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FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver's Great Trifecta by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL - Digital Download

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Can you really 'prove' a female line when, for four straight generations, absolutely no document identifies a parent or sibling? Does the challenge seem hopeless when courthouses are burned and an illegitimacy is rumored? This session will demonstrate how to use three critical tools: (1) the FAN Principle to build a case for identity and parentage in each generation; (2) the Genealogical Proof Standard to create proof arguments; and (3) DNA testing—mitochondrial and autosomal—to confirm or disprove the validity of those proof arguments.

This was presented live at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists on October 7, 2016. 56 minutes. For more information about the Board for Certification of Genealogists and genealogy standards, visit

The recording is also included as part of the monthly or annual membership.

Viewers' comments:
  • She's amazing! First time listening to her. Won't be the last.
  • A very interesting demonstration of research techniques
  • Absolutely fabulous in every way I cannot say enough positive things about this webinar!! So professional, classy, interesting. Looking forward to more!
  • Absolutely the highpoint of my genealogical life ~ hearing Elizabeth Shown Mills !!!!
  • All I can say is: "WOW"
  • Amazing case study! Kudos to Elizabeth Shown Mills for showing us that we can find the women in our burned counties.
  • Amazing presentation and just what I need to continue working on my brickwall challenge. Thank you
  • As expected, it was TERRIFIC, INSPIRING, and USEFUL!
  • Best ever!!!!
  • Elizabeth did a great job of explaining her process and was overly thorough in her search. I'm sure that most of us wouldn't have done such an extensive search. What an example of determination and creativity she is to all of us.
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills ALWAYS provides and entertaining and instructive learning experience. When I grow up I wish to be just like her.
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills is amazing. I could listen to her for hours.
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills session: excellent. Challenging. Inspiring. Scary.
  • Elizabeth truly has a gift of making the solving of complex problems simple. She gives me hope that using these methods I can break through MY brick walls in the South!
  • ESM always blows me away! She is so thorough and so brilliant. Great study of her family tree!
  • ESM IS GREAT as a presenter! I have read her articles in NGSQ, etc., but this is the first time I have heard her speak. WOW!
  • Excellent presentation that anyone can use to better their research techniques, not just those going for certification.l Thanks so much!
  • Excellent presentation. I love watching ESM walk through her analysis of a difficult problem, explaining her reasoning, and answer any conflicting evidence in an easy to understand format. Thanks for hosting these webinars. Truly educational.
  • Excellent speaker and fascinating case study. Will put her on my "favorite" webinar speaker list!
  • Excellent! I need to purchase more DNA kits. :)
  • Fantastic Presentation and, even more, fantastic Presenter!
  • Good description of how DNA can substantiate a paper documentation.
  • Great example of how a seemingly impossible question can be answered with exhaustive research, hypothesis and DNA.
  • Her work is absolutely amazing! So happy to have seen how she brought everything together. Thank you!
  • I now understand how all these methods work together. Lots and lots of work but one can find out about ancestors. There is always a way to 'find' someone. Never give up.
  • I was amazed and overwhelmed by the thouroughness of the research. I have a new set of ideas on a brickwall I have.
  • If I could give it higher than 5 I would, Amazing! Hadn't had the chance to hear her before but only to read about her. Can see why she's considered as highly as she is in the world of genealogy research. Definitely a webinar to watch again and again.
  • I'm in absolute AWE!!!
  • Is there anyone better than ESM in our genealogy world? WOW!
  • Just WOW is all I can say . The hour was TOO SHORT
  • Learned so much on how to expand the FAN and use DNA. The case history was invaluable! Thank you!
  • Loved "seeing" the process and the charting of the DNA Analysis to confirm research and proposed theories
  • Masterful! This is the fun part of genealogy!
  • One of the best ever
  • Overwhelming amount of work to prove relationships can mean a lot of time! But it was excellent to see just how she could build a case like this, in spite of little direct evidence.
  • She is amazing! I always learn so much from her webinars. So many say that MtDNA is not useful for solving genealogical problems. This is a perfect example on how to use it in conjunction with other evidence to do just that.
  • Simply amazing presentation. I was enthralled. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  • Such a convoluted trail that took many years and much research is to be commemded.
  • Such a help for my Deep South research! What a landmark study! WOW AND WOW AND WOW
  • Terrific!!!
  • That was just absolutely amazing. First time I have had the pleasure of hearing Elizabeth speak and just WOW. I have admired her and her work for a long time but I am completely blown away. Thank you for sharing that case study!
  • This comprehensive and clearly explained evidence shows why Elizabeth Shown Mills is so widely appreciated and sought after for her teaching.
  • This is my first webinar with Elizabeth Shown Mills. I really enjoyed the presentation and look forward to other lectures from her.
  • This is the best webinar I have seen! Elizabeth Shown Mills is a MASTER at solving cases, and teaching from those cases.
  • This was a flawless presentation. It gave me some steps I hadn't known about.
  • This was my first..I was most appreciative of the organization and targeted nature of the event....No peripheral or wasted time...everything in order and to the point...much thanks for a really informative look at how a true dedicated researcher goes about her business...
  • This was the first time I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by ESM. She does not disappoint!!! The case study was excellent as was her detailed explanation of the methodologies.
  • Was THE BEST webinar I have ever attended!!
  • What can one say about ESM except I wanna be her when I grow up! On to historic . . .!
  • It is always a pleasure to hear E. Shown Mills clearly and carefully describe the steps in her remarkable research paths. She makes the most complex problems solveable through her carefully reasoned approach. Although I have heard several different presentations over the years relating to her Zilphy research, there is something new every time and between this and her presentation at NGS, she is laying a clear foundation for how to combine the GPS, FAN and DNA.
  • Wow!!!!! That was dedicated, skilled research, Wow, can I just say that again Wow!!!
  • You just can't top ESM!! Thanks to all who arranged for her to present today, for free.

About the author:
Elizabeth Shown Mills is a historical writer who has spent her life studying Southern culture and the relationships between people—emotional as well as genetic. Published widely by academic and popular presses, she edited a national-level scholarly journal for sixteen years, taught for thirteen years at a National Archives-based institute on archival records and, for twenty-five years, has headed a university-based program in advanced research methodology. A popular lecturer and past president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth is the author, editor, and translator of 13 books and over 500 articles in the fields of genealogy, history, literature, and sociology. She has delivered over 1,000 lectures internationally, has appeared on radio and TV talk shows on three continents, and was featured on BBC's 20th and 30th anniversary specials on the novel Roots.

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