Genealogy research can be a challenging but very rewarding hobby. We all have our reasons, methods and practices when it comes to research.
The internet provides us with many tools to help us but errors happen, details are missed and sometimes we just need help organizing records.
One great new tool I recently discovered is Evidentia.
This blog interviews the creator and owner of Evidentia, Edward Thompson, to introduce and explain this software.
What is Evidentia?
Evidentia is a software program that simplifies the process of analyzing evidence and creating proof arguments while still following the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).
The Genealogy Proof Standard is explained in this previous blog. It’s basically the guideline for establishing or proving the reliability of a genealogical conclusion with reasonable certainty.
What inspired the Development of Evidentia?
In the 20 years that Edward has spent researching his family history, he became aware that there wasn’t genealogy software on the market to solve his research challenges.
Listening to the community discussions and reading online blogs, he knew that he wasn’t the only one with these challenges.
- Remember how conclusions are formed– he needed a tool that would allow him to analyze evidence, form conclusions, and keep them within the same software.
- Squeeze more information out of sources– Even though he had sources referencing multiple people and events, if he wanted to attach information to every person or event at one time, his options were limited. He knew he wasn’t getting as much as he could out of his sources and he couldn’t afford to lose such valuable material.
- See everything on one screen– he loved his genealogy software but, like most genealogy database software, it focuses on people and events. These options don’t present all the evidence in one, concise and organized way to facilitate analysis.
With this realized need and potential business endeavor, Edward started developing the software in May of 2012 with the first release later that year in December. Today, the software has a growing list of more than 1,000 active users.
What are peoples’ feelings about Evidentia?
The feedback that Edward receives is generally very positive. Users like the way it makes them think about their research. It forces them to put evidence before conclusions.
Unfortunately, users don’t always find it easy to use which he attributes to the feeling like he is making the software easier to use by simplifying actions and tasks only to discover that people don’t always know where to start.
More often, people admit that there is a paradigm shift when using Evidentia. People who are used to populating conclusion boxes discover they have to save that part of their analysis until they find evidence. They get intimidated by having to put on a “researcher hat”. The goal of the software is to make that process non-threatening.
Getting started on Evidentia is easy. Evidentia offers a 14-day free downloadable trial of the software.
- Download and install software
Once installed, the software has a set of tabs that flow through the process.
- Identify a source
- Catalog Information
- Analyze Evidence
Other steps could include;
- Uploading a GEDCOM file
- Connecting a FamilySearch.org account
Basically, a user will start with a source. Edward says “sit down and relax because you are going to spend some time with that source.”
There are many tutorials and videos on the website to help guide users through the software as well as a guidebook that is available for purchase.
A full-use license after the free-trial period is $29.99.
Connecting with FamilySearch
As mentioned, users can connect Evidentia to their FamilySearch.org account which will allow FamilySearch to read, save, and change FamilySearch Family Tree Information requested by the user.
What Doesn’t Evidentia do?
- Does not connect with ancestry.com
- Does not connect with research websites to provide new hints
- Does not connect with other users for collaboration of family trees
- DNA analysis
What Enhancements Could Be in Store for Future Releases?
- DNA research tracking tools
- Increased integration with third-party tools
Have you ever heard of or tried Evidentia? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
About Edward Thompson, Creator and Owner
Edward loves researching ancestors as well as spending time with his grown boys and his wife of 30+ years, traveling and visiting family. He recently returned from an Unlock the Past Cruise to Alaska with new ideas for Evidentia.
He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Masters in Computer Information Systems. Currently, he works as a Software Consultant in Charlotte, NC, where he lives with his wife of 30 years.
He dreams of doing full-time genealogy software development and playing Lego’s with his grandson. Or full-time Lego’s and part-time software development. It’s a toss-up.