Friday, June 03, 2011

FamilySearch, SecondLife, and Inferential Genealogy walk into a bar ...

Trust me ... it was hilarious!  Seriously though, I am participating in a fascinating new study group in SecondLife - thanks to DearMYRTLE, who (in addition to everything else she has going on) managed to arrange it all!  We will be studying Inferential Genealogy.  It is one of the many courses available at  FamilySearch.  It is hosted by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, UGA, FNGS.  Not only that ... this is where my favorite 4-letter word comes into play ... it's FREE!

Our first meeting was on Tuesday, May 31.  We had so many people in attendance, our little corner of the SecondLife world was closed.  I think we had a total of 35 people (including Mr. Myrt, who sacrificed his place so someone else could attend - such a gentleman!) around the firepit at JustGenealogy.

We discussed the Introduction and the handouts (we were instructed not to work ahead).  One of our assignments was to come up with our own definition of Inferential Genealogy.  Here's mine (in a nutshell):

Inferential Genealogy is the process of taking a lot of different documents from a lot of different places and using them to draw conclusions about relationships and identities when no single record is able to do it.
The introduction explained the difference between kinship acceptance and kinship determination.  I doubt I will be accepting any document at face value anymore.  Additionally, the five-step process was discussed in detail:

1. Start with a focused goal (be specific)
2. Search broadly (time, location, and associates)
3. Understand the records (why and how?)
4. Correlate the evidence (differences, similarities)
5. Write down results

Needless to say, this week has been a little crazy and I haven't had a chance to even decide what my goal is going to be.  I'll work on that a little later.

Our next meeting is Sunday, June 5, at 5:15 p.m. (Pacific) at the Family History Centre in SecondLife.  You can view the full schedule at DearMYRTLE's blog here and in the Genealogists in Second Life group on Facebook here.  We will be discussing Case 1 (which is my "homework" from Tuesday).

The course is really very interesting so far.  I encourage you to check it out!  If you want to know more about SecondLife, I encourage you to check out Myrt's "Get a Second Life" workshop webinar on June 8.  More information can be found here and here.


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