Building Skills – Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records

March 27th, 2018 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

TITLE: When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records
TIME & DATE: Thursday, 03 May 2018, 2:30 p.m.

One record says he was born in Michigan; another says Minnesota; a third says Illinois. One record says his father’s name was John; others say his father was David. Clearly, the evidence is conflicting. Now what? The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) requires that we resolve conflicts among evidence items, since we can’t reach a credible conclusion otherwise. Sounds good … but it’s easier said than done. What exactly are we supposed to do with conflicting evidence? What standards do we follow? In other words, how do we do what the GPS tells us to do?

In “When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records,” part of the Methodology track, we’ll look at specific examples of conflicting evidence drawn from the upper Midwest region to see what tools we can use to help meet this critical element of the GPS. From making sure we actually notice when information items clash, through figuring out which differences are important and which are not, all the way to writing up our conclusions and getting feedback from others, the session will explore the problems posed by conflicting evidence and the tips and tricks we can use to resolve them.

Other sessions by Judy Russell:

T213 – The Discriminating Genealogist; Telling Good Evidence from Bad, Thursday, 03 May 2018, 9:30 a.m.

F341 – A Matter of Standards; DNA and the GPS, Friday, 04 May 2018, 2:30 p.m.

S433 – Paths to Your Past: Story Telling to Bring Us Together; Saturday, 05 May, 12:15 p.m. (Luncheon – GSG/ISFHWE)

ABOUT: Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, provides expert guidance through the murky territory where law, history, and genealogy come together. Her award-winning blog The Legal Genealogist can be found at