Write Your Conclusions

Written By: Jayne McGarvey

What We Will Cover In This Lesson:

  • Why Closure Is Important

  • Let’s Take an Example

  • More Complex Projects May Need a “Pause Point”

  • Record The Resources and Techniques That Worked for You

  • What To Do Next


Congratulations! You have made it to the final lesson in the Green Room Research Roadmap. “Closure” is all-important at this point.


Why Closure Is Important

Cast your mind back to the beginning of the Road Map and you may remember that “a soundly-reasoned, coherently-written conclusion and CLOSURE” is element 5 of the Genealogy Proof Standard.  Unfortunately conclusions are often neglected in favour of rushing off to start something new.

Let’s Take an Example:

A simple process for successfully closing your record research may include ensuring your research is saved, backed-up and your research log is marked complete. The following examples illustrate the use of closure in your research.

  • Example 1 – You set yourself the task of finding a marriage record on IrishGenealogy.ie. You locate the record and download the record image and add the image and details to your family tree. Closure should take 30 seconds to tick off and 2 minutes to check that the marriage is in the appropriate file in your computer and backed up to a storage file.
  • Example 2 – You have researched your ancestor’s 2nd cousin. Your final conclusion and closure might state as little as “Never married. No known issue (children).”

However, if you fail to record those 5 little words then 5 years from now after you have researched dozens of your ancestor’s distant relatives will you remember which one is which? Those 5 little words may save an unnecessary repeat of your research.

More Complex Projects May Need a “Pause Point”

Closure may not always be a possibility. By its very nature not every genealogical research project is going to be 100% successful. You may find that research documents are damaged, missing, lacking critical information or locked away in archives currently inaccessible or you are unable to pay for someone to access them on your behalf.

If you have been following all the elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard then you will have your evidence and analysis already recorded as you go along. Simply finishing with a conclusion will tie everything together.

Occasionally the process of re-examining your research and concluding may spark a few more research ideas and potential connections. Equally, it may expose additional conflicts between pieces of your evidence. Can you explain and resolve the conflicts? If you can, then this is the place to show your reasons and summarise your methodology. If you cannot resolve the differences you may need to simply acknowledge that the evidence disagrees and that more work is required to resolve the matter. So, in summary when closure isn’t possible you may have to settle for a well thought out conclusion.


Record The Resources and Techniques That Worked for You

Take time to record your own Recommendations this can include:

  • Additional records or resources for potential future research.
  • Recording the names of potential relatives you may have discovered during the process and will want to investigate further in the future.
  • Techniques that worked or were too cumbersome.
  • Websites that had helpful information or documents.
  • Contacts you made with other researchers, genealogists, archivists and librarians.


Conclusion and Over to You.

Well done for completing our Green Room Research Road Map.  We hope you have found the Road Map helpful and informative and you have learned that the primary lesson is:

The more focused the subject matter (a single ancestor or couple) and the simpler the objective – then the more manageable the project:

  • Do not create a research plan that will take hundreds of hours to complete.
  • Take small steps.
  • Aim for research goals that take five to twenty hours each (that is my habit as an experienced genealogist).
  • It is possible – with a bit of practice – to break your research goal down into a series of steps that can each be completed in less than one hour while increasing your efficiency severalfold.

So, in summary – I’m sure that we have already chatted a number of times in the forum as you made your way through the Roadmap – but do take a moment to share your research conclusions (and maybe even the next planned steps in your research) over in the Ask the Genealogist Section (see link below).

When you are ready for the next challenge – I look forward to seeing you take on the different stages of the Green Room road map as you advance in your Irish ancestry research and your own research skills.

(Note: What do you think of our new Green Room Research Roadmap? When you are ready, we’d love your first thoughts here….)

What To Do Next:

  • Review your  Research Planning Worksheet – what is your conclusion to this part of your research for this Irish ancestor (or couple)?
  • Share your conclusion – as well as successes or frustrations – in the Ask the Genealogist section of The Green Room for feedback (see link below).


Click Here To Ask Our Genealogist a Question Related to This Module.



Related Resources.

Downloadable Worksheets: