My MGP2 Study Group Chapter Six Homework Assignment: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence

MPG Study Group 2 Chapter 6 Homework

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones
Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2

My Chapter Six Homework Assignment

Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence



Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]

“Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group


Take the Challenge: Resolve Conflicts and Assemble your Evidence.


I think I will start this by using two quotes that summarizes my thoughts of this chapter:

  1. Carey Bright’s statement; “HACK the paragraph to find the Gems!”


  1. Dr. Thomas W. Jones reminder, from his recent interview with Marian Pierre Louis of Fieldstone Common (, “Don’t Over Kill the MINOR transcription errors.”


I’ll add one other caveat; “Slow and steady wins the race.” Slowing your research down will improve the quality of results. I always take notes when researching to aid in disproving or confirming what I found. I now write those notes in sentence form that can later be used in my written conclusion; which I will go into more detail about in Chapter seven’s homework assignment.


These three statements with make resolving conflicts and assembling Evidence much easier to understand and do. When you find a conflict don’t ignore just open your research to a boarder scope of records. I have recently noted that many of the Family Trees on Ancestry .com have dates of death from City Directories after the Death Date for the person. When I reviewed the City Directories page, the person is listed, but as the widow/widower of so and so. This directory provides proof of where the surviving spouse residence is not proof of the person who died. It is a viable source for your research, just remember to read what is on the page.


Dr. Jones tells us in this chapter about five types of ways to assemble evidence to aid in establishing a conclusion I’m not sure if I could identify each type of record correctly, but I do know that I am comfortable resolving a conflict by investigating a boarder scope of records. Does it matter if it is direct, indirect, negative, inferred or no conflict when resolving the conflict? Probably. The bottom line is to resolve the conflict no matter what type of evidence it is before you can write your written conclusion.  When you write your opinion of why the conflict is resolve, remember to put the “opinion” in quotations.


What is a conflict? It is two or more separate sources that disagree with the same genealogical question you are trying to answer.

Any conflict/s need to be resolved before you can provide a written conclusion proving your research.


Mastering Genealogical Proof chapter six homework involves reading, rereading, assembling, comparing and contrasting each bit of evidence your find. It reinforces all the steps mentioned in the previous chapters; thorough research, source citations, analysis and correlations, along with learning about conflicts and assembling evidence. They all are an integral part of our genealogy research to provide the less prone, best supported written conclusion to our work.


When we do our research we must keep in mind:

  1. The views, ”society and its culture” of the time we are researching (where) (when)
  2. The reason for the information (what)
  3. Who provided the information (who)
  4. The source of the information (where in)

Notice the five “W’s” are back? Answer these questions as your do your research. Write the answers in your notes as you go. This will aid in finding and resolving your conflicts as you proceed.

Write what you SEE not what you WANT TO SEE.


Ages and informants will vary on the census;

The farther away from the event provides a higher risk of error;

Remember what events (wars/religious conflicts/family interactions) are happening at the time;


All will have an impact of the why someone would give false information, moved away on maybe not be mentioned on the census. Children in the 1600-1800 would be farmed out as early as 5 years old to learn a trade. If someone is fighting in a war, surveying land or at sea, they may not be mentioned on a census. Look for tax records but keep in mind what age the person is when you do so. Would they be too young or old if not found. That in itself can narrow the range of birth year. Dr. Jones reminds us to search 100 years before and 100 years after a person life to find clues to you that person is. Probates records, pension applications can go on until the last heir has died.


Harvest those records for every little piece of information you can find. Answer those five “W’s.” Weed out the minor transcription errors. Still feel overwhelmed. Then I would suggest taking Dear Myrtle’s Ragu 3-2-1 Cite! Challenge. Evaluate one event at a time, find three sources and write two paragraphs. Keep doing this until you answer and resolve your conflicts. It is a Fun way to assemble research and resolve conflicts.


Now to the hard part for me citing my sources.





  1. Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]


  1. Richley-Erckson, Pat, “Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group, Google: Hang out on Air, Dear Myrtle, , “MGP2 Study Group-Chapter 6 GPS Element 4: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence, 13 April 2014, You tube file, Dear Myrtle You Tube Channel : accessed 13 April 2014, minutes 1:57.30



  1. Louis, Marian Pierre. “Mastering Genealogical Proof with Thomas W Jones,” Interview with Thomas W Jones, host Marian Pierre Louis, “FC 86 Mastering Genealogical Proof with Thomas W Jones,” 17 April 2014, MP3 file, Fieldstone commons: Northeast History & Genealogy Radio, accessed 24 April 2014, minutes 58:37


  1. Richley-Erckson, Pat, “The Ragu Challenge: 3-2-1 CITE!,” Google: Hang out on Air, Dear Myrtle Your Friend in Genealogy!, The Ragu Challenge: 3-2-1 CITE! Genealogy Contest , 02 April 2014, You tube file, Dear Myrtle You Tube Channel : accessed 04 April 2014, minutes 8:15



MPG Study Group 2 Chapter 5 Homework: Be the Turtle not the Hare in your Genealogy Research

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones
Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2

My Chapter Five Homework Assignment

Analyze and Correlate



Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]

“Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group


Chapter five is about Analysis and Correlation. The importance of taking one document at a time to analyze its purpose, history, content, informants and authenticity. In doing so, you can access the type of work, authored, original, derivative, if primary or secondary, how relevant is it, the bias of the informant or independent source. All of these will aid in determining the validity and error proneness of each document. We use the less error prone, less bias document we can in our research. Once we have identified and analyzed the document for any errors, alteration and strength to being less error prone we will need to decide if we use it in our research. We will note the document in our research log whether we use it or not because we have reviewed and analyzed it. We may come back to it later if no other less prone document telling us the information on it is available elsewhere.

When analyzing our documents, one at a time, we have to keep in mind the 5 W’s; Why, What, Who, Was, Were; along with the Ifs and Does questions.


Why created

What timeframe

Who authored

Was researched carefully

Was challenge strong?

Were tempered protected

If peer evaluated

If most reliable

Does alteration show?

Does appear bias?


Now it is time to compare and contrast your documents with each other to confirm you have the correct individual/ancestor you are seeking. Keep in mind that the sources need to be independent of each other, not the same informant, to provide validity.


We started with the analysis of the records, as mentioned above. This is also considered the “Data Collection” stage. I tell myself this is where I want to be the Turtle not the Hare in data collection. Haste makes waste, is another way of looking at it. Dear Myrtle phrased it as “A Good Genealogist finishes last.” I strongly agree. Take your time in collecting your documents. This will provide you with the strongest, most reliable and least error prone research documents for the next stage of correlation.


Attempt to disprove:

When doing the correlation start by attempting to disprove what you believe. Open the information up to challenge. When it stands up to the challenge you have a strong argument proving your research. Resolve any conflicts that you find with either positive or negative (inferred) research documents. We will discuss this more in Chapter 6 of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas Jones.


You now have answered the genealogical question that started you research. It stands up to analysis and comparison. When that happens your research has passed the test. It can be used as your conclusion.


Ways to compare and contrast:

Use the following records:

Tax records

Census Records

Family records

Bible Records

Church Records


Family interviews

Any other records you find


Once collected create comparison charts, wither by hand, excel spreadsheets, on line programs, whatever you are most comfortable with. I still use long hand charting, time lines, list and tables. I enter them into my Microsoft word program. My goal is to learn how to use the computer programs spreadsheets, Family Tree Maker and Evidence Explained to improve the ease of research.








Dr. Thomas jones book, mastering Genealogical Proof, gives you several pages of practice homework to aid you in becoming comfortable with comparing and contrasting all of the records and ways I listed above.


The bottom line is just did it to the best of your ability. Each time you analyze, compare and contrast your research records your will improve. You will find your own comfort level. Remember the Turtle finished the race. That is our goal to finish with the most accurate research we can provide for future generations to add to. Our Genealogy Research is never actually done, because there is always something new that can challenge our research. That is a good thing. It allows us to constantly improve.


Be the “Good Genealogist” that Dear Myrtle mentioned, finish last.



Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. page 53-71; Appendix A, Appendix B, page 167-171. [Book available from the publisher at ]

“Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group; Chapter 5

The Ragu Challenge 3-2-1 Cite: My Mother’s Quilt of Love

The Ragu Challenge 3-2-1 Cite:

My Mother’s Quilt of LOVE


Dear Myrtle posted a challenge on 2 April 2014. Please read and listen to the video about it in her Blog.

Dear Myrtle’s Ragu Challenge: 3-2-1 Cite!


I posted this photograph of my husband and myself for Throwback Thursday on my Face book page.  My immediate response after clicking to post it was this would make a good Ragu Challenge. I said to self why not go ahead and do it. It meets the requirement of the challenge 3 (documents of artifacts,) paragraphs can easily be written, it is about 1 event (Avon Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk,) and I have sources to cite. So come along for the emotional ride that this challenge unleashed.


1 Mike and June Butka 1999

Mike and June Butka

Bear Mountain, New Jersey

Start of Avon 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk

27 Aug 1999


My first step was to find the flyer from the event that I saved and the quilt that my mother made me for that event. An easy thing to do right. I knew I had a storage container for the quilt and another for my remembrances, of course they were not where I expected them. When I did find them, after a twenty minute search they had not been scanned yet; the quilt was in the storage box with other pieces of quilt material in the process of being made. Opening the storage box was where the emotions came into play. These were the last quilting pieces my mother was working on before she made her final journey home to heaven in 2001.


2 Breast Cancer Quit 1999

Handmade quilt by Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns 1999

My Avon Quilt was much more than I remembered. It was not just the signatures of the walkers around a pink ribbon supporting Breast Cancer. It is what my friend stated, that explains my feeling perfectly;

“Till I remembered it wasn’t so much about the cancer

As it was about






Who chose to literally and figuratively


A big reminder you are not alone.”


I had messaged this friend with tears in my eyes telling them how much I was affected by seeing the quilt again; that this would not be an easy challenge to meet.

I remembered the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence, by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I had made that statement in my last blog post on about writing citations for Dear Myrtle’s Mastering Genealogical Proof Study 2 chapter 4 homework. What I didn’t realize until I pulled out the Avon Breast Cancer 3 Day flyer, was that it was on the back cover.


3 Avon 3 Day Flyer BC

Avon’ s Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk Flyer

August 27th-29th 1999

West Point to Manhattan

You do not know sometimes when an event or a person can affect your life with the smallest of things stated, made or heard. My mother made this quilt, I heard about Eleanor Roosevelt’s “face fear…” before  and my friends encouraging words will stay with my for a lifetime, even if I forgot the origin the sentiment will remind. I will not forget this time as I sit here putting my words and thoughts to paper and soon the web for all to see. I could go on about what the cost and how much was raised back in 1999, but that is not what this blog is about. It is about those who provided the love, support both emotionally and financially that is important.


So in this anniversary month of my mother’s death (28 April 2001) I give honor to all the love, support, courage and life lessons that she gave me by providing you with the photographs and transcriptions of the names from the memorable walk starting 27 Aug 1999 from Bear Mountain New Jersey along the Hudson River across the George Washington Bridge ending 29 Aug 1999in New York City’s Central Park. 3 Days, 60 miles, tent cities and over 1,800 people that walked alone with me in spirit or next to me.


3 Quilt Center

The center of the quilt

There is much symbolism in this quilt; the center is in honor the reason I walked:

Breast cancer cure,

Who I walk for, my family:

Christopher Stevenson, my nephew; Michael J Butka, my son and Tyna M Butka, my daughter are in the photograph

My sister Eleanor Ann Stearns Carne and I are both Survivors (what a weak word for what one goes through, I am more than that, I am hope, energy, positive thinker with lots to give the world, not merely a survivor.)

And all those who have dealt with any illness-

Are who I walk for.


The Pink ribbon is encased in a cross, showing my mother’s belief in God and his power to heal.

I can’t say that my belief is a strong as hers, but I do believe in the power of prayer, positive thoughts and the energy from mother earth. I was once asked why I didn’t want to know what faith a person was when they offered my prayers, my response was “It doesn’t matter what I believe as much as that the prayers are being sent to me with love and encouragement, who am I to say no.” I’m still here so I continue to accept all beliefs and practices that my family and friends offer. Wouldn’t you?


The Rose squares have a special memory for my mother:

They symbolize the love from her husband and God. They carried a Rose of Sharon bush to each house they lived in and part of that bush was sitting outside the window of my home in 1999 continuing the tradition of love and support.


I will now transcribe the names to the best of my ability from each square of the quilt. I give many thanks to all who supported me during that walk and now.

Special Hugs to everyone named on the quilt and those who chose not to be listed on the quilt, but are still kept in my heart.


Script type signatures gave not only their emotional support but financial as well in helping me raise over $1,800 for Breast Cancer Research.


4 bottom cross square


Michelle Carter

Mary Ellen Cassidy (friend from Little League)

Karen Burgess

Christen Bowen

Susan Bean (from Derry Day Care Association, June Butka previous co-member )

Ted Carey (daughter’s Cross County Coach at Pinkerton Academy)

Kelly A Carignan

Rick Calvin

Loretta Butka (mother-in-law to June Stearns Butka)


5 bottom left square

Cinn-Doo 7-11 Inc.

“June-you’re an inspiration! It was a pleasure meeting you. Congratulations & Good Luck!” Lisa Morehouse

“I’, so proud of you and all your efforts! The world needs more people like you!” Hope Clement (your walker coach)

“Great Job! Your efforts will touch many lives. Keep up the god work!” Bob & Terry Silver

“Thank you for being an inspirations!” Laura Schaucher

Deannie Reinhardt (Teacher at Pinkerton Academy and follow exchange student host family)

Anthony Berni Jr

Jody A Reynolds (freind of June Butka’s brother, Nelson Neal Stearns)

Marilyn Roger

Mary Ryan

Stacy St Armand (fellow Girl Scout Mom)

Shirley Stearns (creator of the quilt mentioned in this article; Mother to June Butka)

Marjorie Stevenson ( Sister to June Butka)

“May the love in this quilt keep you warm for an eternity” – Pete M. Hale


6 bottom middle square

Vennu Sow “for Lisa”

Carol D Squires

Melissa Williams

Stephen P’s Yacht Club (Steve and Laurie Proulx were neighbors to June Butka)

Lee Fournier (June Butka husband’s co-worker and friend)

NSA (Northeast Security Association owner Craig Stevenson June Butka’s brother-in-law)

Jeanne Funke

Cheryl A Demaria (June Butka’s co-worker)

Lorraine Higgins


7 left cross square

Cecile T Wlodyka

Grace Grady (neighbor and Mike Butka’s co-worker’s wife)

Phil Meuse/Mense

Cheryl L Pearl

Donna  Leuth

Beverly Meuse/Mense

Darlene Wooster (June Butka’s neighbor)

Pam Sotiriais (June Butka’s co-worker)


8 left side signature

“Great Job! Debbie Johnson


9 middle left square

Cindi Lakes dist. 2411 (others are listed above) (Leader of the Avon District June Butka was a member of at that time)

10 middle right square

Grace Reily

June Butka (walker in 1999 and author of this blog post 2014)

Rosemary Sanborn (co-worker of Rockingham Visting Nurse Association where June Butka worked)

“Avon loves you very much. Keep walking forward” Avon Legal Dept

“To: Mom Love your son” Jose Tors xxx (he wrote a tribute to his mother, the reason he walked)

The others are listed above


11 Right cross square1

“June you’re Beautiful! Thanks for what you have done!” Linda Taillon

“June- You DID It!” Sara Smith

Judy Ann Bailey (follow Girl Scout Mom)

Marjorie Bloden

“June, you are a “star” in our office because you are an inspiration!” Wendy Schelch “Walker Coach”

Lee Ann Buyck (from Derry Day Care Association, June Butka previous co-member)

Joann P Buskey

Heather Dunn

Debra Faria

Jamie L Ellis

Don Brown

“June- I knew you’d get here with a bright smile as always. Congratulations on all your hard work.”  Love M Riel


12 top right square

Mary Ellen Cassidy

Michelle Carter

Christine Doherty

Derry Animal Hospital (caregiver of June Butka’s dog and cats)

Lilian May Duncan (first cousin on June Butka’s father side)

Terri Hayward

Tina M Hanley

“Stay Healthy” Sister Sue mouse! (Unsure of spelling)

13 Top square of cross

Diane Leclerc

Heather Dunn

Rosemary Sanborn (June Butka’s co-worker)

Kelly Carignar

Cynthia Swierk

Jan LeBlanc

Pam Soturidis (June Butka’s co-worker)

Mary Palmer (director and co-worker of Rockingham Visting Nurse Association where June Butka worker)

Todd **

Donna Leuth

Marian L Merewether (June Butka’s friend through Avon)

Rich **

I made every attempt to identify everyone to the best of my ability after  fifteen years from the event, three TIA’s (mini Strokes), and just plain memory loss.  Most unnamed are walkers; if I didn’t list someone correctly, my apologies. Please notify me of any corrections needed by adding a comment to this post. Happy Walking for Health and support.


Peter Hale sums up the emotion of the quilt that my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns (1935-2001) created for my first 3 Day Avon Beast Cancer in New York City 27-29 Aug 1999. It was also the inaugural walk for New York City, as well.

14 love and warmth quote



I hope I am following the proper citations as I have learned from:

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]

“Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group

June Butka is the daughter of Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, author this work, {Private Address} 2014

Shirley Stearns Quilt Collection, Stearns Collection: June Stearns Butka, {Private Address}, {holder of the collection}, 1999

Avon’s Breast Cancer 3 Day Flyer (Pallotta Team Works, New York, New York 1999) back cover

June Stearns Butka Photographic Collection, : June Stearns Butka, {Private Address}, {holder of the collection}, 1999

All rights reserved. Please do not reprint any portion of this blog post with prior permission.


For information on 2014 Avon Walks for Breast Cancer please click the link: 2014 dates and cities


I submit this post with honor and tears running down my cheeks to my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns.