Find My Ancestor Blog

The GPS for Genealogy

In my opinion, one of the hardest things about doing genealogy is sourcing all of the information we find. Not only is it hard to know how to source things, but to remember to source them!

Mark Tucker did a great presentation on the Genealogical Proof Standard(GPS). Before his presentation I had heard about the GPS, but I didn't know exactly what it was, how to use it, or how it could help me in my research.

The first question some of you may have - What is the Genealogical Proof Standard? The GPS is a standard that has been set by many professional genealogists that we should follow to correctly cite our sources in our research. The GPS consists of 6 main points:
  1. Define Research Goals
  2. Search Reliable Sources
  3. Cite Each Source
  4. Analyze Sources, Information & Evidence
  5. Resolve Conflicts
  6. Conclude Written Proof
As I learn more about the GPS the more I think about how detailed this process is. I admit, my first thoughts on this were that it just seemed like way too much to do and way too complicated, but the more Mark talked about it and gave examples in his presentation I realized that this is something that is here to help us document our research and accurate in our findings. Even though it may take a long time to go through this process, at least we can sit back and look at it in the end and know that we did a thorough job on researching and citing. I am also confident that years down the road when our posterity is looking at the information that they will be glad we spent that extra time so they won't have to do the research all over again.

If you would like to learn more about the Genealogical Proof Standard, visit Mark's website at his blog Think Genealogy. On Mark's blog, he has links to the presentation he gave at the conference as well as a printout of the GPS. Thanks again Mark for the great presentation!

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  1. Thank you for sharing this particular process. It is very important that we each understand what is involved in it.


  2. I am glad that you had a great experience at the expo. Thank you for attending my presentation and for writing about it. Like many others, I struggle with my research and am redoing what others have "done" before me. Best wishes in your genealogy research, analysis, and conclusions.

    The information from the presentation can be found at:

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