BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Thomas Jones on “Debunking Misleading Records”

Please welcome guest blogger Judy Kellar Fox, CGSM

The buzz in Las Vegas is about Thomas W. Jones’ Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013), just released and available for sale now at the NGS booth in the Exhibition Hall.  It promises to be our guide to excellent research.  His first talk of this conference, “Debunking Misleading Records,” offers an expanded look at some topics in the book.

Tom opened by asking, “How many of you have encountered misleading records?”  Laughter, with many hands raised.  He then asked, “How many of you have not?”  More laughter, but no hands.  He showed a great slide of a Family Tree Maker Family Archive tree with all the mistaken information marked.  The sheet bleeds red with corrected names, dates, and facts, all determined after careful investigation of the type he proposes.

This lighthearted introduction gave way to a look at two aspects of the Genealogical Proof Standard: no. 3, analysis and correlation of information, and no. 4, resolution of conflicting evidence.  Tom pointed out how records can mislead, then demonstrated ways to test and prove errors.  He based his examples on three articles from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ):

Melinda Daffin Henningfield, “Determining Linnie Leigh Gray’s Birth Date,” NGSQ 98 (December 2010): 245-50.

Allen R. Peterson, “Who Were the Parents of Charlotte Ann Williams of Flint, Michigan? A Death Certificate with a Half-Truth,” NGSQ 98 (September 2010): 177-88.

Richard A. Hayden, “Resolving the Inexplicable: The Marriage Bond of Archibald Young and Lettice Morgan,” NGSQ (March 2007): 5-16.

It’s disconcerting to think that we have to be suspicious of all the records we use, but since we must, this talk shows the way!

This session has been recorded. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session W121 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

Judy reports, “Blogging is a recent activity for me, inspired by a need to share family mementos and photos with members of the younger generation, to reach them with a medium they use.  That’s Ancestors from the Attic (http://foxkellar.blogspot.com).  I’ve also been experimenting with a blog as serialized research report: Pinpointing Dennis Buggy’s Irish Origins (http://foxkellarbuggy.blogspot.com).  It allows me to demonstrate and explain good practices with each post.”

 

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