Genealogical Standards of Evidence

I purchased Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Family Historians after a friend mentioned it in an email. I’d seen it mentioned before elsewhere, but I’ve gotten to the point where it’s unusual for me to buy something unless someone has mentioned it to me in a positive fashion.

If you’ve been thinking of dipping your toe in the pool of genealogy methods and standards, but find the larger books overwhelming and beyond your budget, this readable, small book may be just thing to get you started.

The discussion is sound and academic enough to maintain accuracy, but informal enough to keep your interest. There are even several record examples with a short analysis of each one afterwards.

Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Family Historians (Genealogist’s Reference Shelf) by Brenda Dougall Merriman is an excellent stepping-stone towards citation and analysis for those who feel they need to work on these things to improve their chances of research success. The book is not about how to locate records (the author clearly states this) and is not a citation style manual–it’s too short for that. There are other materials that do that.

Published in 2010, the section on specific educational offerings is slightly out of date (time does march on), but Google searches would easily confirm locate websites so that details of those offerings can be located. I personally skipped over the information on specific educational venues as I’m already aware of them, but the detail on educational growth was sound.

If you’ve feel like you are ready to move from the “gathering” stage to the “analyze this stuff and figure it out” stage, but don’t want to shell out a huge amount, this might be a nice move in that direction.


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