Monday, May 5, 2014

Mastering Genealogical Proof - APG Discussion Group

Eight weeks ago a new educational opportunity came to me via another Oregon APG member, Judy K. Fox. Beforehand she sent out email invitations to several local APG members inquiring in their possible interest in joining a Mastering Genealogical Proof discussion group. Having already purchased the book, and knowing those who are members of the local APG group, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity. Eight of us jumped at the chance to meet weekly to discuss the book, chapter by chapter. One did have to drop out after the first week, but the rest remained steadfast, with very few missing a week.

It is interesting that each week the individual participation during the discussion remained about the same. With three of us attending all of the discussions, and everyone shared in the conversation. The interesting thing about a discussion group is that all of the conversation takes place through typed entries. It is challenging to follow the conversations and then send off an entry to correspond. At times one may fall a little behind, but there was an utmost attitude of patience throughout the meetings. Having a consistent weekly meeting time for every Thursday morning from 11 - 12 was very helpful.

This week will be our last meeting and it will certainly be missed by those participating. We probably won't miss having to complete homework for each meeting, but that work was critical to participation. For me it was hard to make the time commitment as like most people our time is valuable for the work that we do, but the opportunity to reinforce new research skills is important and the price was right, free except for purchasing the book. The book's author Thomas W. Jones will be coming to Eugene, Oregon in three months and having completed this study of his book will be a great leap forward in attending his classes. The book is part of the National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series, published in 2013.

Here is a little review of the topics we covered:
Week 1 - Genealogy's Standard of Proof, with five review questions.
Week 2 - Concepts Fundamental to the GPS, with eighteen questions and four tables with fill in the blanks.
Week 3 - GPS Element 1: Thorough Research, with three questions which had twelve separate parts.
Week 4 - GPS Element 2: Source Citations, with fifteen questions and three tables with fill in the blanks.
Week 5 - GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation, with four questions, including three tables with fill in the blanks and question one having twelve separate parts.
Week 6 - GPS Element 4: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence, with seven questions, including one table with fill in the blanks.
Week 7 - GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion, with six questions, including seven parts for number six.
Week 8 - Chapter eight Using the GPS and chapter nine Conclusion, With four questions all using the same eleven parts to evaluate different types of writings of various authors of our choice.

Homework was not required, but as one quickly learned made participation much easier. One could simply cut and paste a response during the review of the chapter. There is recognition for those who do turn in their homework and for me it seemed worthwhile to do so. With a busy week ahead it became a challenge to complete the work, but for this last week it is ready. This learning experience will impact the future work of all who participated. Some of us are probably more comfortable with using what we learned than others.

Would this be something to do again in the future with another type of group? Most certainly, it encourages me to consider participating in a Pro-Genealogist study group which would require a longer time period and more in-depth work. Having that book and it being the basis for several of my college classes might lend to participation.  Sometimes we just have to make the time for genealogy research development, whether it be for professional work or just our own. These skills will enhance the work that we produce, leaving a more quality and useable product for others to follow. Is there a discussion and/or study group in your future?

1 comment:

  1. Susan has been one of our steadfast participants and always has wonderful comments to share. It has been a great group experience, and we've all learned from it. Having our feet to the fire getting those assignments ready every week ensures that we'll actually read and learn from the book. I'll bet everyone feels more confident with genealogical proof-making than when we started out!--Judy Fox