Genealogy Evidence Analysis – Free Template and Sample
In our Research Like a Pro study group, one of the first assignments is to analyze existing evidence. This is actually my favorite assignment. It is so fun to comb through what I’ve already gathered about a research question and look for clues to help me see where to go next in my research. I’ve been studying Genealogy Standards, a book published by The Board for Certification of Genealogists to better understand the different parts of analysis:
Source (Original record, derivative record, or authored narrative)
Information (Primary, secondary, or undetermined)
Evidence (direct, indirect, or negative)
In my most recent project, I compiled a lot of prior research I had done on a brick wall problem about my third great grandmother, Lucinda Keaton. I have been trying to find her parents. After analyzing all my evidence, I realized that I had enough indirect evidence to hypothesize that her father was William Keaton.
It’s amazing how entering information into a spreadsheet and analyzing facts can propel you to the next step! I had saved tons of screen shots to Evernote without actually reviewing them and fully discovering them. Typing them out into a timeline and deciding on the reliability of each fact helped me draw conclusions and develop a research plan to test my hypothesis. Give it a try!
I’m sharing my evidence analysis and timeline spreadsheet that I used for the Lucinda Keaton project with you today. It has two sheets (change sheets at the bottom of the spreadsheet). The first sheet is a template that you can use for your own project. Hover over the top sections for Source, Information, and Evidence, to see the definitions of each type. The second sheet is a sample of how I used the spreadsheet for my project about Lucinda Keaton.
If you want to view the template in Google Sheets, click below to view the spreadsheet and then copy it to your own Google drive by clicking file, “make a copy,” and then select the location you want to save it to in your google drive.
If you would like to download the Excel version of the spreadsheet, click below.
How do you organize your evidence when you’re beginning a research project?