Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Gen Proof" Groups to Study Mastering Genealogical Proof

I am excited to introduce "Gen Proof," a new group studying the book Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, GG, CGL, FASG, FNGS. This book is published by the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and can be ordered here.  I have worked with Thomas W. Jones to organize the study program and provide an opportunity for individuals to discuss the material in each chapter. 

The press release from National Genealogical Society describes the new book:

“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. Dr. Jones, a noted writer, lecturer, and editor in the field of genealogy, explains and develops the level of proof that is appropriate to genealogy.”

We are very fortunate to have Tom Jones mentoring the first Gen Proof study group, and the participants in that group will turn around and mentor future groups. The first group will begin on May 19th and the subsequent groups will begin this summer. Watch for more details coming soon.

 The study group participants will:

  • Study one chapter at a time
  • Complete all the exercises included in the chapter and check their work
  • Discuss the content of the chapter with ten group members including a mentor
  • Share their insights on each subject with study group members 

Study Group Platform

We will be using Google + private communities as a platform for these study groups so that there will be no expense involved to participate. You will need to have a free Google + account. Once organized each Gen Proof study group will have their own private Google + community where they can ask and answer questions anddiscuss the book content and assignments.

The groups will meet in one of three formats selected by the mentor. 

1) Some of the groups will meet in video chat discussions via Google Hangouts and will require headsets and microphones along with a camera on a computer or tablet. This is a fun way to interact with other study group members. 

2) Other groups will discuss the book in asychronous (ongoing) discussions on the board in the Google + private community. Participants will not need to be online at the same time every week, but will carry on a conversation on each chapter of the book throughout the week.

3) A few of the groups will meet in private online text chats via Basecamp or Campfire. These groups will meet either once a week, or every other week to discuss a chapter of the book with their mentor. 

Joining a Gen Proof Study Group
UPDATE: See the following blog post  with updated information on how to join the Gen Proof study groups.  Gen Proof Study Groups – How To Get In 

If you are interested in participating in a Gen Proof study group then please send an email to genproofstudy at to be added to the waiting list. Those on the waiting list will be contacted in the order they applied to join and be invited to select one of the study groups to join. 

Mastering Genealogical Proof Google + Community

We have created a public Google + community page to encourage discussion of the book. The link to the Mastering Genealogical Proof community page is

To join this community just click the red “Join Community” button at the top of the page.

Everyone is invited to join this community page and begin discussing the book. It is fairly simple to use so log on and give it a try. There is a category on the left side of the page for each chapter of the book. Please post comments and questions in the category for the correct chapter. 

Another Study Group
Pat Richley (Dear Myrtle) is also organizing a Mastering Genealogical Proof study group in a webinar format on Google + Hang Outs on Air. She has posted information at

These two study group options will provide an opportunity for many people to participate, and individuals can choose the study format that will work best for them.


  1. Do I really need a headset to hear the chat if my computer has audio? Ditto for speaking--computer has microphone built in.

  2. I already have the book and have read the first two chapters, plus Appendix A and done exercises for Chs. 1 and 2. It's good to see a textbook for GPS.

  3. Sharon, if you choose a video chat study group you will need a headset and microphone so you do not get feedback from your computer or noise from the room during the discussion. Some of the mentors are opting to do text chats or asynchronous discussion board study groups so I would wait to purchase anything until you are registered for one of the groups. We are lucky to have over 15 mentors willing to host study groups, but I am letting them each use the format they are comfortable with.

  4. I want to concur with Angela on using a headset. I live by myself in a quiet apartment, but every time the air conditioner comes on, noise ensues. Also, using the headset dulls down the telephone ring, kitchen stove timer, you've got email ding, and dog barking to go out. All of these have come up when I've been online. When I wasn't using a headset, the dog bark startled everyone else.