“Genealogical Evidence and Proof”
F. Warren Bittner, CG
This course will cover the essential skills of analyzing sources, comparing records for agreements and discrepancies, resolving conflicts, and compiling proof. These are essential skills for the successful genealogist. This course will benefit those at beginning, intermediate or advanced levels.
F. Warren Bittner, CG, is a genealogical researcher and lecturer. He is a former trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists. He holds a Master of Science degree in history from Utah State University. His master’s thesis looked at the social factors affecting illegitimacy in nineteenth-century Bavaria.
Warren Bittner was a winner of the National Genealogical Society 2011 Writing Contest, with his article “Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Büttner Family from Bavaria to New York.” This article was also awarded the National Genealogical Society, Award for Excellence, 2012 which is presented annually for an outstanding article published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.
He has coordinated German research tracks at the Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. For six years he was the German Collection Manager for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. He has done research in more than fifty German archives and in more than forty U.S. archives and record repositories.
- “Complex Evidence: What it is, How it works, Why it matters”: This session will cover evidence evaluation standards and the genealogical proof standard. A case study will demonstrate how multiple pieces of evidence establish the parents of a woman whose records are full of wrong information and dead ends.
- “Proof Arguments: How and Why”: Why does a researcher need to write an argument to establish identity? How to do it? Why does it Matter? Proof Arguments are essential to convey research to the next generation. This session will introduce written proof arguments. Examples will be taken from the previous two lectures. Published examples of proof arguments will be reviewed.
- “Exhaustive Research, Evidence Analysis, and Genealogical Proof”: This session is the case study of Dora Lühr, where exhaustive research and evidence analysis lead to genealogical proof. Learn to prove an immigrant’s identity comparing U.S. and European data. Follow an immigrant not found where she is supposed to be and whose name is not what it is supposed to be.
- “The Web of Evidence: Proof and Disproof”: This session will cover examples of evidence analysis where an original source, with primary information is proven wrong, and an example of when quick conclusions led to wrong information.