The chronicle of this woman's perpetual game of hide-and-seek with her ancestors
In my previous post, I had some questions about sources, analysis, conclusions, and how they work together.
As luck would have it, I’ve also been participating in the Evidentia webinars and Google Hangouts with DearMYRTLE, Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana, Russ Worthington, and Ed Thompson (creator of Evidentia). I was a beta tester for Evidentia and have become quite fond of this little nugget of software superiority (but I’m not biased). You can see my review of Evidentia here.
This past Monday night, DearMYRTLE hosted the second webinar in the series “What’s Evidentia?” We discussed analysis of evidence, culminating into a written conclusion. Because I had been entering data since beta and had gone through all the steps, I was happy to share some of the analysis I had done.
Sure, it looks confusing. But it makes perfect sense; or at least it WILL.
I am fast-forwarding past the part where I enter my source citation – it’s boring, and Russ pretty much covered it here.
First, I enter a claim (see the red circles), or assertion, that my source makes. In this case, it is that my great grandfather was 29 years old on 1 Jul 1917. No analysis is taking place at this point, only data entry. I attach the claim to a subject (Louis Phelisa Lanctot) and a claim type (birth), and indicate the quality of the information (primary, secondary, etc.). This tells the software how to group my claims so they can be analyzed together. That claim is then carried forward into the evidence analysis screen. Laura has an extensive blog post about these steps here.
Second, I analyze the evidence (blue circles), taking into consideration whether the source is original or derivative; whether the information is primary, secondary, or unknown; and whether it directly, indirectly, or negatively answers my question. I can write my analysis in whatever way makes it easiest for me to reach my conclusion. This analysis, along with the claim, is carried forward to the proof report.
Lastly, using my analysis of the evidence, I create a “soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion” per the Genealogical Proof Standard (green circles). You cannot type anything in this box until you have an analysis for each claim. If you add another claim for this claim type, the conclusion will be flagged for further analysis. This conclusion is carried through to the proof report as well.
When all is said and done, you have a nice report that lists your subject, the claim type (birth, death, etc.), followed by your conclusion and the supporting analysis of each claim, and the claim itself. This can be printed and placed in your ancestor file, or saved to your digital files, or copied and pasted into your family tree program.
See? I told you it would make perfect sense. Because the program is source-based instead of person-based or event-based, it forces you to look at your data from an entirely different angle, which is always a good idea.
Both of DearMYRTLE’s Evidentia webinars are available for viewing here. The Google+ Hangouts on Air can be viewed on DearMYRTLE’s YouTube channel (the second Hangout is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6 at 9:00 p.m. EST).
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to download the FREE trial version (that’s an affiliate link right there) and play around with it. I predict you will have at least one “ah-ha” moment within an hour or two of starting to enter your data. There are some helpful posts and tutorial videos on the Evidentia website to get you started.
Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of the software for participating in the beta testing – but I have not received any compensation for my views and opinions. I truly believe that this software will change the way you think about your genealogical evidence, otherwise I wouldn’t endorse it, much less become an affiliate.
Do we share any ancestors?