Evidentia and Mastering Genealogical Proof


As many of you know, the National Genealogical Society recently released the new book Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, CG, CGL, FASG.  Since then, I think nearly every person in the known universe has ordered a copy (or picked it up at the NGS conference last week), and most of those have been delivered.

True to form, Ed Thompson (developer of Evidentia) has been studying his copy of the book and has made a few changes to the software to reflect the new information provided by Tom Jones.  So what, exactly, are these changes, and how will they affect your research?

1. New Source Classification category.

In Chapter 2 of Mastering Genealogical Proof, Tom Jones adds a new classification for sources: Authored Works.  This category includes published or unpublished genealogies, city/county/state histories, etc.  What it doesn’t include is any work that does not reflect analysis and/or conclusions reached by the author.  For example, a booklet containing transcripts of marriage records would NOT be considered an authored work.  It would be a derivative of original records.

Authored work

2. New Information Classification category.

Also in Chapter 2, information is given a new classification: Indeterminable.  This category is used when the provider of information in a particular source is not known.  For example, in census enumerations prior to 1940, the informant is not identified (and sometimes not even in the 1940 census).  Because we have no idea who provided the information to the census enumerator, it would be listed as indeterminable.



These are some other fancy updates that weren’t made because of the book, but because the people asked for them …

3. Update to the Mini-Editor

The awesome mini-editor that allows you to continuously enter claims made by  a source without switching back and forth between Evidentia and your document has been made even MORE awesome!  Now, instead of having to click the little “+” button to go to the next item, you can use “Ctrl+Enter.”  My wrists thank you, Ed.

4. GEDCOM Import of Subjects

Folks have been clamoring for a way to get their GEDCOM into Evidentia for a while, and they have been heard!  Developer Ed Thompson has provided this video tutorial showing how easy it is.  You should refer to your specific genealogy program’s instructions for how to export to a GEDCOM from the database.

5. GEDCOM Export

You can watch an excellent tutorial on how to export your GEDCOM in this new video on Evidentia’s YouTube channel.

6. New Options for Source Citations

Apparently not everyone cites their genealogy sources according to Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained.  Some people like other citation styles (though I can’t imagine why).  So the citation options now include the Chicago Manual of Style.

Chicago Manual of Style

7. Auto-Population of Residence Claim Type

It seldom occurs to me to add a “residence” claim type when I’m inputting another claim type.  For example … if you are inputting information from a marriage record, do you automatically think “oh, I better include a claim that this person lived in this area”?  Yeah, me either.  Evidentia now has options that allow you to automatically add a residence claim when you add certain other claim types – such as births, deaths, and marriages.  While each of these claim types will not always warrant a residence claim (think gretna green marriages, etc.), more often than not a person was married in or near the area where they lived.

Program Options

8. New 5 Most Recent Claim Types

This is not a feature that I utilize very much because I find it easier to start typing the claim type and let it narrow down the list for me instead — but that’s just me.  If you use the drop-down list to enter your claims, this will make life a little easier for you.  For example, if you are entering information from a census record for a family you will likely be entering the same claim types over and over.  Now you can just click on the drop-down menu and your 5 most recent claim types will be at the top of the list.

Top 5 listThese are just some of the features in Evidentia.  I encourage you to take a look at Evidentia’s website and YouTube channel … or better yet, take it for a spin (it’s free to try!)  You can check it out here (affiliate link).


Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

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3 thoughts on “Evidentia and Mastering Genealogical Proof

  1. Fantastic article – thank you, I will definitly go check it out! Thanks again.

  2. More important than the “5 Most Recent Claim Types” feature is the “5 Most Recent Subjects” feature, since Subjects do NOT have auto fill!

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