The Board for Certification of Genealogists 50th Anniversary edition of the Genealogical Standards Manual provides an overview of the genealogical research process and research methodology. There are no examples in the book which is part of what keeps it short. It is also what makes it confusing for those who would like more specific direction.
The problem is that genealogical research is part art and part science. It is difficult to give directions that will work each and every time for any arbitrary problem without the occasional slight deviation. And examples always have their limitations and some readers are inclined to believe to think that there family has to be just like the example in the book and that something must be wrong with their family because it’s not like the one in the book. That’s not true.
The earlier edition of the Genealogical Standards Manual had examples. And with all due respect to those who wrote the examples, they were tedious with the made up names of people and locations. I don’t miss the old edition and to be frank, I never made it through the made up examples.
We’ve discussed the manual in blog posts before. As we go forward, we’ll revisit some of those posts and refine some of them as well. For those who are on a budget the Genealogical Standards Manual is a less expensive purchase than most guidebooks. It is not a guide to citation.
Thinking about your genealogical process is always good and has the potential to make one’s research better.
But there are research problems that can be solved without extensive methodology.
It is just that when one has no understanding of methodology that the increase of making incorrect conclusions and getting confused increases. Speaking from personal experience, research in the United States generally is not too difficult until one gets to before 1850–and then it’s a different situation, especially when researching those families that were not in New England.