Friday, January 29, 2010

January ProGen 3 Assignment....phew!!

I'm completely burned out...well, maybe not completely. :) But I've just finished this month's ProGen assignment and it was rough. The topic was Evidence Analysis and it focused on the proper way to weigh and work with the evidence you have compiled to come to a well-founded conclusion. The assignment was to choose a subject that you've worked on in the past/been working on recently and gather all of your evidence together. Take the evidence and state what each item is (whether it is a census schedule, tax record, vital record, etc), what information it gives relating to the fact you're trying to prove, whether it is original/derivative, whether it gives primary/secondary information, whether it gives direct/indirect evidence, and whether it's credible. At the end of all of that, you state your conclusion based on the chart that you have created and what all of the evidence included tells you, how much weight to place on each, etc. What you're left with is what appears to be a chart which you can then use to write a formal proof report. As much as this entails a huge amount of work, it is so worth having that visual. It's really going to come in handy later on when we tackle that dreaded proof argument for a fact which is proved without the benefit of direct evidence.

To give a better idea of what these charts we are working on look like, you can check out pg 336 in Professional Genealogy or the back of the front cover of Evidence Explained. I think I may also try to find a way to get my own chart attached somehow. I'd love to get some feedback because some of the determinations made were not exactly clear-cut.


  1. It was interesting to see the different ways my peer group presented their assignments. I used the chart literally and answered each question for each item. I made mine into a timeline, because it makes it easier to understand the issue at hand. I agree that the determinations weren't clear cut. It was a conversation starter in our chat.

  2. Ours too, Amy. Most of the people in my group also made a literal chart and answered the questions for each item. I left the conclusions until the end rather than making a conclusion for each fact. One of the topic starters for our group was what to include, ie. if each census was needed, etc. It was definitely interesting.