We come to the end of our MGP Study Group 2

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

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2

My Chapter Seven Homework Assignment

The Written Conclusion


How many of us have done our research, gathered the records, documents, letters and filed them away under the surname thinking we are done? Now we can start entering it into our genealogy program, Microsoft word or paper files we are compiling.


STOP! Don’t go any further until you have written your conclusion.


Many of us, myself included, start filing our records feeling strongly we have found our family. At least that was me until I started participating in MGP Study Group 2 with Dear Myrtle. Now I know differently. I need to add a written conclusion that meets the genealogy proof standards (GPS) that Dr. Jones’ book has provided. If I meet all the GPS requirements, I know I have the correct person for my line.


A Written Conclusion is only valid when it has meets the first three GPS guidelines;

  1. Through research
  2. Source citation
  3. Analysis and Correlation of information


If a conflict is found we must also meet GPS number four

  1. Conflict Resolution
  2. The written conclusion can be as simple as one or two sentences;

A proof statement (includes GPS 1, 2, 3, 5)

To several paragraphs or pages;

A proof summary (includes GPS 1, 2, 3, 4, the summary is #5)

Or multiple pages that focus of proof involving conflict resolution;

A proof argument (GPS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


Chapter seven goes into the:

Six characteristic for proof statement;

Eight characteristic of an effective citation we put into either a footnote or endnote for the proof summary; (Each person finds their comfort level in the use of one or the other, sometimes using both.)

Three characteristic of the proof argument that answer the five “W’s”:

Beginning; identifies the “who”

Middle: the longest part identifies the “what,” “where in,” “where is,” and “when”

End: the shortest section; summarizes the main points.


The most important part when all the criteria are met is to write a clear and concise statement, summary or argument following Dr. Jones twelve points of “Clear Writing.” His homework assignment provides the practice required in achieving that goal. I will practice, practice, and practice to become comfortable meeting all the characteristics needed.


Keep in mind your target audience when writing your conclusions. If writing for family members, I suggest endnotes, they want the story, and not always where you found it. More technical writing will involve footnotes, endnotes, charts, maps, and narrative statements.


Dr. Jones chapter eight reminds us that not only do we work to meet the GPS requirement, but we MUST use his eleven questions about genealogical conclusions, to evaluate our works, as well as, other genealogist.

We come to the end of our MGP Study Group 2. Dear Myrtle,  “cousin Russ,” the other panelist, you-tube viewers and those in the community who put their comments and thoughts out there to improve the quality of our genealogical research, Thank you all.

In conclusion I will borrow the open statement from Dr. Jones chapter nine”


“As you repeatedly apply the discipline of focused and systemic genealogical research, reasoning, and writing, you will find yourself becoming more and more proficient.”




  1. Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher athttp://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/mastering_genealogical_proof ]


  1. Richley-Erckson, Pat, “Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group, Google: Hang out on Air, Dear Myrtle, , “MGP2 Study Group-Chapter 7 GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion, 21 April 2014, You tube file, Dear Myrtle You Tube Channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVVyb70Y1l0 : accessed 21 April 2014, minutes 2:00.01




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