Category Archives: MGP 2 Study Group

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 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 7 GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion, 21 April 2014, You tube file, Dear Myrtle You Tube Channel : accessed 21 April 2014, minutes 2:00.01



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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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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

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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.





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MPG Study Group 2 Chapter 4 Homework: Practice! Practice! Practice!

MPG Study Group 2 Chapter 4 Homework

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

My Chapter Four Homework Assignment



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


Practice, Practice, Practice!!!


I love Thomas W. Jones approach to teaching us in his book, Mastering Genealogical Proof (MGP). He uses the “Math Book” approach. Do you remember back in school how you would read the chapter, answered the questions at the end and were able to review your answers in the back of the book? That is his approach. The KEY was to practice what you read until it became second nature to you.


Chapter four was one of those challenging practice session that I couldn’t grasp right away. Math was never my strong point even in school. They teased my I couldn’t add 1 +1 and come up with 2 unless it was in the metric system. I did learn at my own pace with PRACTICE, PRACTICE and ore PRACTICE. That is what I did with chapter four in MGP. It didn’t help that I was dealing with the springtime “bug” that was circulating in my neighborhood; making it more difficult to concentrate.  I did learn. Here is my take on what I learned.


Dr. Jones reminds us in each chapter the importance of remembering the basic and must have reasons for citations; Support your genealogical proof summary by:


  1. Reasonably exhaustive search of all available records, newspapers, Bibles and any other sources you can think of
  2. Use the less error prone, original or as close to original source, as possible
  3. Cite all components positive or “negative” you have searched
  4. Use a narrative whenever possible to explain your findings.


When you first cite a source you use the long form of genealogical citation. Later sources can be cited with the short form. Does that sound confusing? It did to me until I learned this trick.

(Remember this in my take on how to cite my source as I have read this chapter. I welcome any feedback that what I have preserved is correct or needs further tweaking. After all the purpose of this Study Group is to learn from our mistakes until it becomes second nature for us.)

Dr. Jones teaches us the importance of answering five questions regardless if published or unpublished:

Who: author, compiler, or note taker

What: Title of the source, book, Bible, Newspaper, Journal article, etc.

When: Date of creation

Where is: Where did you find the source, repository, newspaper, online, etc.

Where in: Where is it located in the source; page, web address or is it not noted


My trick to distinguish between long and short citations and Reference/source lists is as follows:


For Published Sources

The long form answers all five questions, used when you first cite a source answering all five questions in the order listed above: Who, What, When, Where is and Where in.

(Willis M. Kemper, Genealogy of the Kemper Family: Descendants of John Kemper of Virginia, 1899 Chicago: George K. Hazlitt, page 79)

The short form is used for later citations of the source answering three of the five questions; Who, What, and Where in.

(Kemper, Genealogy of the Kemper Family, 79.)

The long form minus the page number is used for source lists answering four of the five questions: Who, What, When, Where is.

(Kemper, Willis M., Genealogy of the Kemper Family: Descendants of John Kemper of Virginia. Chicago: Geo. K. Hazlitt, 1899)


The above citations are for published sources. If the source is unpublished the same five questions are required but in a different order.


Unpublished Sources

The long form answers all five questions, used when you first cite a source answering all five questions in the order: Who, What, When, Where in and Where is

(Willis M. Kemper, Genealogy of the Kemper Family: Descendants of John Kemper of Virginia, 1899, page 79, Chicago: George K. Hazlitt.)

The short form answers the questions; Who, What, When in, the same as for published sources:

(Kemper, Genealogy of the Kemper Family, page 79)


The source list citation can be listed several ways answering questions Who, What and where is; Where, what, when and where is; or What and Where is.

The bottom line is; If you use a source do the best you can in making a citation to answer the five questions. If someone who follows your work can find it you have done your job.

On the other hand, all sources that will be published for a scholarly journal require you follow the Genealogical Standards for Citations that Dr. Jones has mentioned in his book. I personally would seek help from a professional.


It doesn’t matter what type of source you have, journal, book, authored, unpublished, websites or interviews; ALL require that you try to answer the five questions of citations. Not all sources will have answers for t all five questions; you answer the questions you can.


Practice! Practice! Practice is the best way to become comfortable with source citation. I am still at the practice stage. I may always be there but that is okay with me because I am citing my sources to the best of my ability. When it is time to publish my work I will seek help from a Genealogy Professional who is proficient in Source Citation.



Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ] , Chapter 4, Appendix A and Appendix B.


Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group, 30 March 2014,

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MPG Study Group 2 Chapter 3 Homework: One source that packs a punch in ancestral research

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2

My Chapter Three Homework Assignment


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

One source that packs a punch in ancestral research

The third Chapter in Dr. Jones book, Mastering Genealogical Proof,  is about accurate and through research.  Our 9 Mar 2014 Chapter 3 discussion on Dear Myrtle’s MPG Study Group 2, reminded me of when I started my family research. I didn’t have a computer back then, most families didn’t, that was something businesses had. We know about typewriters, yet only those who went into business were allowed to enter classes on how to use them. If you were college bound, you were out of luck. Longhand was your only way to record you information.

Where do you find that information is the key?

Early years: I had the family stories, traditions, at that time I had accesses to the family Bible, letters and marriage records of my parents. We have since lost most of the originals in two separate fires. Replacements were obtained at the local level in New Hampshire. My parents went to the town of birth for themselves and some of the children.  Slight problem, the town hall had burned, their records were lost. Resolution the town clerk at the time remembered my parent’s birth. My father’s aunt also verified his birth. My mother second verification was her brother. The children’s verification were our parents, aunt and uncle.  Replacement certificates were obtained. (It was a small rural community in the north-central-west side of the state. It was a typical everyone know everyone type of community.) Enough about me and some challenges of obtaining birth records.

Intermediate years: Jump ahead twenty eight years. We know have dial up computers, with some information on my ancestors. I found I had more information than they did. Not a viable resource for me. I went to my local library or should I say libraries. I had to go to each town my ancestors lived in to read the town records that were housed there. The town hall didn’t release them when I visited until later when I had written permission from the matriarch or patriarch in the families (Dad and Mom’s side). I was lucky, most of my records were in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Not so lucky the Maine locations to great a distance for me.  I had marriage, moved to New Jersey and started a family.  Mom and Dad had another fire, more records lost. So distance, time and lost opportunities were all road little bumps in the road to my research.

Present Day: Technology has arrived with all its bells and whistles. I’m learning more of how to fully mine that technology for useful information. Here is how I start my research, today.  From the comfort of my home, after getting a free local library membership. The reference librarian instructed me in what online websites were available that can be accessed at the library or from home; the inter library lending options, especially town histories, and several books already at my local library.

This blog is about one of those library resources that can be used either at the library or from home, called Heritage Quest. I love this site because it offers multiple ways to piece together your family records from the comfort of your computer login. Just a reminder not all my research is done on line. I still go to the local towns for the originals records, the state archives for court and other documents housed there.

I gather all findable records which include at least two originals with separate independent informants about my ancestor. It is like a puzzle that needs the outer frame for a strong start, followed by filling in the center with each piece that matches and securely intertwines until we see the complete picture it provides.

  1. I see what I have for documentation on hand.
  2. I write my focus question that will answer what information I am missing. Caution one focus question at a time. Write down the other questions for later research to keep yourself of task of completing your puzzle.
  3. Login into the library Heritage Quest Program
  4. Check census records, mine it for all its information, family members, neighbors, location, occupation and much more. You can search by name or browse by location. I do quick surname search followed by browsing the census year and town. This gives you a better understanding of how they fit into the community. Sometimes, due to misspelling a name does not appear with the quick search. Don’t forget to cite what and where you found your information.
  5. I take nothing at face value, they are just clues to the next piece of the puzzle.
  6. Books are my next step, especially town histories. Heritage Quest Books allows you to look up by People, Place or Publication, if known. It gives you the options to sort by relevance, author, title and publication. You can refine your search. Start board (surname), refine from there by adding keywords, town, state, Christian name, etc. I sort my relevancy. I look at the hits, view image, table of contents to see if this is a book I want to continue with for this ancestor I am researching. Don’t get off focus. Write down the information if you believe it is for another ancestor for later review. Write the source, page, person, repository or website for late use.
  7. Next stop is the PERSI Archive. You can research by Person, Places, How To’s and periodicals. There are multiple search fields (a plethora of information here)
    1. All
    2. Biography
    3. Cemeteries
    4. Census Records
    5. Church Records
    6. Court Records
    7. Deeds
    8. Directories
    9. History
    10. Institutions
    11. Land Records
    12. Maps
    13. Military Records
    14. Naturalization
    15. Obituaries
    16. Misc
    17. Passenger Lists
    18. Probate Records
    19. School Records
    20. Surname
    21. Freedman’s Bank: I doesn’t include all states. You can sort by surname, Given name, applicant name, branch state, Application year, Military information. Please search even if your ancestors’ state of residence isn’t listed. You may miss an ancestor from 1865-1874 by not searching.
    22. Revolutionary War Records: You can search by surname or  (not just the Rev War here)
      1. 4 Regiment Artillery
      2. Armand’s Corps
      3. Artillery Artificers
      4. CAN(Canada)
      5. CONT(Continental)
      6. Engineers
      7. FR(France)
      8. Foreign
      9. General Hospital
      10. GER(Germany)
      11. Hazen’s Regiment
      12. IN(Indian War)
      13. Invalid Corps
      14. Lee’s  Legion
      15. Military Hospital
      16. Navy
      17. SCT (Scotland)
      18. Sea Service
      19. Von Heer’s Corps
      20. War of 1812
      21. U.S. Serial Set: Search in the Memorials, Petitions and Private Relief Actions of the U.S. Congress by people or places.
      22. Heritage Quest keeps a search history for you that you can refer back to prevent duplicate searches.
      23. Learning Center is a new addition to Heritage Quest that lessons on how to research your ancestors.  It has three categories:
        1. Beginners
        2. Intermediate
        3. Advanced

Heritage Quest is just one resource that provides multiple links to different types of records needed in that reasonable exhaustive search that Dr. Jones speaks of in his book “Mastering Genealogical Proof.

I just noticed that Heritage Quest Learning Center page is distributed by ProQuest and Powered by Family Search I’m not sure how to cite this information, so I am making note of it here. (Copyright © 1999-2014 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions.    v2014.

I have, to the best of my current abilities, provided citations of my sources. I plan to return when I have learned how to properly write my source citations according to GPS in Dear Myrtle’s MGP Study Group 2, following Thomas W. Jones book Mastering Genealogical Proof.


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

Heritage Quest, institutional sign in (Library) n.d. last accessed 9 Mar 2014 by June Stearns Butka

Here are just two videos from the ‘Learning Center of Heritage Quest,” both are at the beginners level. There are two more beginners video listed; one from the Allen County Public Library and the second from Pam L. Smith

  1. Jones, Tom: “Principles for Beginning Genealogist,” Heritage Quest Learning Center. n.d. last accessed 9 Mar 2014 by June Stearns Butka
  2. “Ancestors Lesson Getting Started.” Family Search.  On line video lesson. n.d. Web last accessed by June Stearns Butka 9 mar 2014

Other resources you will find useful in your genealogical research that. This is not a complete list, by any means, just a brief view of what in my ancestral journey.

  1. Red book at,_County,_and_Town_Sources
  2. Cyndi’s list


Filed under Genealogy, MGP 2 Study Group, Sources, Uncategorized