Vital records: a main objective of genealogical research is to determine the birth, marriage, and death dates of a person.
Personal data: another goal may be to obtain data about a subject's occupation; religion; military service; economic status; and social, civil, or political activities.
Complex problem investigation: is there no direct evidence that states the parents of Mary Smith? Perhaps two records state different parents for John Doe. These are two examples which may require intensive research and gathering sufficient evidence in order to form a conclusion.
Historical Research (Specialized Services)
Companies: the incorporation date and founding members of companies, products sold, advertising literature, and other pertinent data.
Background data: authors frequently require background data when writing books. This data may include laws of a particular time period, biographical research of a deceased person, or products invented by a person.
General historical data: includes town, county, state, and national data so an ancestor can be placed in the proper context of his time period. The events of the time often influenced decisions made by the person. Why did a farmer, after raising sheep for twenty years, switch to cows? Why did a young lady leave the rural community to work thirteen-hour days in a textile mill?
The GPS consists of five steps used to establish proof of a conclusion:
- Conduct a reasonably exhaustive search
- Collect complete, accurate citations of all sources
- Assess the quality of all evidence
- Resolve any conflicts in the evidence
- Write a soundly reasoned, coherent conclusion