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Genealogy and Family History

Explore your roots at VPL and beyond: resources and services for genealogists

Standards and Proof

If you want to establish an authentic family history, it's important to evaluate and cite your sources. Many people make sincere but fantastic claims about their family history that are built on circumstantial evidence and cannot be proven. If, for example, you find a document indicating that your ancestor was the son of two particular people, don't accept it at face value. Continue looking in other sources for records that will confirm the linkage. Some genealogists argue that it requires at least three pieces of evidence to prove a connection.

Creating an authoritative genealogy or family history requires time, effort, and critical thinking. Charts and reports should be accompanied by complete footnotes and bibliographies. A useful resource for those who want to maintain high standards in their research is The Genealogical Proof Standard established by the Board for Certification of Genealogists in the U.S.

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