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



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