[APG Public List] Genealogical Proof Standard (Was The reliabilityof federal census records for genealogi...)

Jeanette Daniels jeanettedaniels8667 at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 4 10:32:43 MST 2009

I didn't say that the GPS forces something to be right.  The concept that there has to be a proof argument for everything is what may be confusing to some.  Take Helen Leary's wonderful article about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.  I don't have it in front of me.  In fact, I'm not in Salt Lake City.  I'm out of town for a few days.  There were a couple of weak spots in the article where Helen tried to explain her rationale for the conclusions she didn't have sources to back up.  Helen accepted the false birth date information available on the Internet for Thomas Jefferson's brother's children were rumored to have fathered Sally Heming's children instead of Thomas Jefferson.    
My HGC course at SLCC, took those weak areas and found sources (tax records, census records, TJ's farm book) and disproved the birth dates. The article may be read at these links:  http://genealogy.edu/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=3543 and http://genealogy.edu/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=3541  Note that the HGC software blackens any words considered to be offensive.  Some names have an added space so that you don't just see a dark spot on the page.  
The point is that careful, thorough research usually negates the need to force an opinion mixed with personal rationale in order to make a genealogical research point work.  The presentation and use of different sources is much stronger than trying to prove a point with research source gaps.  
That said, Helen's article was wonderful and a groundbreaking piece of work.  She, like all of us, didn't expect the deception of some of the Thomas Jefferson inlaws trying to protect what they considered a blemish on TJ's character.

From: "eshown at comcast.net" <eshown at comcast.net>
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Sent: Wed, November 4, 2009 9:49:18 AM
Subject: [APG Public List] Genealogical Proof Standard (Was The reliabilityof federal census records for genealogi...)

Jeanette wrote:
> If you are constantly trying to determine how an individual source measures up to the GPS, you have missed the point of what research is (generally the use of multiple sources to come to conclusions) and what it proves.
Jeanette, if someone is “constantly trying to determine how an individual source measures up to the GPS,” then they’ve misunderstood the GPS. The GPS is not the culprit. It is an explicit statement of the principles you call for—the use of wide-ranging sources, sound research methodology, and analytical reasoning.
> As genealogists, we should never "force something to be right." 
Here, Jeanette, I’m puzzled again. How does the GPS “force something to to be right”?

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