While writing about my improving genealogical practices yesterday, I remembered something I had read a while ago called the Genealogical Maturity Model. The goal is to try to provide a scale for one to determine their level of genealogical practice and see where they can improve. This is summed up in a hand chart: Rate Your Genealogical Maturity from 2010. When I read this the first time I found it a bit pedantic, but now I understand it better and it makes more sense to me. It rates ones genealogical practices regarding sources, citations, information, evidence, and conclusions, although in the comments he backs off the conclusions scale. I think this is a useful test, although I suspect a beginner would not understand the meaning of all of the levels. I suppose that may be a diagnostic factor in itself.
So, what genealogical maturity levels did I have to overcome when I overhauled my work on Barber Nichols?
Sources: Emerging Level – Mostly relies on compiled genealogies and online sources. I didn’t mention this in my previous article, but one other thing I fixed when I cleaned up Barber’s records was to get rid of information from an online tree. Most of it by now was backed up with better sources so I just got rid of it. It’s been about ten years or so since I’ve relied on compiled genealogies, but when I first found my connection to Barber Nichols a few years ago I did pull in an unsourced tree with his family. This hasn’t been all bad since it gave me some leads, but I haven’t pulled in a tree since then.
Citations: Emerging Level – Increasingly captures necessary information for manuscript sources. I was capturing the basic information for the citations, but needed to jump up to the fifth level: “Overcomes limitations of genealogical software to create well organized, industry standard reference notes and source lists.” Training since I created these citations has taught me how to do citations properly and overcome the limitations of Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic.
Evidence: Practicing Level – Additionally, captures directly conflicting evidence. I was capturing conflicting evidence such as different birth dates and locations, but I was not looking so much for indirect evidence. I was grabbing the fact and moving on to the next one. I am now trying to grab indirect evidence more often, looking over entire documents and adding details like neighbors to the source notes.
Also, as I write up my findings so far on Barber Nichols I am hoping to practice the Proficient level of the Conclusions category: “Additionally, when necessary creates soundly reasoned, coherently documented conclusions utilizing direct and indirect evidence.”