While it may be easy to say that one follows the Genealogical Proof Standard, putting such words into action, and doing so correctly and consistently can be a challenge no matter what your experience level as a genealogist. So when I received a copy of Quicksheet – Genealogical Problem Analysis: A Strategic Plan developed and authored by Elizabeth Shown Mills, I thought I had found a quick way to go from “information” to “evidence” to “proof” in no time. Yet, as can be seen in my review, this handy tool also makes one appreciate the journey of discovery no matter how accelerated the trip.
The Genealogical Proof Standard Process
First, the quicksheet is a two-sided laminated 8 ½ x 11 inch card similar to the other quicksheets produced by Mills (and which I purchased outright for my own personal use). On the front is a handy list entitled “10 Steps to a Solution” which walks the user through the proof process. Not only is each step listed in logical progression, but Mills also takes the time to point out ways to create worksheets for tracking evidence, formulating hypotheses and executing a “reasonably exhaustive search.”
Besides the steps, also listed are the Basic Elements one should use when appraising sources, information and evidence. The elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard are listed and the user is directed as to what to look for during the appraisal process.
Life Stages Worksheet
On the reverse is an amazing tool entitled “Life Stages Worksheet” to be used for each particular person one is researching. Mills lists 38 different record types to look for during the research process; all are organized chronologically in a life stage progression from birth to death. While the list is not comprehensive and can’t possibly cover all activities or situations, Mills has covered the most common elements.
At first glance and compared to Mills’ other quicksheets consisting of four sides (in a 11 x 17 inch tabloid folded format), $5.95 may seem steep for a research tool that seems so simple. But the beauty is in the simplicity: this quicksheet covers all the necessary points of proving how a piece of information fits into the genealogical research puzzle. Following the Genealogical Proof Standard requires a certain “zen” that forces one to set aside superfluous and distracting elements. Mills newest quicksheet allows a researcher to learn this “zen” and is a required tool for genealogy researchers at any level.
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Disclosure statement: I was contacted by Genealogical Publishing Co. via mail to review the Quicksheet – Genealogical Problem Analysis: A Strategic Plan and a complimentary copy was delivered to me. After reviewing the product, I will use the quicksheet for my own personal use. To review the other material connections I have with genealogy vendors, please see Disclosure Statements.
©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee