GeneaGem: Elements of Genealogical Analysis by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG

Today’s GeneaGem is unique – it is the only book that I have added to this category and it is not free.

Elements of Genealogical Analysis by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in 2014 is a true GeneaGem for methodology techniques in genealogical researching. Cost is $24.95, but there is a discount for NEHGS members.

Why is a book in my GeneaGems list?

Robert Charles Anderson is the gentleman who developed and directed The Great Migration Project, covering New England immigrants from 1620-1640. He also is a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, one of only 50 genealogists at any given time who have been elected to this lifetime honor.

His work is top notch and Elements of Genealogical Analysis outlines the methodology he used while researching the immigrants in The Great Migration Project.

The best thing about this book is that it is very readable AND, more importantly, any researcher, whether a newbie or one who has researched for decades, can use these same techniques in his/her own research.

The book is divided into two parts – Analytic Tools and Problem-Solving Sequence. There are also four appendices – Glossary, The Three Paradigms, GENTECH Genealogical Data Model and Forgery.

Mr. Anderson’s methodology is based on his two “Fundamental Rules”:

  1. You must have a sound, explicit reason for saying that any two individual records refer to the same perso.
  2. All statements must be based only on accurately reported, careful documented, and exhaustively analyzed records.

Part One delves into the analysis of records that the genealogist uses to determine the quality of the information being reviewed.

Part Two covers how to go about analyzing what type of record you have, how many records you have pertaining to someone with the same name and how to analyze and synthesize your findings.

What is really great about this book is the heavy use of examples of various types of records that you will come across in your research. While most of the examples pertain to New England, the types of records are found everywhere so it doesn’t really matter if the example is from Braintree, Massachusetts, Oregon, Canada or Europe.

While this description and some of the terms used (like linkage bundle)  might sound a bit esoteric, it is a very practical guide to becoming/continuing to be an accurate, careful researcher. It takes academic type concepts and applies them to every day genealogical research. You can’t ask for more if you want your work to be respected by others.

This is a book that every serious family historian should have in his/her personal library!

 

 

 

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