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Elizabeth Shown Mills' stunning book, Evidence!, provides the family history researcher with a reliable standard for both the correct form of source citation and the sound analysis of evidence. In successful genealogical research, these two practices are inseparable, and the author's treatment of this little-understood concept is nothing short of brilliant.
This dual-track theme is introduced early on, and is best summed up in a few choice paragraphs from the introduction: "Successful research--research that yields correct information with a minimum of wasted time and funds--depends upon a sound analysis of evidence. Source citation is fundamental, but it is not enough. The validity of any piece of evidence cannot be analyzed if its source is unknown. Citing a worthless source is an effort that produces worthless results.
"Research, evidence, citation, and analysis are inseparable. Evidence is the vehicle that moves our research from curiosity to reality. Citation and analysis are the twin highways that get us there, smoothly and safely.
"Evidence! tries to strip away much of the confusion that researchers experience in this adventure. It offers a road map for beginners, who hope to avoid mistakes, and guideposts for the advanced, who already appreciate the need to map their own course precisely. . . .
"Evidence! stems from the belief that most researchers want to do good work. We simply need guidelines and explicit models--ones tailored to genealogy and to the original sources we commonly use but cannot find discussed in The Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Handbook, or similar manuals aimed at a broader market."
Fundamentals of citation
Fundamentals of analysis
Sample: documented family group sheet
Sample: documented ancestor chart
Guidelines for citing credentials
"Not just every genealogist, but every historian as well, should own a copy. Evidence! is filled with useful information that is difficult to find elsewhere."--GRADY McWHINEY, Ph.D. Lyndon Baines Johnson Professor Emeritus, Texas Christian University.
"Evidence! provides librarians, archivists and others a manual to hand genealogists as a solid guide, to make research easier for themselves and future readers."--ERIC G. GRUNDSET, M.L.S. Director, Daughters of the American Revolution Library; Vice President, National Genealogical Society
"Evidence! is for all of us--the novice, the experienced family historian, and those who come into genealogy from other academic environments. The wide-ranging citation formats cover not only traditional sources but the latest technological ones."--CAMERON ALLEN, J.D. Professor Emeritus of Law, Rutgers University; President, American Society of Genealogists
"In this book, one of America's foremost genealogical scholars has taken on a Herculean task and accomplished it superbly...Elizabeth Mills has provided the best single source for genealogical documentation and a seminal discussion of genealogical analysis. This is a book that every genealogist should be required to own."--THE AMERICAN GENEALOGIST, Vol. 73, No. 3 (July 1998), p. 233.
"Evidence!...earns high marks for both cogency of argument and felicity of expression."--THE PENNSYLVANIA GENEALOGICAL MAGAZINE, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Spring/Summer 1998), p. 266.
"The importance of [Mills'] book to every genealogist cannot be understated...we can heartily recommend this book. Every genealogist should own a copy."--THE NEW YORK GENEALOGICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD, Vol. 129, No. 1 (January 1998), p. 53.
"Anyone planning to publish their family history research would do well to study Elizabeth Shown Mills' slim volume thoroughly...Evidence! joins the recent parade of excellent genealogical guides. This book is full of points to be pondered..."--THE NEW ENGLAND HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER, Vol. 151, No. 604 (October 1997), pp. 488-490.