Additionally, the following BCG website page that shows work samples can be used as a model when developing a genealogical proof: http://www.bcgcertification.org/skillbuilders/worksamples.html
The following text and images are extracted from my presentation entitled: Drilling Deeper with GPS: Case studies demonstrating the Genealogical Proof Standard. I have added hyperlinks which will lead you to more information on particular aspects of GPS.
The Drilling Deeper Metaphor is appropriate for Texas because our oil industry is going back to these historic oil fields to extract every last drop. Genealogists also need to "drill deeper" using the Genealogical Proof Standard as a guide.
Genealogical Proof Standard- GPS
• Purpose of GPS: show minimums for work to be credible.
• Five elements to GPS:
1. Reasonably exhaustive research conducted.
2. Each statement of fact has source citation(s).
3. Evidence is reliable & skillfully correlated and interpreted.
4. Contradictory evidence has been resolved.
5. Conclusion soundly reasoned and coherently written.
• Any proof statement is subject to re-evaluation when new evidence arises.
Five Questions regarding the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS)
• Q1:Who? A: Board for Certification of Genealogists & Christine Rose 2005 publication entitled (Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case)
• Q2:What? A: Method for Solving Gen. Problems• Q3:When? A: Prior to Publishing
• Q4:Where? A: Gen. Journals, Books and Online
• Q5:Why? A: a) Accepted Standard to Build Solid Case, b) Indirect Evidence Method, c) Tool to Resolve Conflicts
Reasonably Exhaustive Search: Texas Online Records
• Online Texas vital records
• Portal to Texas History
• Geography and Biography at Handbook of Texas Online
• County records- clerk, district clerk, libraries, GenWeb
• Texas taxation records
• County appraisal district websites
• and many more...
Reasonably Exhausive Search: Texas Archives
• Genealogy & local libraries
• History libraries
• Regional archives
• College & University Libraries & Archives
• Church Archives
• Fraternal Archives
Case Study #1: Buried in Colorado County: Frank E. Little 1855-1908
|Why was Frank Little buried in the Oakes Family Cemetery? What was his connection to the Oakes Family.|
“ROCK ISLAND, TEXAS (Colorado County). Rock Island, on U.S. Highway 90A fifteen miles west of Eagle Lake and twelve miles southwest of Columbus in southwest Colorado County, was settled in 1896 as part of a land promotion scheme on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad. ..The town's original name was Crasco, after nearby Crasco Creek, but in 1897 the citizens successfully petitioned the post office department to change the name. Charles Petersen, a large landowner, renamed the town for the Rock Island Railroad Company. In August 1897 Petersen was appointed the first postmaster of Rock Island, and the old Crasco post office was closed. From an original core of thirty-nine farming families, the population of Rock Island had grown to 367 by 1904 and had reached an all-time high of 500 by 1925. ..”
|Does "conduct a ranch" mean that he was a ranch foreman or did he purchase a piece of land in a land promotion scheme?|
o Nine marked graves most related to John C. Oakes
o There were no land records involving Frank Little so maybe the ranch foreman was the more reasonable conclusion.
|John C. Oakes owned several parcels of land on which he was conducting ranch operations as shown in this tax record.|
|The is the outline of the original land grant held by John C. Oakes.|
Reasonably Exhaustive Search:
o Appraisal District Land Records
Name of Property Owner
Wrote two letters with SASE & my full contact info
Asked for info on cemetery & Oakes family history
Both owners emailed back
Spoke to both owners on phone
o Death Certificate
Earliest year available online for Colorado County death certificates is 1902. Then there is a gap in the records until 1909.
However, even though the online records show a gap for 1908, it does not mean that records do not exist
The Family Search Catalog shows microfilms of an index and death records for Colorado County Texas which includes 1908
Notes on the content of the film state: Microfilm of originals in the Colorado County courthouse in Columbus, Texas. Includes general index with some volumes individually indexed.
County clerk website offered a search for a fee. Call first!
County courthouse had a 1908 death ledger entry for Frank Little
For more information on the Frank Little case study, please read the following:
Case Study #2: Buried in the German Society Cemetery, Houston
Fredericka Brenner nee Eggert 1828-1901
|The numerous birth dates and locations shown for Fredericka Brenner can be resolved by "drilling deeper" into parish records in Germany.|
|The church burial record gives a place of birth for Fredericka Brenner nee Eggert as Steinke in Saxony. The parish records in Germany need to be searched to reveal the precise location and date of the birth.|
For more details on the Fredericka Brenner case study, please go to this blogpost:
Case Study #3: Murder in Stafford: Rev. Robert S. Sloan 1858-1916
• Obituary - 23 October 1916 Brenham Daily Banner-Press
• Rev. Robt. S. Sloan 1858-1916
o 1858 Born near Washington on Brazos to Maria Jordan
o 1884 Constable Pct. 1 & active Republican
o 1886 accused as Democratic “bulldozer”
o 1892 Black Elephant Saloon
o 1892 son Sam death by train
o 1900 Baptist minister & financial agent for Central Texas College Waco
• 1892 Advertisement Brenham Banner
• 1903 The Democrat (McKinney, Texas)
• Who Shot R.S. Sloan?
• Frank Robinson Indicted 1917
• Was he guilty?
• What was his motive?
• R.S. Sloan, Camptown Cemetery, Brenham, Texas
Robert S. Sloan is one of my favorite case studies and I have written about him in the following blog posts:
Building a Solid Case with GPS
• The Process by Christine Rose p. 1
o Conduct a reasonably exhaustive search among a variety of records
o Determine the class for each piece of information within the record, i.e. whether it is
Direct or Indirect Evidence
Original or Derivative Source
Primary or Secondary Information
o Weigh each piece of data keeping in mind WHO furnished info & WHY
• The Process by Christine Rose p. 2
o Evidence must all point in same direction. If not that evidence must be negated or refuted.
o If evidence points in same direction, & no other conclusion can be reached then case has passed GPS and is solid
o Write up the conclusion. Include an explanation of any opposing evidence and how it was resolved. Include citations.
Evidence Process Map- Elizabeth Shown Mills
A Metaphor for Genealogical Proof: The Jigsaw Puzzle- T. Jones, 2010
• Do the puzzle pieces belong to your ancestor puzzle?
• Do you have the puzzle pieces in the right place and in the right direction?
• With a sufficient number of pieces, a clear picture or reliable answer may emerge even when pieces are missing.
• Just as a picture emerges from assembled puzzle pieces, genealogical proof rests on the sum of evidence.
Summary Advice by Cimino
• Question every date, place and name on any publication or original record
• Look for the original source of all data
• Look for every possible record source in online sites, microfilm, books, and archival repositories
• Transcribe, analyze and compare every source record for every detail it contains
• Write and re-write the story based on available evidence at every phase
For more information on Genealogical Proof Standard, please visit the following site: