Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Evidentia - Evidence Evaluation Software

Evidentia - a new genealogical evidence evaluation software program - was released on Monday, 17 December 2012.  The website is at  The site describes the software as:

"Evidentia is the genealogy software that supports your research by guiding you through the Genealogical Proof Standard, the standard by which acceptable genealogical conclusions are judged."

You can read more about the breadth and capabilities of the software by clicking through the links on the home page.  The links include: FAQ, News (lots of blog-like posts here), Screen Shots, Help, Sample Evidence Reports, About, What is Evidentia? and Evidentia and the GPS.

In order to see how it works, there are six YouTube videos available now:

*  Evidentia introduction:

*  Evidentia - Getting Started Part 1 (Source Documentation)

*  Evidentia - Getting Started Part 2 (Catalogue Claims screen)

*  Evidentia - Getting Started Part 3 (Catalogue Claims screen)

*   Evidentia - Getting Started Part 4 (Evidence Analysis)

*  Evidentia Template Creation

The program has been in beta testing for several months now, and some reviews from beta testers are appearing, for example:

*  Software Review: Evidentia by Jenny Lanctot on the Are My Roots Showing? blog.

*  I know there was one more blog post about it, but I can't find it.  Any help?  John knew:
*  New Software Release by Shannon Bennett on the Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian blog.

I have not obtained the software or tried it out due to my holiday and travel plans.  Based on what I saw on the videos (I watched all of them - they took less than 60 minutes total), I think that this software is very well thought out, seems practical, and seems to be fairly easy to use.  I think that it serves the cause of "source-centered" genealogy very well.  It covers all of the Genealogical Proof Standard bases.  I especially like the source citation templates, which are based on Evidence! Explained.  

I did see one disturbing thing in the videos.  The software currently has a quality screen for primary and secondary sources, rather than primary and secondary information, and no screen for original and derivative source evaluation (although different source quality choices are offered).  Hopefully, this will be corrected in a future release of the software.

The software is stand-alone, meaning that it is not integrated into any other genealogical software program or website.  However, the user could copy and paste the source citations, the evidence analysis, or the proof argument into a document or into genealogical software fields.  As a stand-alone program, I think that I would use it for those thorny research problems that need to be analyzed in some detail - due to a wealth of evidence, or due to conflicting evidence - rather than be used for every claim in a genealogy database.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


John said...

Shannon Bennett at Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian has a review

Her's and Jenny Lanctot's are the only two I've seen so far besides yours.

Unknown said...

Randy - I think the videos were done before the beta testers got a hold of the software. We changed the classifications of the sources post-haste.

The sources are now classified as original, duplicate original, image copy, transcript, extract, index. The information - once you add a claim - is classified as primary, secondary, or unknown.

Hope this puts your mind at ease :)