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The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS)

In 1997 the Board of Certified Genealogists (BCG) adopted the GPS as a means to measure proof for genealogical research and writing. The GPS is a method of measuring that evidence of a "fact" is "clearly convincing" before declaring that the "fact" is proven.

I strive to meet GPS in my work.  It is used throughout the profession and practice of genealogy to measure the quality of reports, case studies and family histories.  It has five main components quoted below:

  1. Reasonably exhaustive research--emphasizing original records proving participants' information--for all evidence that might answer a genealogist's question about identity, relationship, event, or situation.

  2. Complete, accurate citations to the source or sources of each information item contributing--directly, indirectly, or negatively--to answers about that identity, relationship, event, or situation.

  3. Tests--through processes of analysis and correlation--of all sources, information items, and evidence contributing to an answer to a genealogical question or problem.

  4. Resolution of conflicts among evidence items pertaining to the proposed answer.

  5. A soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion based on strongest available evidence.

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