Wednesday, August 5, 2009

BYU Genealogy conference

Even though Randy has already beat us to it... (Funny how he can be so on top of it when he wasn't even there. :-) I'm looking forward to when I get to retire and actually do genealogy and write for my blog. But I'm sure I'll never keep up with Randy.)

I have finally unburied at work enough to post a little about the BYU Genealogy conference last week. Fabulous conference. It has a little different layout for the vendors than the rest of the conferences we do. Most of the vendors are out in the hallway and I usually get to sit at the end of the hall with two chairs right next to our table. I should really set up a video camera next time, because I get to sit and visit with all the best people. (Of course then they might not dish as much.) At the BYU conference, it gets really quiet between classes so we have lots of time to talk. I really LOVE that.

I actually tried hard to pop in and out of a few classes this time too. Some of them I got to stay for more than others. I tried to catch some of Karen Clifford's and Peggy Ryskamp's classes on getting accredited. I bought Karen's book, Becoming an Accredited Genealogist. You can get it directly from her at With my Master's in Library Science I haven't worried about getting accredited much, but it is something I'd just like to do for myself. Now if I could just find 2 minutes to rub together to work on it. Don't hold your breath, but I'll let you know when I get serious.

My classes "Certified Genealogy Software that makes New FamilySearch Easier" and "Basic Research Practices in the Age of New FamilySearch" went well. I was nervous about the second one because it was a brand new lecture and usually I like to try them out in a smaller venue a few times before I hit a bigger conference with them. I basically go through the GPS standard and apply it to New FamilySearch. The comparison isn't great right now because they are still working on creating better source citations at FamilySearch, but they *are* working on it and I have full confidence that New FamilySearch will eventually become the resource we all hope it will be. I have a few things I need to tweak on the lecture, but I had tons of people stop at the booth and say they appreciated both lectures. I don't usually get that kind of response so I must have done something right. Or struck some kind of nerve...

But then Mark Tucker gave a lecture on Friday focused just on the GPS standard and hit the ball out of the park. He is a master at graphics and that is such a usefull skill when trying to explain something as complicated as genealogy research practices. He posted his slides at: They are fabulous. I talked to Mark afterward and he said he had followed the book Slideology in creating those great slides. I have a copy of that coming in the mail--can't wait--but then I'll need to redo all my slides I'm sure.

Ancestry Insider and I both tweeted Mark's class: AI gave me permission to post both sets of tweets together. Here they are:

JanetHovorka: Going to actually twitter Mark Tucker's lecture. We'll see what Ancestry Insider and I duplicate.
JanetHovorka: Genealogy Proof Standard--by Mark Tucker at BYU "How many people own evidence explained? How many people understand it? laughs
AncestryInsider: Mark Tucker, "Navigating Research with the Genealogical Proof Standard."
AncestryInsider: His slides are posted on his blog: Go ahead and follow along!
JanetHovorka: Good thing AI is sitting in front of me. Reminding me to use the #byugen
AncestryInsider: Hi, Chart Chick!
JanetHovorka: Professionalism only came to Genealogy in mid 1960s, Citation article by Mills in late 1979 Cite your Sources by Richard Lackey 1980
JanetHovorka: 1997 Evidence by Mills 2000 BCG standards Manual Evidence Explained 2007
AncestryInsider: Implied step in GPS: Define research goals (slides 10-14). Illustrate the process with a case study: Worth Tucker's birth info.
JanetHovorka: The best way to not get lost is to always know where you are GPS proof standard and Geographical Positioning systems
AncestryInsider: Where do I start my research? What record to start with? He teaches boy scouts that knowing where you are prevents getting lost.
JanetHovorka: Define: Statement, Question, Hypothesis. Research plan and research log Start with Known Information
JanetHovorka: Known Information: give source, information found, and Informant/relationship. That is where you start.
JanetHovorka: How do you come up with Research Strategy? Familysearch, research guidance, genealogy software, personal experience, society, FHC
AncestryInsider: GPS: #Genealogical Proof Standard
JanetHovorka: FamilySearch Research guidance is a great way to get started on your research strategy. Follow that plan, find source, update log
AncestryInsider: Covering through slides 22, research plan.
AncestryInsider: Slide 32, picture of his sweetheart (which we all assume is his wife).
JanetHovorka: Do I really need to do anymore? Step 1 of GPS Reasonably exhaustive search in reliable sources that may be pertinent
JanetHovorka: Just because we are tired does that make it an exhaustive search? Oh yeah!
AncestryInsider: GPS Step 1: Reasonably exhaustive search of reliable sources for pertinent info.
JanetHovorka: Source Provenance: Tracking the derivative source back to the original. Why do we care? Helps decide which is the better source?
JanetHovorka: Would you go so far to see a hard copy rather than an electronic version? If I could, yes.
AncestryInsider: Source Provenance: The issue is, what are the better sources? Original source is better than derivative.
JanetHovorka: Great slide graphics for Mark Tucker's lecture at Mark is great at graphics.
AncestryInsider: A derivative is better than the sources derived from it. Independent origin strengthens confidence.
AncestryInsider: Slide 39 introduces another important form. Research Analysis.
JanetHovorka: Every time there is a derivative, there is a chance for a mistake to be made, a chance for something to be lost.
JanetHovorka: Research Analysis document list every source and analyze whether derivative or not
AncestryInsider: GPS Step 2: Collect a complete and accurate citation to each source of information that is used.
JanetHovorka: Legacy, RootsMagic and FamilyTreeMaker all use Mills templates for sources.
JanetHovorka: Step 3 GPS Cite each source- Complete Accurate Citation. Mills. You need both Evidence and Evidence Explained. if only 1, get EE
AncestryInsider: Recommends Mills' _Evidence Explained_. All the latest genealogy software supports templates matching this book.
JanetHovorka: Why citation guidelines? The sources that we consult are different than others. Like a silver set engraved with a wedding date.
AncestryInsider: Aside: EE is necessary because genealogists use a wide range of sources well beyond those in Chicago or Turabian.
JanetHovorka: Mills can help you cite derivatives. Ancestry Insider: Assume the URL is going to change.
JanetHovorka: Different databases cite sources differently, familysearch, ancestry, different than evidence explained. We need to stick to one.
JanetHovorka: Mark envisions a world where an image on the internet is downloaded with a complete and accurate citation. I wish
AncestryInsider: (Thanks @JanetHovorka) Should there be one set of common citation guidelines? (slide 49)
JanetHovorka: Step 3 Analyze, correlate, information, evidence. Primary and Secondary information. Great graphics/slides.
AncestryInsider: Slide 54: Sources can be original, derivative (goes into types of derivatives). Slide 55: Information can be primary or secondary.
JanetHovorka: Sources: Original (image copy, record copy, duplicate original) Derivative (transcript, extract, abstract)
JanetHovorka: Information: (primary, secondary) Evidence: (Direct, indirect, negative)
AncestryInsider: Sometimes derivatives can be treated as an original, such as photographic copies such as micofilm or digitized.
JanetHovorka: Census original, census fed copy, microfilm copy, digital, printout. Derivatives. Skipping back helps. What errors could happen?
JanetHovorka: Can the baby have first hand knowledge of the birth event? :-) Only primary sources are people who were there.
AncestryInsider: Primary information comes from those with first-hand knowledge. Review your sources, information, and evidence for types they are.
JanetHovorka: Spiritual evidence has not been accepted as evidence since 1965. --Ancestry Insider. #byugen :-) I'm remembering to quote you on that.
JanetHovorka: recommending
JanetHovorka: Have to keep track of whether you are talking about sources, information or evidence. Picture of gravestone perfect example.
JanetHovorka: Don't take things as truth because they are carved in stone :-)
JanetHovorka: Death certificates perfect example of primary and secondary information.Does the bereaved ever really remember the right birthdate?
JanetHovorka: Counting up the sources, you can completely count how the sources prove something by what kind of source, information, and evidence
AncestryInsider: GPS Step 4: Resolve any conflicts/contradictions in the information.
AncestryInsider: See the excellent example of slide 79 showing conflicts in our case study of Worth Tucker's birth info.
JanetHovorka: "Bad news guys we have to resolve the consequence" #byugen No "I'm going with that one."
JanetHovorka: List conflicts and record the analysis and resolution
JanetHovorka: Darn I have to quit while we are still resolving conflicts. Have to go back to the booth. I leave the rest to you with a salute AI
AncestryInsider: No conclusion is ever completely final.
marktucker: My presentation went great! Wonderful group of people in the class.

You can look at other tweets on the conference by looking for the hashtags #byugen at Twitter.

These are two fabulous thinkers--especially in the realm of how to use sources. Sources is really THE all important thing in Genealogy. Go check out other work they have done in the area at: and

Looking forward to the next conference...

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