09 May 2013

Mastering Genealogical Proof Book Review

Genealogists are all a twitter over Thomas W. Jones book, Mastering Genealogical Proof.  A few on Facebook even joking about going to bed with Thomas Jones.  I think Dr. Jones has a hit on his hands.

I received my copy over the weekend and couldn't get into it very well as my daughter was visiting and I didn't want her to think I was neglecting her over a genealogy book.  Although, I did look it over that night.  She did look at it and commented, "it even has worksheets".

Mastering Genealogical Proof is a National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series book, written by Thomas W. Jones, an award-winning genealogical researcher, writer, editor and educator as written on the back cover.  I had the pleasure of attending one of Dr. Jones sessions at FGS 2011, in Springfield.  He is an excellent presenter, if you ever have the chance to hear him speak or present, please take advantage of it.

As excellent of a speaker as he is, he is just as good of an author.  Mastering Genealogical Proof is a nine chapter book written for anyone interested in producing quality genealogical research.  No matter if you are a seasoned researcher or just beginning your genealogical journey you will benefit from Dr. Jones book.

Mastering Genealogical Proof takes the reader from the simple question of "What is Genealogy?" to the more complex principles of the Genealogical Proof Standard(GPS).  The book is broken down into easy to use chapters that conclude with exercises for you to complete.  The worksheets allow you to put into practice what you just learned.  There are two articles in the back of the book that are used with the chapter exercises or worksheets.  Real research examples are spread throughout the book.  A glossary of terms and a bibliography/ reading list adds to this great genealogy learning tool.

I appreciated Dr. Jones' words in the preface, "When I began tracing my family's history, almost a half-century ago, I gave no thought to accuracy.  Trusting what I read and what people sent or told me, I naively shared false information with relatives and other researchers." I could relate to those words as I followed the wrong Frank H. Glover for a generation or two.  This book is a must read for those starting their research.  If I had had such an excellent resource in the beginning, I would not have made the mistakes I did early in my research.

I have just begun my study of this book.  I look forward to learning more about thorough searches, complete citation of sources, analysis of sources and information, resolution of conflicts and writing conclusions (which I am not very good at).  The teacher in me even enjoys the worksheets, which allows me to apply the concepts of each chapter.  I hope you will join me in furthering your genealogy education by reading Mastering Genealogical Proof.

Disclosure:  I purchased Mastering Genealogical Proof myself and receive nothing for writing this review.  I am so impressed with the quality of this book, I wanted to recommend it to my readers.

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