Monday, February 8, 2016

From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write Proof Arguments! at GRIP

This summer -- July 22-27 at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh -- Kimberly Powell and I will again be coordinating a week-long course that focuses on tools we can use to meet the last three prongs of the Genealogical Proof Standard:

* analysis and correlation,

* resolving conflicts, and

* writing a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion (without which no genealogical conclusion can be considered proven).

We don't mean to neglect the first two prongs -- thorough research and good citations -- but we think many genealogists are ready to zero in more closely on these three. (If you need citations consider this June offering.)

Much of the course involves taking apart published articles and considering how they work and (in some cases) how they came to be. There will also be daily interactive analysis and writing exercises and discussions.

There's a reason for this case-by-case and hands-on approach: every genealogical problem requires different tools and approaches; very few general rules work. Every confusion is different, and it reaches conclusion in a different way. So we will try to fill your toolboxes, and not say that you should solve all problems by using (say) a screwdriver.

Thomas W. Jones PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, and Melissa Johnson CG will each be teaching two sessions.

Quick info here.

A bunch of additional details, day by day, here.

We're in the process of updating the linked information to reflect the fact that William Litchman cannot be with us this year and Melissa Johnson will be bringing knowledge gained from her publications in NGSQ and NYGBR.

Signup for this second session of GRIP begins [CORRECTION!] Wednesday, March 2, at noon Eastern, 11 am Central, 10 am Mountain, and 9 am Pacific. For many inhabitants of the first two time zones, Pittsburgh is within reasonable driving distance. 

When last offered, the course filled very quickly. This year we do ask students to be familiar with the concepts presented in the relevant chapters of Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013). We hope to see you there!

[slightly amplified about an hour after first post]

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Try to remember . . .

The science-fiction writer who coined the term "cyberspace" reflects on how difficult it is to recapture a world without television or recorded sound. I've always thought of this in the future tense, in that I have no idea how to write a memoir addressed to the future, because I don't know what will have become unfamiliar, but I think he's struck a deeper chord. What exactly was it that I did when there was no ever-present screen to interact with? (Emphases added.)

"It’s harder to imagine the past that went away than it is to imagine the future. What we were prior to our latest batch of technology is, in a way, unknowable. It would be harder to accurately imagine what New York City was like the day before the advent of broadcast television than to imagine what it will be like after life-size broadcast holography comes online. But actually the New York without the television is more mysterious, because we’ve already been there and nobody paid any attention. That world is gone.

"My great-grandfather was born into a world where there was no recorded music. It’s very, very difficult to conceive of a world in which there is no possibility of audio recording at all. Some people were extremely upset by the first Edison recordings. It nauseated them, terrified them. It sounded like the devil, they said, this evil unnatural technology that offered the potential of hearing the dead speak. We don’t think about that when we’re driving somewhere and turn on the radio. We take it for granted."

William Gibson, interviewed by David Wallace-Wells, The Paris Review, Summer 2011