Early Reviews of Evidence Explained Fourth Edition are Glowing – The Global Tofay

Early Reviews of Evidence Explained Fourth Edition are Glowing - The Global Tofay Global Today

Over the past week or two, we received highly favorable reviews of the new fourth edition of Evidence Explained. Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace from three of the most popular genealogy bloggers on the Internet: Marian B. Wood (“Climbing My Family Tree”), Randy Seaver (“Genea-Musings” ), and Linda Stufflebean (“Empty Branches on the Family Tree”).

New 4th Edition of Evidence Explained

Each reviewer provided a strong, overall endorsement for the new edition. Mr. Seaver, writing on February 18th, asserted, “This book is a necessary work for every researcher’s bookshelf or desktop, or reference book computer file folder.  I used the digital version of the First Edition for seven years, and the Third Edition for 9 years, and can’t do without them.” According to Ms. Stufflebean, writing on February 25th, “Elizabeth Shown Mills spent almost a year working on Evidence Explained, Fourth Edition.; she has done a fabulous job! I really like this “slimmed down” version of the best guide out there that teaches us how to correctly record all the necessary details to build accurate citations for our genealogical research.” Marian Wood’s February 24th review had high praise for author Elizabeth Shown Mills, writing “[she] has done a masterful job in revising Evidence Explained, 4th edition, because she’s both streamlined and thoughtfully updated the content of this indispensable reference book . . . Since the first edition was published in 2007, this has been the gold standard for understanding and citing genealogical sources. Actually, it’s the platinum standard because of the clear, robust explanations about the wide variety of resources we use to research and document our ancestry. Mills well goes beyond how to cite specific sources–she delves deep into source quality and what that means for the credibility of evidence and, ultimately, the credibility of our conclusions.”

The reviews also homed in on the new Chapter 3, “Building a Citation, Templates 1-14,” which accounts for the streamlined version of the fourth edition. Linda Stufflebean had this to say about it: “Elizabeth Shown Mills spent almost a year working on Evidence Explained, Fourth Edition.; she has done a fabulous job! I really like this “slimmed down” version of the best guide out there that teaches us how to correctly record all the necessary details to build accurate citations for our genealogical research . . . The Fourth Edition, with Chapter 3 leading the way, makes the process of creating source citations seem much more manageable. . . .Chapter 3 will become the initial “go to” chapter for most of us as we seek to master citing our sources.” Randy Seaver made a point of explaining the arrangement of that chapter,” The 14 Templates in Chapter 3 are in three sections: Templates 1 to 5 are for Published Materials, Templates 6 to 11 are for Unpublished Material, [and] Templates 12-14 are for records for which unique constructions are needed. Each Template has a table for the Building Blocks of the citation (e.g., author, title, place, date, descriptor, specific item), with an example, followed by a typical Citation Sentence using the Building Blocks, and Construction Notes to explain details of the citation.  Each Template has a different set of Building Blocks.” Marian Wood remarked that  “Instead of printing dozens of sample templates for us to adapt in citing sources, Mills has simplified the examples into 14 templates that become the building blocks of citations. These templates range from basic book and website citation to citing books, magazines, newspapers, databases, authored manuscripts, and even gravestones viewed personally. Easier for readers to understand, easier for readers to implement.” 

Of course, the reviewers also mentioned various aspects of the book that caught their attention. Ms. Wood encouraged readers not to, “skip over the grey pages at the front of the book. First is “The Evidence Analysis Process Map,” with sources (original or derivative records or authored narrative) that provide information (from an informant who has first-hand, second-hand or unknown level of knowledge) used as evidence for an analysis leading to the genealogical proof of our conclusion. Page 1 is a handy QuickStart guide to diving into Evidence Explained, followed by two pages summarizing the basics of source citations, at a glance.” This reviewer also encouraged genealogists to visit Ms. Mills’  website for its . . . tutorials and other bonus material, . . . .”

Both Mr. Seaver and Ms. Stufflebean published the full table of contents of Evidence Explained, with Mr. Seaver emphasizing that “This significantly revised edition builds on the previous editions, with discussion of the genealogy research process and crafting quality source citations,” and Linda Stufflebean pointing out that “indicative of the massive increase of digital resources available online today. Mills has accordingly expanded the examples of online records that need to be cited in our research.”

Anyone who has been waiting to purchase Evidence Explained, or who owns a copy but wonders about the best way to approach its contents would do well to read any or all of these informative reviews in its entirety.


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