Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Besides citing sources consulted, a very important factor in any type of research is finding proof of whatever conclusion is reached. To help researchers decide how reliable their resources are, renowned genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills has added another valuable reference aid to her QuickSheet series. Again sharing her expertise, she has compiled Your Stripped-Bare Guide to Historical ‘Proof.’

     As Mills points out, ‘proof’ is the result attained after considering a “body” of evidence—not just a single source. She also states that “quality” proof requires seven steps before a conclusion can be drawn. Breaking down the steps for the evaluation of sources, Mills provides a simple, three-columned chart that can be used to make the right decisions. The stream-lined chart can be utilized by anyone to determine how trust-worthy a piece of evidence really is.

     Divided into three categories, her information suggests ways to evaluate the source, evaluate the information, and evaluate and process the evidence. Mills poses in each category several questions researchers need to ask. For instance, “Is the record original or derivative?” After genealogists determine the answer to several questions about the document, they should try to identify who provided the data and when. Genealogists and historians must also decide if the information is relevant to the research question. If it is, then researchers must determine if the evidence is credible or contradictory. Mills also furnishes questions to ask once a hypothesis has been formed.

     On the flip side, Mills simplifies the analysis of evidence even further by supplying “A Process Map for Historical Researchers.” The “process map” is based on the principle that sources provide information from which evidence is identified. A sound conclusion or ‘proof’ can only be reached after a thorough analysis of materials.

     Like other publications in the series, the compiler’s guide is a two-sided laminated sheet, which can be stood up or lain down for immediate and convenient referral. In addition, the aid is sturdy but flexible, will not easily tear, and will remain readable after the constant use it will surely receive. Indispensable as a compact reference tool, QuickSheet: Your Stripped-Bare Guide to Historical ‘Proof’ will take up very little room on a computer desk or on the book shelf. It can also be easily transported to any research site. Historians and genealogists alike will want a copy for use as a handy analysis “reminder.”

     To the guide's price of $6.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4.50 for one item and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $6.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional item. The guide (item order 3872) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

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