* Evidence and Conclusion Process: What is the Evidence and Conclusion Process and why is it important to BetterGEDCOM (I think this was a group effort). The description of the process is:
"The Evidence and Conclusion Process consists of the following steps:
- A researcher finds a source of information that contains evidence that mentions persons he may be interested in. He creates a record to document the source.
- The researcher creates records to document each item of evidence in the source that mentions the persons of interest.
- The researcher creates records to document each event mentioned in the evidence, where an event describes something that happened to one or more persons. Events occur at specific times and places, involve one or more persons as role players, and may serve to establish or change relationships between persons.
- The researcher creates records to document each person mentioned in each event, containing only information available from the evidence. The event and associated person records must be treated as a cohesive whole since the person records may hold information that is true only within the context of the event, e.g., the person’s name or age or place of residence, at the time the event occurred.
- The researcher continues this process, completing steps 1 to 4, for a number of sources, until he has built up a number of groups of associated event and person records that contain all he has discovered about a set of persons.
- The researcher reasons about the available person records and sorts them into groups, where each group contains the person records that the researcher believes refer to a single real person. The researcher builds these groups based on experience and good practices, and records the justification for each grouping decision. Because later evidence may prove some groupings to be incorrect, the grouping operation cannot destroy or remove original event or person records. Groups need to be supported by the model.
- The researcher reasons about the event records associated with the persons in each of the person groups in order to infer the relationships that existed between the real persons represented by the groups. The data model allows him or her to establish these relationships, possibly through new records that represent inferred genealogical events, or possibly by establishing relationship links between groups."
In particular see the “input” and “output” Adrian discusses as in his steps:
- Set a focused goal
- Create or revise research plan
- Carry out research -- Understand the Records
- Select & Analyse the Evidence
- Has the Objective been met for this Work-Portion? -- Record Conclusions
- Go onto next work portion in research plan
- Check overall goal has been met
Problem: Your current program has no ability to properly document the evidence you used and the conclusions you formulated.
Solution: Behold’s source-based data entry is the first step. Each source you use becomes evidence - evidence you use to formulate a conclusion. While you enter your sources, Behold will make it easy for you to add your conclusion information to your family information while quickly linking it to the evidence.
Benefits: You’ll never forget how you arrived at your conclusions. You will in the future be able to update your data with confidence as you compare your new evidence to your past evidence to allow you to properly modify your conclusions.
That's probably enough for my readers to chew on... I don't seem to have the patience to read and understand completely everything on these sites - or I'm not smart enough to figure it out. Probably both. If there are other explanatory websites or blog posts, please tell me in Comments and I'll add them to the list above.
Frankly, I'm confused. If I enter a Source into my genealogy program (I can do that...), and identify all of the assertions contained in that source (I can do that - e.g., a name, parents names, a birth date, a birth place), what then do I do with that evidence? I think I have to have (or create) a person (say Devier J. Smith) to attach the evidence assertions to, right? Do I need to wait until I've gathered many bits of evidence (say from a Bible entry, a family paper, an obituary, a biography, some census records, etc.), then I attach all of them somehow to a person that I've concluded they belong to? How is the evidence kept straight without identifying the person referred to? Do I have to add twelve Devier J. Smith's (with various name spellings and birth dates) because I have 12 different sources for his birth name and birth date?
When do I form a conclusion about a family structure based on the evidence collection? The parent-child relationship is probably the most important assertion of all for the family tree! I haven't sourced ANY relationship assertions yet in my database. It never has crossed my mind until now. What original sources provide irrefutable evidence of a parent-child relationship? A birth record, a Bible record or a baptism record, I guess, if they are contemporaneous with the event, but "official" government vital records are available only since the 1800s, and in some states, the early 1900s. 'Tis a puzzle, methinks!
I appreciate that the BetterGEDCOM folks, and Louis Kessler, Tim Forsythe, the Ancestry Insider, and others have been thinking about this issue for some time. I wish that I had a better handle on it!
Updated 8 p.m. Added a section provided by GeneJ in Comments. Thanks, GeneJ!