How Do I Prove It?

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 336 pages
Author: P. Christensen
Year: 2008
ISBN: 9781894018364
Other: 3rd ed., b&w photos,, further reading, index
Publisher: Heritage Productions

Are you picking your ancestors out of a hat? Or have you really proved each linkage? This practical manual for family historians and genealogists demystifies the requirements necessary for establishing a pedigree.

Delving into one's family history is sometimes like stepping into a minefield! There are many boobytraps out there which can snare the unwary. One which is often realized too late is the necessity of completely proving each linkage before proceeding to the next generation. So many enthusiastic people are caught up in the 'how far back can I get as fast as possible' game that they forget the essentials. Unfortunately many end up doing someone else's genealogy because they have pounced upon a 'likely-looking George' from an index and appropriated him, and not bothered to prove that it's 'their' George.

This book is not a 'cookbook' of how to prove your particular line, and it couldn't be, because every family is so different. It is a guide to the types of evidence that can be used as you thoughtfully apply them to the stated criteria. Most of the examples are taken from the British and Scandinavian work with which the author is most familiar.

Section 1: Theory
- Meaning of Proof
- Required Level of Proof in Genealogy
- Sources, Information and Evidence
- Value of Previous Research
- Unprovable Links

Section 2: Technique
- General Advice
- Focussing a Search for Evidence
- Pedigree Analysis
- Family Reconstruction
- Killing Them Off
- Use and Abuse of Indexes
- Negative Proof
- Documentation
- Go Sideways
- Know About and Use Alternate Sources
- Serendipity and Intuition

Section 3: Problem Solving
- Problems with Starting Information
- Assumptions aka Presumptions
- General Problems with Records
- Conflicting Evidence
- Name Changes
- Finding the Right Parish
- Migration and Movements
- Age Problems
- Illegitimacy
- Bigamy
- Proscribed Marriage
- Delayed Marriage
- Female Ancestors
- Paupers Disappearing
- If All Else Fails, Write and Article!
The Research Plan
References and Further Reading

3 Reviews
  • Excellent book

    Posted by Brian arnall on 13th Apr 2021

    Opened my eyes , so much more to searching family history than I thought.

  • One of My Most Useful Purchases

    Posted by Ross Hansen on 25th Sep 2020

    This book would be one of the most useful purchases I've made. How often do we come across a piece of information on an ancestor that is completely wrong? Maybe it was gleaned as hearsay from a relative or maybe from someone else's tree. When we add data or people to our tree, we really need to be sure it is correct or we may be led on a wrong path.
    The author explains the different types of sources and their respective reliability, then gives a strategy (technique) for ensuring all the information we add really relates to our person of interest. She then provides an extensive section on solving all sorts of problems and finishes with a suggested research plan. It's all clearly explained and easy to follow. She even includes some twenty pages of references and further reading and a helpful index. If you are beyond "dabbling", get this book and start researching properly. It could save you a lot of wasted time.

  • Proving it - a great satisfaction!

    Posted by Mary Regts on 17th Oct 2018

    This book is all I expected and more from such a thorough and practical person.

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How Do I Prove It?


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