Mastering Genealogical Documentation – Now Available at 10-15% Off from FRPC

The National Genealogical Society finally sold sufficient numbers of Thomas W. Jone’s new Mastering Genealogical Documentation that they have allowed dealers to promote it.

Family Roots Publishing is now stocking the volume, and has bundled it with Jone’s earlier Mastering Genealogical Proof – and discounting the bundle by 15% through August 17. Click on this link to order. Don’t need both? Individual copies of either of the books are available at 10% off during the sale period. Cost of the bundle is just $47.52, plus $8.00 postage in the U.S.A.

Following are descriptions of the two books:

Mastering Genealogical Proof; by Thomas W. Jones; Soft Cover; 8.5×11; xii+178 pp; ISBN: 9781935815075; Published: 2013; Item #: NGS21

As a unique textbook on genealogical methods and reasoning in the twenty-first century, Mastering Genealogical Proof guides readers in acquiring genealogical skills transcending chronological, ethnic, geopolitical, and religious boundaries.

About the Book

Mastering Genealogical Proof aims to help researchers, students, and new family historians reconstruct relationships and lives of people they cannot see. It presents content in digestible chunks. Each chapter concludes with problems providing practice for proficiently applying the chapter’s concepts. Those problems, like examples throughout the book, use real records, real research, and real issues. Answers are at the back of the book along with a glossary of technical terms and an extensive resource list.


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Genealogy’s Standard of Proof
    • What is genealogy?
    • Why a genealogical proof standard?
    • The Genealogical Proof Standard
    • Modern technologies and genealogical proof
    • Research and reasoning cycles
    • Using the GPS
    • Chapter 1 exercises
  • Chapter 2: Concepts Fundamental to the GPS
    • Research questions
    • Sources
      • Categories of genealogical sources
      • Importance of source distinctions
    • Information
      • Informants
      • Categories of genealogical information
      • Importance of information distinctions
      • Relationship of sources and information
      • Evidence
        • Categories of genealogical evidence
        • Importance of evidence distinctions
      • Relationship of sources and information to evidence
      • Chapter 2 exercises
    • Chapter 3: GPS Element 1: Thorough Research
      • What “reasonably exhaustive” means
      • Planning thorough research
      • Executing thorough research
      • Demonstrating research extent
      • Chapter 3 exercises
    • Chapter 4: GPS Element 2: Source Citations
      • Citation components
        • Five questions that citations answer
        • Physical sources viewed as images
        • Sequencing citation elements
      • Kinds of citations
        • Reference notes
        • Source lists
      • When and how to craft a citation
      • Resources for citing genealogical sources
      • Chapter 4 exercises
    • Chapter 5: GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation
      • Tests of analysis
        • Authored work or original or derivative record?
        • Primary, secondary, or indeterminable information?
        • Other tests of analysis
      • Tests of correlation
        • Prerequisite to correlation
        • Ways to correlate
      • When to analyze and correlate
      • Outcomes of analysis and correlation
        • Casting doubt
        • Resolve conflicts
        • Yield conclusions
      • Chapter 5 exercises
    • Chapter 6: GPS Element 4: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence
      • How evidence conflicts
      • Resolving conflicting evidence
        • Reasoning
        • Explaining conflict resolutions
      • Unresolved conflicts
      • Assembling evidence to establish a conclusion
      • Chapter 6 exercises
    • Chapter 7: GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion
      • Proof statements
      • Proof summaries
      • Proof arguments
        • Differences between proof arguments and proof summaries
        • Divisions within proof arguments
        • Developing the argument
      • Clear writing
      • Chapter 7 exercises
    • Chapter 8 Using the GPS
      • Chapter 8 exercises
    • Chapter 9 Conclusion
    • Appendix A Pritchett Article
    • Appendix B McLain Article
    • Glossary
    • Reading and Source List
    • Answers to exercises
      • Chapter 1 exercise answers
      • Chapter 2 exercise answers
      • Chapter 3 exercise answers
      • Chapter 4 exercise answers
      • Chapter 5 exercise answers
      • Chapter 6 exercise answers
      • Chapter 7 exercise answers
      • Chapter 8 exercise answers
    • List of Tables
      • Table 1 Suggestions for Identifying Sources to Answer Genealogical Questions
      • Table 2 Selected Guides Describing American Genealogical Sources
      • Table 3 Long-Form and Short-Form Reference-Note Citations to the Same Source
      • Table 4 Selected Documented Examples of Errors in High-Quality Sources
      • Table 5 Correlation in a Narrative and a List
      • Table 6 Timeline Separating the Identities of Men Named John Geddes in the Same Irish Parish
      • Table 7 A Table Correlating Sources, Information, and Evidence
      • Table 8 Seven Related Proof Statements in Context
    • List of Figures
      • Figure 1 Who-What-When-Where-Where Elements in Four Citations to Published Sources
      • Figure 2 Who-What-When-Where-Where Elements in Four Citations to Unpublished Sources
      • Figure 3 Who-What-When-Where-Where Elements in Citations to Published Sources Viewed in Published and Unpublished Media
      • Figure 4 Who-What-When-Where-Where Elements in Citations to Unpublished Sources Viewed in Published and Unpublished Media
      • Figure 5 Map Correlating Evidence from Ten Deeds, a Chancery Case, and a Land Grant to Help Prove a Relationship
      • Figure 6 Illustration and Analysis of an Explanation of the Resolution of Conflicting Evidence


    Mastering Genealogical Documentation; by Thomas W. Jones PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA; 2017; 302 pp; Paperback; ISBN: 978-1-935815-24-2; Item #: NGS32

    Genealogical documentation gives your work credibility. Without adequate documentation, a well-researched family history or tree looks like fiction. Mastering Genealogical Documentation teaches genealogists how to cite all kinds of sources clearly, completely, and accurately — including sources for which no model citation exists. In this new step-by-step guidebook, Dr. Thomas W. Jones presents a fresh view on the art of documentation. Readers will learn how to describe and cite their sources with artistry, clarity, conciseness, completeness, and competence so that their work will meet the genealogy field’s published standards.

    Mastering Genealogical Documentation provides a foundation in the principles, logic, and decisions that underpin genealogical documentation. Learning principles, patterns, and logic gives genealogists flexibility and choice as they create their own structured documentation.

    This essential text offers exercises at the end of each chapter (with answers at the back of the book) to reinforce concepts and provide opportunities for practice.

    The following is from the Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Chapter 1 – The Purpose and Nature of Genealogical Documentation
    • Chapter 2 – Noncitation Aspects of Genealogical Documentation
    • Chapter 3 – Citation Setting, Forms, and Shortcuts
    • Chapter 4 – Capitalization, Italics, Punctuation, and Other Citation Subleties
    • Chapter 6 – Determining a Source’s Publication Status
    • Chapter 7 – Issues in Citing Source Titles, Description, or Both
    • Chapter 8 – Authors, Creators, and Informants
    • Chapter 9 – Citing Absent, Hidden, Obvious, and Perplexing Dates for Sources, Information, and Events
    • Chapter 10 – Citing Numbered, Grouped, and Subgrouped Offline Sources and Information Items
    • Chapter 11 – Answering the Wherein and Whereis Citation Questions for Online Sources
    • Chapter 12 – Identifying Offline Publishers and Repositories
    • Chapter 14 – Citing Images of Previously Published Material
    • Chapter 15 – Citing Online Images of Previously Unpublished Material
    • Chapter 17 – Multipart Options for Citing Images
    • Chapter 18 – Documenting on Your Own
    • Appendix A – Greenfield Example
    • Appendix B – Examples of Creating a Citation Using Waypoints to a Numbered Image
    • Appendix C – Genealogy Standard 5
    • Reading and Source List 1: References and Supporting Material
    • Reading and Source List 2: Selected Guides for Learning about American Genealogical Sources
    • Exercise Examples

    About the Author

    Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, who has pursued his family’s history since age fifteen, is an award-winning genealogical researcher, writer, editor, and educator. He also is a professor emeritus from Gallaudet University, where he designed and managed graduate programs, conducted research, and taught and mentored graduate students for twenty-seven years. Jones, a former trustee and past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, has co-edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly since 2002. He has taught genealogical documentation at Boston University, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, Institute on Genealogy and Historical Research, Western Institute of Genealogy, and elsewhere.

    Order the bundle of the two books.

    Author: Leland Meitzler

    Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

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