Associates in Action

Associates in Action highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Awards & Achievements

The Board for Certification of Genealogists congratulates the following associates on their successful credential renewals:

Ann Fleming, CG, Chesterfield, Missouri; initial certification 17 June 1994. annf26@att.net

Karen Daniel, CG, Albuquerque, New Mexico; initial certification 31 August 1992. kdangene@msn.com

Career News

Angela Packer McGhie, CG, has been appointed as the new instructor for the Professional Genealogy module of the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program beginning Fall 2017.

BCG Offers Free Webinar: “Analyzing Probate Records of Slaveholders to Identify Enslaved Ancestors” by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG

BCG OFFERS FREE WEBINAR Tuesday, 15 August, 8:00 p.m. Eastern
“Analyzing Probate Records of Slaveholders to Identify Enslaved Ancestors”
by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG

This webinar will provide an overview of the probate process, the genealogical information that can be found in a slaveholding estate, and related records that a probate proceeding may point to.

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG. Board-certified since 2015, LaBrenda focuses on African American families with roots in the South. She was elected as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists in 2016 and is a frequent speaker at national and local venues. She earned a BA in government from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and both a Law degree and a Master of Laws degree from New York University School of Law. LaBrenda took first place in the category for published authors in the 2013 International Society of Family History Writers and Editors “Excellence-in-Writing Competition” and has also been published in the BCG blog as well the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. While practicing law she authored several editions of her family history as well as two church histories, and in 2016 she published a guide and selected finding aids for researching African Americans in South Carolina.

“We are pleased to offer these educational opportunities to the community,” says President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Educating all family historians of every level is part of this mission.”

Register for “Analyzing Probate Records of Slaveholders to Identify Enslaved Ancestors” by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG before 15 August 2017. BCG receives a commission if you register by clicking our affiliate link: http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=2619.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact: office@BCGcertification.org.

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars using our affiliate link at http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=2619 and http://bcgcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars. Again, BCG receives a commission if you register by clicking and buying via our affiliate link. For more information on educational opportunities, please visit: http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

Cari A. Taplin, CG
BCG News Release Coordinator

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Associates in Action

Associates in Action highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Awards & Achievements

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Trustees has honored Ronald Ames Hill, PhD, CG, and Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL, with Certified Genealogist Emeritus status. BCG offers Emeritus status to board-certified genealogists who have had long and distinguished careers with BCG, and who are now retired from the genealogical profession.

Karen Stanbary, CG, has received the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) Award for Excellence, 2016, for her article, “Rafael Arriaga, A Mexican Father in Michigan: Autosomal DNA Helps Identify Paternity,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 104 (June 2016), 85–98.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists congratulates the following associates on their successful credential renewals:

Donn Devine, CG, Wilmington, Delaware; initial certification 21 April 1987. donndevine@aol.com

Nancy C. Levin, CG, Natick, Massachusetts; initial certification 1 January 1997. NCLevin1@gmail.com

Daniela Moneta, CG, Phoenix, Arizona; initial certification 20 Februry 2007. Daniela@GenealogyOne-on-One.com; dmoneta@cox.nethttp://www.GenealogyOne-on-One.com

Career News

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has announced the retirement of editor Karen Mauer Jones, CG, and the selection of Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, as editor of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (The Record).

Publications

Darcie Hind Posz, CG, The Chicago Stones: A Genealogy of Acquisition, Influence & Scandal (Privately Published: Darcie Hind Posz, 2017). http://darcieposz.weebly.com. The book is available for purchase through Lulu Marketplace: http://www.lulu.com/shop/darcie-hind-posz/the-chicago-stones/paperback/product-23235817.html

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has a new publication, “Pennsylvania Genealogy,” published by The In-Depth Genealogist. This four-page guide has tips for Pennsylvania research, history and migration routes, a bibliography of guide books, and over fifty useful Pennsylvania website links. It is available for digital download or as part of the printed laminated series “In-Brief with IDG.” Website: http://theindepthgenealogist.com/shop-idg/idg-products

Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Jones’s “Converting a Bunch of Information into a Credible Conclusion”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 12 May 2017.

F351, Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA “Converting a Bunch of Information into a Credible Conclusion”

Reviewed by Mary O’Brien Vidlak, CG

Many genealogists are good at collecting “bunches of information” to answer a research question but then struggle to organize and assemble the material to know whether or not a feasible conclusion has been reached. Tom Jones’s BCG Skillbuilding lecture “Converting a Bunch of Information into a Credible Conclusion” focuses on a strategy to assemble this collected information to understand whether you have a viable conclusion or not. If you have a conclusion, you will then be able to see what that conclusion is.

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

The presentation introduced the term assemblage, which is defined as “a grouping of evidence items giving tentative answers to a genealogical research question.” Although this is a new word in the genealogical world, it describes something genealogists have been doing for decades.

Assemblages can be either evidence based or event based. Tom shared examples of both kinds of assemblages. The first example of an evidence based assemblage used eighteen sources spanning eight years to answer the question of when a man was born. He then demonstrated how resolution of this birthdate question and the same sources were used in an event based assemblage to resolve an identity question for the same individual.

Tom discussed the three types of evidence assemblage formats: a mental assemblage, text or graphically arranged writing, and a documented graphic. He used various examples to show when each is desirable, and how they can be put together to solve complex cases.

In addition to revealing whether or not you have a conclusion, assemblages can also uncover conflicts in evidence; can expose strengths and weaknesses in conclusions; and may provide ideas for further research.

Tom concluded his lecture on a cautionary note. He reminded his audience to be careful about assembling evidence as soon as it is collected. A conclusion reached from the assemblage before the research is complete can lead to bias.

Assemblage is essential to ensuring work meets the Genealogical Proof Standard. It must meet the standard of reasonably exhaustive research to be complete. The concept of putting evidence into an assemblage corresponds to the correlation part of the GPS. Finally, the fifth step of the GPS—a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion—cannot be reached without assembling the collected evidence in some way.

Information on purchasing this lecture can be found at Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Miller’s “The Genealogical Proof Summary”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 12 May 2017.

F341, Gail Jackson Miller, CG, “The Genealogical Proof Summary: What It Is and Is Not”

Reviewed by Jean Atkinson Andrews, CG

LiveStream Description: Learn to logically organize and present your evidence to meet current standards. Improve and simplify this important step in the research process.

How many of us have randomly collected everything on an ancestor, only to find later that much of it did not apply, or that we had answers to our questions in our already collected information? Many researchers resist writing proof documents because they believe it takes too much time away from collecting stuff.

Gail Jackson Miller, CG

Gail Jackson Miller, CG

Gail Jackson Miller’s lecture might change your mind, as she shows how and why learning, using, and following the GPS method can save time, money, and improve your research results. Throughout the lecture, Miller presents simple, practical ways to bring the benefits of the GPS method into your work.

Our understanding of the past and the soundness of our conclusions increases as we obtain and analyze evidence from quality sources. GPS is a method to help understand past events and people, and writing is a critical requirement of this method.

All research fields have standards for writing and publishing findings. In today’s online world, “sharing” equals “publishing.”  Miller cautions that if it’s not good research, don’t share it! As we all know, once it is online, it NEVER goes away.

Miller explains that there is no “one size fits all” proof document. Proof documents lie along a continuum from simple statements to complex arguments. The evidence and research question to be answered decide the type of proof required. She makes it clear that the methodology for writing proof documents is useful throughout a research project. Writing as you go is the most effective and efficient method of assembling and analyzing evidence. It saves time, but most of us have learned this the hard way, when we had to go back and recreate our work or start over when we couldn’t figure out what we were doing when we left off!

“You cannot write a good Proof Summary without a good start” asserts Miller. If you have not analyzed what you already know, developed a specific research question, and placed what you know and want to know into the context of the location, laws, and customs of the period you cannot write a valid Proof Summary.

Sound hard? Gail advises that you begin the Proof Summary at the beginning of the research. As you collect and analyze the data, and write down your evidence, you are already writing your Proof Summary! Several examples, from simple to more complex, illustrate how the GPS was successfully applied to solve actual genealogical problems.

Miller reminds us that successful problem solving is the same in all research fields. Following a structured process will save time and result in more successful outcomes. Omitting or short cutting steps is a recipe for time loss or failure. Start cutting through your own brick walls with GPS tools!

Information on purchasing this lecture can be found at Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

 

 

Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Russell’s “The Law and the Reasonably Exhaustive (Re)Search”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 10 May 2017.

W121, Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, “The Law and the Reasonably Exhaustive (Re)Search”

Reviewed by Scott M. Wilds, CG

Judy’s talk demonstrated the need to understand prevailing law in order to meet the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).  Though the title refers specifically to one of the standards–Reasonably Exhaustive Research—many of the points made apply to Analysis and Correlation as well.

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

The GPS requirement for “Reasonably Exhaustive Research,” rather than the old “Reasonably Exhaustive Search,” demands, among other things, the need to understand and interpret documents, rather than just to collect “facts.”  In attempting to answer a specific, well-focused question, document interpretation—figuring out what the record tells us—requires us to be analysts who understand the legal context that led to the creation of the record. That legal context informs the information item’s meaning in providing evidence to answer our research question, and will inform further research.

Analysis and Correlation of evidence is the third requirement of the GPS.  The law drove the reason for the creation of documents, and the form that documents take. It is essential to understand the legal requirements and reasoning behind the creation and rationale for documents that we may find as researchers many years later. Documents only make sense in the context of the law.

In addition to  reviewing the kinds of law that may apply in various American contexts – English common law, civil law, statutory law, canon law—Judy provided concrete examples of how understanding the applicable law is necessary to be able to interpret a document.  Challenging documents that seem to make no sense can be comprehended when the relevant law is researched and understood.

Judy provided concrete resources for finding federal and state laws that are needed to properly interpret records.  In addition, both the federal government and state legislatures passed laws to benefit private parties that in themselves may provide information and evidence in meeting the GPS.

Purchasers of this lecture should expect an interesting and fast-paced look at the way that the law intersects with the GPS. Interesting case examples as well as concrete resources to find relevant laws add additional value. Whether you are just starting to grapple with understanding and applying the GPS, or are more seasoned in its application, you’ll find much of great value in this session.  If you are “on the clock” and dealing with submitting a portfolio, this session may make you re-think something in your portfolio, be it in the document work, proof argument in the case study, or in explaining the actions and context of the family you’re writing about in the KDP.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Dunn’s “Estimating Ancestral Birth Dates”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 13 May 2017.

S401, Vic Dunn, CG, “How Old Was Grandpa? Estimating Ancestral Birth Dates”

 Reviewed by Nicki Peak Birch, CG.

Those who were willing to attend Victor Dunn’s 8 a.m. lecture on the last day of the NGS Conference were treated to an interesting and informative talk. Dunn discussed how to estimate ages during the era before vital records were readily available. He focused on record types and life cycles with frequent examples to emphasize his points.

Vic Dunn, CG

Vic Dunn, CG

Dunn’s discussion of record types ranged from the pre-1850 censuses to tax lists, court records, deeds, wills, and more. He showed how to use a series of the pre-1850 censuses to determine a birth range. He reconstructed a family with ten children, of whom only one son was named in the father’s will, just by using census records.

Dunn noted that he was most familiar with Virginia law and recommended becoming familiar with the law of the state being researched. In Virginia, someone as young as fourteen could be a witness, become an executor at seventeen, and write a will or sell land at twenty-one.

Dunn explained that life cycles also help to estimate ages. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, published in 1989 by David Hackett Fischer, gives the average age at marriage for men and women in the four groups of people studied. This allows the researcher to estimate an age for an ancestor if the year of his/her marriage is known. Women’s fertility is also fairly standard, ranging from age fifteen to forty-five, with two or three years between births.

Recommended!

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

 

 

 

Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Peters’s “Proving Identity and Kinship Using the GPS”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 11 May 2017.

T201, Nancy A. Peters, CG, “Proving Identity and Kinship Using the GPS: Finding a Freedman’s Family”

Reviewed by Scott M. Wilds, CG

What do you get when you combine the challenges of resolving issues of identity and conflicting evidence with a fascinating case study and lessons in the GPS?  A practically perfect talk by Nancy Peters, that’s what.

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy addressed several elements of the GPS – reasonably exhaustive research, analysis and correlation, resolving conflicting information—in solving a challenging research question, the identity and origin in slavery of a freedman in Abbeville County, South Carolina.  Students of African-American genealogy and southern families in general will be mesmerized by the case itself, but all genealogists will gain from Nancy’s research planning and execution, and application of the GPS to reach a credible conclusion.

Nancy showed how expanding research beyond the low hanging fruit of federal population schedules produced evidence critical to resolving questions of identity and relationship.  South Carolina genealogists will appreciate and be reminded about the utility of state censuses and militia lists, as well as more obscure records like crop lien documents, found only in the county courthouse.  The correlation of names across multiple record sets led to the sorting out of various men with the same name.  Anyone who has tried to determine whether two people with the same name are actually one or two individuals, will benefit from seeing Nancy’s use of a table with cross tabs for record source and date, name, and identity elements.

This case study benefitted from Nancy’s deep understanding of the historical context for her subject, including, among other things, the possibility of multiple names for African Americans in the Reconstruction era, and the difference in records generated by men taking on crop liens for rent versus those to provide supplies for land they owned.  Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man told us that “you gotta know the territory,” and Nancy showed us why it matters.

This presentation also reminds us that using the GPS can prevent us from taking the wrong path in our research.  While reasonably exhaustive research will take us far from our computers, researching and understanding original records found at state and county archives and the courthouse will save us from making too hasty conclusions and errors.   This presentation is highly recommended to all who are looking for an actual case study that demonstrates “how it’s done” and is an entertaining, well-told, and satisfying research story as well.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Scribner’s “Using Maps in Genealogical Research”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 13 May 2017.

S451, Sara Anne Scribner, CG, “The Lay of the Land: Using Maps in Genealogical Research”

Reviewed by Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG

Sara Scribner, CG, presented “Lay of the Land: Using Maps in Genealogical Research” at the last session of the NGS conference. Sara ably defined and described various map types and demonstrated how problems can be solved using maps.

Sara Anne Scribner, CG

Sara Anne Scribner, CG

In their quest for the bare-bones vital data, genealogists often ignore historical context provided by maps. Sara reminded them that genealogy standards require broad-context research including consideration of historical boundaries, migration routes, and sources for relevant times and places. Gazetteers, emigrants’ guides, landowner, and other types of maps are among the sources that provide this content. Topographical and soil maps can help us understand why our ancestors might have lived where they did and defined the type of agriculture conducted. Surveyors’ maps may name neighbors who might turn out to be relatives.

Sara described common map elements and explained common problems. We may not realize that maps may have been created with an inherent bias or agenda. Examples of maps from a variety of online repositories were displayed. One of the most interesting was an emigrant guide which gave stops along a common migration trail with distances and travel times.

Sara Scribner’s session is an important lesson that reasonably exhaustive research is incomplete if we neglect this important resource.

A recording of this lecture may be previewed and ordered from Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Ouimette’s “Silent Border Crossings”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 11 May 2017.

T251, David Ouimette, CG, CGL, “Silent Border Crossings: Tracing the Elusive Immigrant Who Left Only Breadcrumbs for Clues”

Reviewed by Harold Henderson, CG

In the BCG Skillbuilding Track presentation “Silent Border Crossings,” David Ouimette, CG, told two stories in one compact lecture: his own evolution from “looking for the perfect record” that would tell him exactly what he wanted to know, and his improved research process in identifying an elusive immigrant over the Vermont-Canadian border. Here are some of the keys:

David Ouimette, CG, CGL

David Ouimette, CG, CGL

  • He looked at whole families, not isolated individuals.
  • He looked closely at “evidence I’d had in hand for years.”
  • He looked at the broad cultural and historical context of the Lake Champlain basin.
  • He looked at the record creators. One relevant priest was an Irishman who knew no French, and who spelled them so creatively that some entries could not be deciphered at all.
  • He correlated census and church records along with knowledge of workaday English and French versions of the same name.

The result was a strong case for the identity of the desired head of household. But without looking at the big picture, and without studying the details, nothing would have been discovered.

This talk has appeal beyond the particular border areas where it is set, and Ouimette’s soft-spoken style may be especially good at inspiring those who want to do good research, but who have not quite “clicked” with other lectures about standards.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.