Friday, February 13, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week 6

Well week 6 of the 2015 Genealogy Do-Over is nearly over and I believe that puts us at the half way point as well but don't trust my math! A lot of good information has been shared by everyone.  There have been many conversations that have taken place on our group page on Facebook too. All in all I am very grateful to be part of this project. Thank you Thomas MacEntee for sharing your vision of the Genealogy Do-Over with the rest of us!

Let's begin! This week our topics are evaluating evidence and reviewing online education options. I can honestly say that I will probably never look at another piece of evidence again without going through a these questions.

Questions to ask when evaluating a piece of genealogic evidence:

What is the source type? 
Is it original or derivative?  
What is the clarity of the evidence? 
Is it clear? 
Handwritten or Typed? 
Has the information been altered on the document? 
What is the type of the information? 
Is it primary? secondary? or unknown?  
What type of evidence is it? 
Is it direct? or is it indirect? 
What is the condition of the evidence? Is it intact? Is it damaged? 
Is there any conflicting information?  

The Evaluating Process:

This is the death certificate for Henry Kitts, my children's 3rd great paternal grandfather. Let's see if I can answer all of my questions.  

My Analysis:

Death certificate for Henry Kitts. This is a derivative piece of evidence as it is a digital copy of the original on file with the state of Tennessee. I do not consider this document to be clear due to the handwriting. It is readable for the most part. It is handwritten and does not appear to be altered in any way but there a few faded numerical notations for which I do not know the meaning. This would be direct evidence with of Henry's date and location of his death along with other explicit information stated on the document. The document is in fair condition and does not appear to be damaged. There maybe potential conflicting information regarding who his mother is but at this time it is still an unanswered question. How did I do Thomas?

Online Education Options: 

Over the last four years I have been participating in online webinars through Legacy Family Tree, Ancestry and Family Tree University. Some of these courses were beginning and some have been intermediate in the levels. I have been looking for more intermediate and advanced courses to take to further my advancement in genealogy. I would really like to become a certified genealogist. So what am I going to do further my education?

Well, I have signed up for webinars at Legacy Family Tree on topics that I am self taught in so that I can compare my way versus the standard way. I plan to participate in webinars offered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They have webinars in History Library Catalog and Services, Genealogy Program Introduction, Guide to I & N History Research and "Records Found" Case Studies. These classes are first come, first served and you can find more information at (

I am also considering the home study courses available through National Genealogical Society. I have looked at the requirements for becoming a Board Certified Genealogist at . There are a few areas of genealogy research where I need to improve my skills (ie: court house research) so I will be using their skill building articles to help further educate myself. I understand that is planning to introduce Ancestry Academy this year so I will be watching for more announcements from them. I am also considering looking into ProGen for 2016 or early 2017. In the meantime, I am also looking for classes presented by the states where I spend the most time researching (Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carlina and South Carolina) which are presented by state or county historical societies.

Ready for Week 7!

Copyright © Dawning Genealogy/Dawn M Kogutkiewicz 2014-2015, All rights reserved.   


  1. It sounds like you're doing really well on your Do-Over. I like your list of questions for evaluating evidence - I think I might find that format much easier to apply than the spreadsheet versions. Thanks.

    1. Thank you! I can't really take the credit. These are the same questions Thomas MacEntee has in his spreadsheets all I have done is put them in question format.

    2. It's still appreciated that you did so. It was seeing the difference between the two formats that helped me realise my preferred style.

  2. Thanks for posting an example of how you analyzed one particular item in your research. Very helpful to see what you learned from it and what you still need to determine (such as resolving conflicting info).