit of the Proof Standard, but then again, I will formerly carry this out for direct ancestors.
I think I will have to construct a blank form, to ease the formal procedure, to use for each genealogical question being answered [the simplest examples  being 'who are the parents?' and 'who is the spouse?'].
I have 2 questions: (1) Has anyone else gone through this process formally and embedded the statements/reports in FH6? (2) Will the word processing facilities in the fabled FH7 help to embed such proof statements/reports?  
Context: I have nearly 6k people on my tree and have been building it for about 12 years. I started with Legacy software then FTM but moved to FH6 3 years ago - what a wonderful piece of software. Custom queries are helping me to tidy up the information well.
regards Terry

 

Virus-free. www.avast.com


colevalleygirl@colevalleygirl.co.uk
 

To be accurate Mike, most people will have to wait until Beta testing ends – and Beta testers will be forbidden from sharing information with non-Beta testers.

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of Mike Tate
Sent: 06 May 2020 11:53
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

@Terry, Calico Pie never issue product details in advance as they would be commercially sensitive.

We will all have to wait until FH V7 beta testing begins.

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of David Potter via groups.io
Sent: 06 May 2020 11:02
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

@Mike. Are there any clear descriptions as to what will be in FH7? I too am tidying and checking things in my research. Good fun but quite labour intensive. If there are tools that would make certain things easier I could hold off certain Clean/Check tasks until FH7 is released.

 

On Wed, 6 May 2020, 10:53 Mike Tate, <post@...> wrote:

Hi Terry,

To avoid any misunderstanding, presumably GPS does not mean Global Positioning System but Genealogical Proof Standard.

See https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/The_Genealogical_Proof_Standard_(National_Institute)

 

Not only does FH V7 have word-processing but also Source Citation Templates that may help with your GPS.

 

Regards, Mike Tate

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of claverterry
Sent: 06 May 2020 10:30
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

I have used the current situation to take a 6 week online family history course (free at this time) with the University of Strathclyde. As part of that, I have been introduced to GPS. My reaction is that I have largely followed the spirit of the Proof Standard, but then again, I will formerly carry this out for direct ancestors.
I think I will have to construct a blank form, to ease the formal procedure, to use for each genealogical question being answered [the simplest examples  being 'who are the parents?' and 'who is the spouse?'].
I have 2 questions: (1) Has anyone else gone through this process formally and embedded the statements/reports in FH6? (2) Will the word processing facilities in the fabled FH7 help to embed such proof statements/reports?  
Context: I have nearly 6k people on my tree and have been building it for about 12 years. I started with Legacy software then FTM but moved to FH6 3 years ago - what a wonderful piece of software. Custom queries are helping me to tidy up the information well.
regards Terry

 

Virus-free. www.avast.com


claverterry
 

The Identification-of-Caroline-Ellen-Brown.pdf is interesting, valuable as an example of the fundamentals, but also in that it includes such a diverse range of techniques. Thank you for sharing. I have yet to exploit my atDNA results.  And I have areas of the tree, back before 1800, where the FAN technique will be valuable. 1800 onwards is generally straightforward on my tree.

It is one of those ironies of life, that at the moment when there is most time to give to things one likes (FH7 and Sport), they are not available :-(  The commercial in confidence aspect is, of course, understandable, Mike.

regards Terry


colevalleygirl@colevalleygirl.co.uk
 

Terry, it was a brick wall I’d had for nearly 18 years, so you can imagine how happy I was when a chink in the wall appeared.

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of claverterry
Sent: 06 May 2020 16:47
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

The Identification-of-Caroline-Ellen-Brown.pdf is interesting, valuable as an example of the fundamentals, but also in that it includes such a diverse range of techniques. Thank you for sharing. I have yet to exploit my atDNA results.  And I have areas of the tree, back before 1800, where the FAN technique will be valuable. 1800 onwards is generally straightforward on my tree.

It is one of those ironies of life, that at the moment when there is most time to give to things one likes (FH7 and Sport), they are not available :-(  The commercial in confidence aspect is, of course, understandable, Mike.

regards Terry


Jan Murphy
 

Hello Terry --

A couple of points.  A) You may already be aware that the Strathclyde course (and Family Historian itself) uses the term "primary" and "secondary" in a way that differs from the usage in the USA where people are following the model of Elizabeth Shown Mills and her book Evidence Explained. For your reference, here are a few links that might be of interest.  (I took the Future Learn course when it was first offered and Mills' work was mentioned in passing with little discussion.) 

This shows Mills' method of evidence analysis, where "primary" and "secondary" refer to the information inside the sources. Sources themselves are treated as containers separate from the information and are described as "original" vs. "derivative" (e.g. indexes are derivative) or authored. 

If you are curious about the development of Mills' model, she makes an article available via her website Historic Pathways.  https://www.historicpathways.com/articles.html 

Working with Historical Evidence from NGSQ's special issue talks about why the earlier model of "primary" and "secondary" sources is not sufficient for genealogy. You can also download the earlier version of the Process Map.

Until you are comfortable working through the evidence analysis, you may want some guides. Some people like Evidentia software, which will generate a report about what you've done already. I have not tried incorporating my Evidentia reports into Family Historian.  Take a look at the Training and Support on the navigation bar to see a step-by-step guide, which will give you a quick overview of how the program works.  Currently the reports can be generated in PDF or HTML format. I haven't yet tried incorporating reports from Evidentia into Family Historian, but I suppose one could copy and paste into a Note. We'll have to see wait for the new version of FH to see what's improved there. 

Other useful links about the GPS:
Genealogy Explained's Genealogical Proof Standard flowchart

Board for Certification of Genealogists website.  See the Ten Minute Methodology section for examples of proof statements and proof summaries. I also recommend looking at the work samples, the articles from OnBoard, and other materials in the Skillbuilding area. 

Jan Murphy


claverterry
 

Jan...so helpful. Thank you.
I must admit that, while I am familiar with a lot on the course, being introduced to GPS and the FAN family as examples of formal, critical approach has made the effort worthwhile ... as well as the many useful tips and links, of course. And there's a week and half to go! (before I can delve more deeply into your links). FH6 is great for storing and retrieving information and records. There is much to clean up, transcriptions to add, etc. which are things you become aware of having moved from other (lesser) software. But now, there are other areas of interest too. And so many stories still remainng to develop and write up.
Thanks again.
Terry


Mike Tate
 

I don’t consider the FH Assessments of Primary evidence and Secondary evidence as applicable to the Source as a whole.

Instead, they apply to the Fact and the Citation with respect to the information within the Source that provides the proof.

 

For example, a Death Certificate provides Primary evidence of the Date & Place of Death, but the Date of Birth derived from the Age or Birth Date found in the Death Certificate is Secondary evidence or even Questionable evidence, because that is not contemporary information.

 

See the FHUG Knowledge Base article on Getting Started with Genealogy Research and Source Citations:

https://www.fhug.org.uk/wiki/doku.php?id=research:getting_started#record_your_findings

 

I realise it is not as rigorous as Elizabeth Shown Mills but perhaps not as different as you suggest.

 

Regards, Mike Tate

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of Jan Murphy
Sent: 06 May 2020 19:50
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

Hello Terry --

 

A couple of points.  A) You may already be aware that the Strathclyde course (and Family Historian itself) uses the term "primary" and "secondary" in a way that differs from the usage in the USA where people are following the model of Elizabeth Shown Mills and her book Evidence Explained. For your reference, here are a few links that might be of interest.  (I took the Future Learn course when it was first offered and Mills' work was mentioned in passing with little discussion.) 

 

This shows Mills' method of evidence analysis, where "primary" and "secondary" refer to the information inside the sources. Sources themselves are treated as containers separate from the information and are described as "original" vs. "derivative" (e.g. indexes are derivative) or authored. 

If you are curious about the development of Mills' model, she makes an article available via her website Historic Pathways.  https://www.historicpathways.com/articles.html 

 

Working with Historical Evidence from NGSQ's special issue talks about why the earlier model of "primary" and "secondary" sources is not sufficient for genealogy. You can also download the earlier version of the Process Map.

Until you are comfortable working through the evidence analysis, you may want some guides. Some people like Evidentia software, which will generate a report about what you've done already. I have not tried incorporating my Evidentia reports into Family Historian.  Take a look at the Training and Support on the navigation bar to see a step-by-step guide, which will give you a quick overview of how the program works.  Currently the reports can be generated in PDF or HTML format. I haven't yet tried incorporating reports from Evidentia into Family Historian, but I suppose one could copy and paste into a Note. We'll have to see wait for the new version of FH to see what's improved there. 

Other useful links about the GPS:
Genealogy Explained's Genealogical Proof Standard flowchart

 

Board for Certification of Genealogists website.  See the Ten Minute Methodology section for examples of proof statements and proof summaries. I also recommend looking at the work samples, the articles from OnBoard, and other materials in the Skillbuilding area. 

 

Jan Murphy


Virus-free. www.avast.com


Adrian Bruce
 

Philosophy warning:-

On Wed, 6 May 2020 at 19:50, Jan Murphy ... wrote:
... You may already be aware that the Strathclyde course (and Family Historian itself) uses the term "primary" and "secondary" in a way that differs from the usage in the USA where people are following the model of Elizabeth Shown Mills and her book Evidence Explained. ...
I've always thought that there was a little more to it than that, Jan.
As Mike says, the Primary / Secondary attribute sits on the link
between "fact" and source-record, so it is, quite naturally, easily
applied to the particular information inside the source relevant to
that fact. A census schedule, for instance, contains primary info
about occupation (say) and secondary about a birth.

The bit that I can't get my head around is that the US definition of
Primary (info) appears to depend solely on whether the knowledge is
first hand or not. So a 90y old mother would be regarded as providing
Primary info about the birth of her child 70y previously. Regardless
of any memory problems that might, or might not, apply. The typical UK
definition of primary puts an extra criteria (criterion?) about being
close to the event, so would regard the 90y old mother as providing
secondary info, directly encouraging a degree of scepticism about the
info being provided.

I have to say that code values in FH for original / derivative and
direct / indirect / negative from US practice would be most welcome.
(A lack of code values doesn't stop you thinking about those concepts,
of course). However, even there, once I start thinking about it,
things start to crumble a bit. I did once ask in another place
(BetterGEDCOM? Don't think it was StackExchange...) about the IGI and
other indexes. The process of creating an index clearly creates a
Derivative. What is the information though? Primary or Secondary? It
doesn't make sense to drop it down to Secondary, because that's simply
repeating the fact that it's a Derivative. So that means, and this was
the consensus reply, the IGI and other indexes provide Derivative /
Primary info. This seems weird. In fact it then becomes (to get really
philosophical) difficult to see how information becomes Secondary
because the transformation it goes through is already taken care of in
the change from Original to Derivative. Something, I feel, is missing
from the definitions.

Adrian


Ian Thirlwell <fh.thirlwell@...>
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Adrian Bruce
Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 10:55 PM
To: Family Historian Groups.io mailing list
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

Philosophy warning:-

On Wed, 6 May 2020 at 19:50, Jan Murphy ... wrote:
... You may already be aware that the Strathclyde course (and Family Historian itself) uses the term "primary" and "secondary" in a way that differs from the usage in the USA where people are following the model of Elizabeth Shown Mills and her book Evidence Explained. ...
I've always thought that there was a little more to it than that, Jan.
As Mike says, the Primary / Secondary attribute sits on the link
between "fact" and source-record, so it is, quite naturally, easily
applied to the particular information inside the source relevant to
that fact. A census schedule, for instance, contains primary info
about occupation (say) and secondary about a birth.

The bit that I can't get my head around is that the US definition of
Primary (info) appears to depend solely on whether the knowledge is
first hand or not. So a 90y old mother would be regarded as providing
Primary info about the birth of her child 70y previously. Regardless
of any memory problems that might, or might not, apply. The typical UK
definition of primary puts an extra criteria (criterion?) about being
close to the event, so would regard the 90y old mother as providing
secondary info, directly encouraging a degree of scepticism about the
info being provided.

I have to say that code values in FH for original / derivative and
direct / indirect / negative from US practice would be most welcome.
(A lack of code values doesn't stop you thinking about those concepts,
of course). However, even there, once I start thinking about it,
things start to crumble a bit. I did once ask in another place
(BetterGEDCOM? Don't think it was StackExchange...) about the IGI and
other indexes. The process of creating an index clearly creates a
Derivative. What is the information though? Primary or Secondary? It
doesn't make sense to drop it down to Secondary, because that's simply
repeating the fact that it's a Derivative. So that means, and this was
the consensus reply, the IGI and other indexes provide Derivative /
Primary info. This seems weird. In fact it then becomes (to get really
philosophical) difficult to see how information becomes Secondary
because the transformation it goes through is already taken care of in
the change from Original to Derivative. Something, I feel, is missing
from the definitions.

Adrian


Jan Murphy
 

Before I address this, I'd like to drop in one more link to Dr. Thomas W. Jones' article Perils of Source Snobbery from OnBoard 18 (May 2012).

On Wed, May 6, 2020 at 2:55 PM Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:

The bit that I can't get my head around is that the US definition of
Primary (info) appears to depend solely on whether the knowledge is
first hand or not. So a 90y old mother would be regarded as providing
Primary info about the birth of her child 70y previously. Regardless
of any memory problems that might, or might not, apply. The typical UK
definition of primary puts an extra criteria (criterion?) about being
close to the event, so would regard the 90y old mother as providing
secondary info, directly encouraging a degree of scepticism about the
info being provided.

Note what Elizabeth Shown Mills says in Quicklesson 17:

Primary information: that is, information based on firsthand knowledge. Primary informants tell us about events or circumstances they personally participated in or witnessed. They might provide that information at or about the time the event occurred or at a later date. A time lapse might affect the quality of the recollection, but it does not alter the primary nature of the information.

Of course we take the time lapse between the event and the recording of the event into account.  But that's a separate issue from whether someone was an eyewitness to the event vs. having "somebody said so" knowledge.  And no matter what terms we use to refer to it, we have to correlate the information with other evidence and analyze what we've found.  If we're talking about a relationship found in a record, for instance, without analysis we're only doing kinship acceptance, not kinship determination (see Dr. Thomas W. Jones' handout for his FamilySearch class on Inferential Genealogy (PDF Download) (Wiki article) 

I have to say that code values in FH for original / derivative and
direct / indirect / negative from US practice would be most welcome.
(A lack of code values doesn't stop you thinking about those concepts,
of course).

Direct / indirect / negative evidence (i.e. "the dog that did not bark", which is not the same as negative findings "I searched but I couldn't find a record") applies when we are answering a research question. This might be more appropriate for a research report instead of flagging things up in Family Historian.  
 
However, even there, once I start thinking about it,
things start to crumble a bit. I did once ask in another place
(BetterGEDCOM? Don't think it was StackExchange...) about the IGI and
other indexes. The process of creating an index clearly creates a
Derivative. What is the information though? Primary or Secondary? It
doesn't make sense to drop it down to Secondary, because that's simply
repeating the fact that it's a Derivative. So that means, and this was
the consensus reply, the IGI and other indexes provide Derivative /
Primary info. This seems weird. In fact it then becomes (to get really
philosophical) difficult to see how information becomes Secondary
because the transformation it goes through is already taken care of in
the change from Original to Derivative. Something, I feel, is missing
from the definitions.

Mills says, in her article “Working with Historical Evidence,” [pages 180-181]:

 Above all, the researcher must resist the temptation to view “proof” as the sum of an equation. Validity cannot be calculated by a simple formula such as
 
Original + Primary + Direct > Derivative + Secondary + Indirect
 
Nor can validity be quantified by assigning points to these basic elements. Rather, the bottom line is this: Can the evidence drawn from this source’s information be considered accurate? Can it be trusted as a credible indication of what the original facts
were? The physical qualities of the source, the nature of the information, and the directness of the evidence are merely the skeletal framework upon which we balance our material while we apply the finer tests of credibility. Those tests will vary infinitely, depending upon the type of each source, the specific pieces of information involved, and our perception of their meanings.   
 
The situation can be summed up nicely by a phrase often used by Judy G. Russell:  "It depends."

If you have a derivative source such as the Massachusetts 5-year indexes of Births, Marriages, or Deaths, the information in the index is a pointer to the original records.  We have to take into account that the primary information in the original source has undergone at least one round of copying and perhaps more before we get to the printed volumes that we can view on Ancestry.  We need to understand the purpose for which the index was made (despite what many hobbyists might think, it wasn't created for genealogists to copy & paste into their databases). But the information in the index is still primary information.

Contrast this with the information in the NEHGS' Vital Records to 1850 books, which gathers information from a wide variety of sources. I have a birth date which can be found in the volume Vital Records of West Springfield to the year 1850 -- it was taken from a gravestone record (memorial inscription) in a cemetery. This is how I have a record for someone born in Germany before 1850 in this record of information from Massachusetts. Whichever way you look at it, this is secondary information -- the stone was likely ordered by descendants who were born after the event, it was created long after the deceased's birth date, and another layer or more of copying has happened in the creation of the printed volume.


 
Jan Murphy
Moderator Pro Tempore


Adrian Bruce
 

Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian


Hilary
 

There are many times when we are analysing the records we use that we could say that someone was being economical with the truth. Providing proof and discussing the reason why we have put more weight on one piece of information rather than another is something we should all be doing when there are conflicting pieces of information. Evidentia was created to help us deal with this.

Hilary


On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 13:34, Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:
Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian




Jenny Cochrane
 

I am finding this discussion very interesting and reflects many features of a brick wall it took me years to solve. 

A woman in my family tree built a whole new life for herself in order to drag herself up the social ladder and conceal her rather dodgy personal history. Born in the slums of Dundee in 1863, she always claimed she was born in France, but fortunately she did give an accurate DOB. Her first son was illegitimate but she always claimed a spurious surname for him and a putative father who I may or may not have identified correctly. She lied about her marriage on several census to conceal the fact that her 2nd son was also illegitimate (born to her eventual husband). So in theory, she could be seen as a primary source, but in fact she was entirely untrustworthy and lied consistently on numerous official documents.

It was only when her son included her maiden name as her middle name (another fib) on his WW1 next of kin record that I followed that as a lead. It led to his maternal grandmother and hence to the real and honestly recorded, Scottish birth record and his mother's true identity. Incidentally when this woman did eventually marry, she gave her mother's occupation as "annuitant" when in fact she was a linen worker who died in the workhouse!

It was the accumulation of many documents across 3 generations that led me to discern truth from lies and be sure I had conclusive proof.

Jenny

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 13:34:49 BST, Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:


Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian




Julia Vokes
 

Thank you Jenny for sharing your story.  I’m sure it will resonate with many of us!

Julia


On 7 May 2020, at 15:21, Jenny Cochrane via groups.io <cochranejenny@...> wrote:


I am finding this discussion very interesting and reflects many features of a brick wall it took me years to solve. 

A woman in my family tree built a whole new life for herself in order to drag herself up the social ladder and conceal her rather dodgy personal history. Born in the slums of Dundee in 1863, she always claimed she was born in France, but fortunately she did give an accurate DOB. Her first son was illegitimate but she always claimed a spurious surname for him and a putative father who I may or may not have identified correctly. She lied about her marriage on several census to conceal the fact that her 2nd son was also illegitimate (born to her eventual husband). So in theory, she could be seen as a primary source, but in fact she was entirely untrustworthy and lied consistently on numerous official documents.

It was only when her son included her maiden name as her middle name (another fib) on his WW1 next of kin record that I followed that as a lead. It led to his maternal grandmother and hence to the real and honestly recorded, Scottish birth record and his mother's true identity. Incidentally when this woman did eventually marry, she gave her mother's occupation as "annuitant" when in fact she was a linen worker who died in the workhouse!

It was the accumulation of many documents across 3 generations that led me to discern truth from lies and be sure I had conclusive proof.

Jenny

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 13:34:49 BST, Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:


Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian




Jan Murphy
 

Adrian --

You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. 

I'm going to be very persnickity here but bear with me while I clarify

1) Calling your 90 year old mother "a primary source" is journalism usage.  In ESM's evidence anaylysis map, primary refers to the *information* not the source (container).
2) There are human languages which have data source as a required element ('linguistic postulate'), just as English has singular and plural.  If you were speaking such a language, you would describe your mother's utterance as "someone said so" (instead of your own direct knowledge, or the historical "No one alive could know" etc.)  If your mother chose to describe her own direct knowledge as "someone said so" rather than asserting her own direct knowledge, that could be viewed as deceptive, etc. In short, the categories are what they are, whether we use them correctly or not.

It's confusing enough dealing with the collision of primary/secondary being used two different ways on either side of the Atlantic and being used differently depending on what discipline we're in.  You might consider that the information is only as valid as a secondary source, but if your mother was a participant, the information is still primary information, just low-quality because of the distance.







Jan Murphy
Moderator Pro Tempore



On Thu, May 7, 2020 at 5:34 AM Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:
Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian