2. Learning and Practicing the Genealogical Proof Standard

Green Hills.jpg

Years ago and far away on the green isles of New Zealand I was mentoring people who were making some serious life changes. The program included several sessions where it was critical that precise information was given in a precise sequence. So I memorized the presentation word perfect. That was in 1969. Parts of that come back to me even today. How the does this relate to the GPS? Read on and I'll explain.

Here's my point. Until the genealogist knows those five steps of the Genealogical Proof Standard, she cannot learn to do them.

A certain small company developed a wonderful mission statement. This truly impressive mission statement was sung with gusto by the owners and managers but nothing happened to bring performance in line with the mission. A thinking man in an upstairs office saw the problem. The frontline staff did not buy into the mission. So every Monday morning he took a handful of $10 bills and went into the front lines. He offered $10 on the spot for anyone who could quote that mission statement from memory.There were no winners that first day. The next visit he talked to people individually as they worked, and was able to give away $20. On his third visit, everyone had memorized that mission statement and they cleaned out his billfold. And no, I do not know where he got the money from. But I know that performance alligned itself with the mission in the next 30 days.

The message I have for you is this: Challenge learners to memorize the principles of GPS. Reward learners for knowing and applying them.


One response to “2. Learning and Practicing the Genealogical Proof Standard

  1. Ken,

    Exactly right! The most important thing that I remember from my paper route back in about 1955 was Mr. Stoddard. He challenged my brother and I to learn the ABCs backward, the names of the states and capitals, the Presidents in order, the National Parks, and several other groups that I can't recall now. If we did it, we had to present them to him and his poker buddies when we came to collect for the paper (I recall the paper was like 50 cents a month). He gave us a dollar for every group we could memorize, which was a significant sum to a 12 year old kid.

    It worked really well – we learned a lot, he got a charge out of his trained paper boys, and the poker buddies were really impressed. I hope God blessed Mr. Stoddard richly!

    Cheers — Randy

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