ARCHIVED: AmericaGen Study Group Chapter 4 “Evidence”

AmericaGen Study Group

Shelley Murphy and Chari Hudson Passey served as coordinators, compiling panelist homework and co-moderating this discussion about evaluating evidence.

Val Greenwoods bookSYLLABUS
The Researchers Guide to American Genealogy 4th Edition by Val D. Greenwood, 2017 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.) Available in paperback.

Register for future sessions here

DearMYRTLE’s AmericaGen Study Group – Chapter 4 combined homework

The conversation continues HERE – 



10:00:49 From Cousin Russ : Researchers Guide to American Genealogy 4th Edition by Val D. Greenwood, 2017 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.). This week we’re discussing Chapter 4 “Evidence” with examples from panelists’ research.
10:00:51 From Sheri Fenley : Good Morning everyone from sunny California!
10:01:20 From Lisa Gorrell : Good morning everyone from sunny Salt Lake City.
10:01:59 From Cousin Russ : DearMYRTLE’s AmericaGen Study Group – Chapter 4 combined homework
10:02:04 From Melinda Culpon : Good morning from not humid Texas!
10:02:12 From Jack Gracey : Good morning to all from cool, rainy Massachusetts
10:02:39 From Sir Leprchaunrabbit : good morning from a snow-free (finally) Alberta; sound issues, BRB
10:02:40 From Diana Watson : Good morning from NW Pennsylvania.

10:06:17 From Cousin Russ : See Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL “Evidence Revisited: DNA, POE, and GPS,” OnBoard 4 (January 1998), published in paper and online by the Board for Certification of Genealogists ( : Viewed 25 April 2018.)

10:07:33 From Cousin Russ : [Subscription site-well worth the $]
10:08:31 From Lisa Gorrell : Plus when you are a member, you get the handout with the webinar.
10:09:08 From Irene : Love these webinars. I keep adding to my subscription every time they offer a discount, sometimes 1/2 price. I think up to expiring 2021.
10:09:46 From Cyndy Bray : Also, there are many webinars for members only
10:10:29 From Lisa Gorrell : Good point, Cyndy.

The Legal Genealogist

10:13:20 From Cousin Russ : Judy Russell’s webinars about genealogy and the law.
10:13:36 From Cousin Russ :
10:14:49 From June Butka : In New Hampshire You can now go to your local town clerk for 1930 births, 1965 marriages and 1960 deaths, early ones are at state level.
10:15:05 From Roxanne Basey : Confusion: ESM says information is primary or secondary and evidence is direct or indirect. Greenwood says evidence is original/firsthand or secondary. And their definition of direct and indirect are different. This was my confusion and I’m still not clear.
10:15:28 From June Butka : PS. If those records were in any New Hampshire town without traveling to the town.

10:17:33 From Liberty Evanko to All panelists : I am here but I caught the end of Shelley covering my stuff. Sounds like she did great. Thank you.

10:18:09 From Roxanne Basey : But the definition of direct and indirect are different too. That is a big difference to me.
10:18:45 From Roxanne Basey : ESM says direct is relevance to question and indirect in inadequate relevance.
10:19:26 From Randi Patrick : Keeping in mind with the investigative process, sources, records, documents and/or evidence is considered to be from a primary or secondary source. Better definitions could be found in a legal dictionary
10:19:31 From Roxanne Basey : Greenwood says that direct is evidence that standing alone it answers the question.
10:20:43 From Roxanne Basey : That’s not quite right. Because direct evidence per ESM can be inaccurate
10:21:14 From Roxanne Basey : Direct per ESM does not have to be accurate and does not have to answer the question. The relevance question is different.
10:21:29 From Roxanne Basey : But according to Greenwood it CANNOT be inaccurate. It MUST be correct.

10:21:34 From Jackie Wilson : Could “collateral” refer to collateral people aka FAN? [Friends, associates and neighbors]
10:22:49 From Danine Cozzens : I thought that “collateral” was a legal term which Greenwood applied to genealogy. But it’s a rich source for FAN evidence!

10:28:56 From Cyndy Bray : What do you do if your conflict comes from unsourced trees?
10:30:06 From Roxanne Basey : How did you verify that the list was in land order?

10:30:46 From Danine Cozzens : My very question being answered, Lisa! Knowing how the parcels relate is important.
10:31:18 From Deb Andrew : When did they go, Alabama and Mississippi’s state line changed.
10:31:27 From Molly McKinley : I have found probate records for the same man in Alabama where he died and in Arkansas where his sons moved to.

10:35:13 From Irene : Cyndy, if I use a tree for info on one of my brick walls, I add the person, any dates and places, and a note that it came from this tree and why I think it’s appropriate to add on a temp basis. Then I start looking for the records to verify myself. I only do this when I have a good reference back to the match/tree and think I can find the proof.

10:37:20 From Lisa Gorrell to Roxanne Basey and all panelists : I was seeing the whole book and could see it listed by Township and Range.
10:39:37 From Shelley Murphy : Judy Russell when worlds collide
10:40:37 From Lisa Gorrell : It’s trying to figure out the motivation of the informant is important.
10:54:04 From Lisa Gorrell : Sometimes parents raise the children of one of their children as their own.
11:08:10 From Jackie Wilson : I use online trees as hints only!
11:08:41 From June Butka : Some trees have the source in comments. they don’t know how to add the new source.

11:08:51 From Valerie Lisk : Does Judy have When Worlds Collide online?
Judy Russell’s “When Worlds Collide” webinar

11:09:25 From June Butka : Trees are turned off for my searches. unless I have no other hints.
11:09:27 From Valerie Lisk : thank you!
11:12:14 From June Butka : Don’t forget to date your comments or notes. Also if a web page, save the page. For example, RootsWeb is down, but I have the screen capture from when I found it.

11:12:44 From Cousin Russ : The Written Conclusion – a DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group
11:13:12 From Shelley Murphy : great point June, I have to remember that
11:13:34 From Lisa Gorrell : The conclusion is what you’re using to answer the research question.
11:14:12 From Lisa Gorrell : I put my conclusions in the notes section of each event in my RootsMagic.
11:14:53 From June Butka : If there is a diary of the doctor on the field, you may have another source to view.
11:15:49 From June Butka : Same here, DearMyrt.
11:16:49 From Shelley Murphy : on my timeline there is a column for notes and questions and then what’s next.
11:17:33 From Shelley Murphy : get a genealogy buddy can help too
11:19:57 From Cousin Russ : OUR CONVERSATION CONTINUES


The all-new Professional Genealogy was announced this morning by Genealogical Publishing Company.Professional Genealogy PPS

11:21:42 From Deb Andrew : Yes. I ordered the new one. DH said I could keep the old one I just received.
11:21:54 From Roxanne Basey : I am so excited. I got invited to join Pro Gen with this new book.
11:23:31 From Cousin Russ :
11:23:57 From Molly McKinley : Great class
11:25:38 From Jackie Wilson : I have family in Columbiana county, OH!
11:25:51 From Lisa Gorrell : Gotta run. Great session!.

This DearMYRTLE Event is presented at no cost. If you find the information useful, consider the Pay What You Want business model Ol’ Myrt employs:

DearMYRTLE's Profile Pic
Myrt’s Musings

Here’s the link to DearMYRTLE’s Event Calendar –

Here’s the link to the GeneaWebinars Blog & Calendar of other genealogy webinars, chats and hangouts –



Videos: QuickLessons Study Group

New followers may benefit from our ESM’s Quick Lesson Study Group wherein we discussed the works of Elizabeth Shown Mills. Our syllabus material included the QuickLessons located at  Study group panel participants prepared in advance for each session, submitting homework describing how the principles discussed in that week’s specific QuickLesson have and or will have an impact in our own genealogical research. Embedded below is the YouTube version (without comments and notes). It is in “playlist format” meaning when one video has played, then next on the list will begin automatically. If you wish to view the video and all comments/links posted during the live hangout, that listing appears below the playlist video.

ESM QuickLesson 1: Analysis & Citation Study Group Session (video & comments)

DearMYRTLE's Profile PicMyrt’s Musings
It would seem to Ol’ Myrt here that studying the works of our genealogical standard bearers is the best way to improve one’s research methodology.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     🙂
Your friend in genealogy.

Videos: Mastering Genealogical Proof

MGPStudyGroupPromo ImageOver the years DearMYRTLE here has hosted several groups studying Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). The book is available from the publisher at , also available in Kindle format through Below find the embedded video of MGP Study Group 3 in playlist format,  from DearMYRTLE’s YouTube Channel. Below the viewer is the list of chapters with links to the previous two study group series.

See MGP1 – Orientation video here
Before blogging about your participation in this study group, please see MGP1 Study Group – Copyright Guidelines featuring the best advice from +Judy G. Russell , the Legal Genealogist.
See UK oriented MGP2 Study Group Guidelines

Chapter 1 – Genealogy’s Standard of Proof
See MGP1 – Chapter 1 video here.
See UK oriented MGP2 – Chapter 1 video here.

Chapter 2 – Concepts Fundamental to the GPS
See MGP1 – Chapter 2 video here.
See UK oriented MGP2 – Chapter 2 video here.
See also Elizabeth Shown Mills’ QuickLesson 17: The Evidence Analysis Process Model

Chapter 3 – GPS Element 1: Thorough Research
See MGP1 – Chapter 3 video here.
See MGP1 – Chapter 3 Revisited video here.
See UK oriented MGP2 – Chapter 3 video here.

Chapter 4 GPS Element 2: Source Citations
See MGP1 – Chapter 4 video here.
See UK oriented MGP2 – Chapter 4 here.

Chapter 5 GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation
See MGP1 – Chapter 5 here.
See MPG1 – Chapter 5 Homework Help here.
See UK oriented MGP2 – Chapter 5 here.
See UK oriented MGP2 – Chapter 5 continued here.

Chapter 6 GPS Element 4: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence
See MGP1 – Chapter 6 here.
See UK oriented MGP2 –  Chapter 6 here.

Chapter 7 GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion
See MGP1 – Chapter 7 – The Written Conclusion here.
See UK oriented MGP2 – Chapter 7 here.

Chapter 8 – Using the GPS
Chapter 9 – Conclusion
See MGP1 – Chapter 8 & 9 inclusive here.
See UK oriented MGP2 – The Final Chapters and graduation

Dr. Jones’ book also includes the following:
Appendix A – Pritchett Article
Appendix B – McLain Article
Reading and Source List
Answers to exercises (Yup! The answers are at the end of the book.)

DearMYRTLE's Profile PicMyrt’s Musings
Those considering certification or accreditation should consider this book a “must read and study thoroughly.”

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     🙂
Your friend in genealogy.

For Further Reading

DearMYRTLE’s MGP Study Group 1 (US focused) videos:

DearMYRTLE’s MGP Study Group 2 (UK focused) videos:

DearMYRTLE’s – MGP1 Study Group Copyright Guidelines (important)