Elizabeth Shown Mills to present Leary Distinguished Lecture at NGS 2013

The BCG Education Fund announced that the 2013 Leary Distinguished Lecturer at the NGS Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, is Elizabeth Shown Mills, CGSM, CGLSM, FASG, NGS, FUGA, who poses a provocative question: “Can Trousers, Beds, and Other ‘Trivial Details’ Solve Genealogical Problems?” Her answer is, Yes! All can create solutions to brickwall problems. She will present the lecture at 9:30 AM on Friday, May 10th.

Elizabeth Mills, who has emphasized research methodology and evidence analysis throughout her long career, is a master at drawing clues from seemingly trivial details. In the 2013 Leary Distinguished Lecture, she presents a series of brick wall problems involving identity and parentage. For each, she demonstrates ways to develop solutions from minutiae found in everyday records, including black domestics and tacks, housekeeping bills, trousers, beds, and more.

Mills is a historical researcher and writer who has spent her life studying American culture and the relationships between people—emotional as well as genetic. A popular lecturer and past president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the international Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth is the author, editor, and translator of thirteen books and over 500 journal and magazine articles in genealogy, history, literature, and sociology. Aside from her 2004 reality-based historical novel, Isle of Canes (which Historical Novels Review called a “masterpiece” and other reviews dubbed “a cross between Roots and Gone with the Wind”), Mills is best known for Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (a Library Journal “Best Reference 2007”) and the textbook Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers & Librarians. Interviews with Elizabeth Mills are featured in the National Genealogical Society’s popular video series “Paths To Your Past” at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.

The Leary lecture series, initiated in 2007, honors Helen F.M. Leary of North Carolina, Certified Genealogist Emeritus and a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, known for her richly informative and entertaining lectures on methodology, law, writing, and the art of lecturing.

Throughout her distinguished career, Helen F.M. Leary has worked to educate all serious genealogists. Helen embodies personal and professional work standards that the BCG Education Fund seeks to emulate and to instill in those practicing the art and science of genealogy.

Graphic courtesy of the National Genealogical Society.

Use the New Sign-Up App for Volunteering at the BCG Booth at NGS 2013!

BCG will have an exhibit hall booth at several upcoming conferences to which the public is invited to visit. At all conferences access to the exhibit hall is free but registration is needed in order to see the lectures. Please click the Calendar of Events tab to see what events may be near you that BCG plans to attend. At the booth is information and actual successful portfolios, including a couple of new ones, that you may peruse in the designated area. The public is also welcome to sign up for BCG-sponsored conference luncheons and attend the BCG-sponsored Skillbuilding track at the NGS conference. See you there!

The following is from guest blogger Vic Dunn, CGSM

If you are a Board-certified genealogist and plan to attend the NGS Family History Conference in Las Vegas from  8 to 11 May 2013, please consider signing up to help staff the BCG booth in the exhibit hall. This is a great way to network, meet new associates, and promote BCG. Staffing the booth will be less complicated this year since BCG will no longer be selling merchandise at the booth. All book sales will be through Maia’s Books and further instructions will be provided as the conference approaches.

We will need two volunteers for each time slot. Please sign-up at http://signupschedule.com/victordunn.

You can access the conference program at http://members.ngsgenealogy.org/Conferences/Program2013.cfm to plan around sessions you are lecturing for or plan to attend.

Thanks for your help, and I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!

Judy G. Russell Adds Certified Genealogical Lecturer(SM)

Board-certified genealogist Judy G. Russell of New Jersey added the CGLSM credential on 18 March 2013.

Judy’s background includes work as a newspaper reporter, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, and legal editor. In addition to genealogy, Judy still works full-time as a law editor and teaches part-time on the adjunct faculty at Rutgers Law Schools. In the world of genealogy, Judy is best known as The Legal Genealogist. Her blog at http://legalgenealogist.com is designed “to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history.”[1]

Popular topics in her blog include a series on the Terms of Service for several online research sites, and information explaining copyright issues as they apply to genealogy. She lectures regularly, both at conferences and online.[2] The CGLSM designation was a natural next step for her.



[1] Judy G. Russell, “Welcome to the Legal Genealogist,” The Legal Genealogist; http://legalgenealogist.com/biography : viewed 24 March 2013.

[2] Judy G. Russell, “Facts, Photos and Fair Use: Copyright Law for Genealogists,” Professional Development, Association of Professional Genealogists, membership and password required; http://www.apgen.org/members/professionaldev/webinars/copyright.html : viewed 24 March 2013.

2013 Call for Nominations

Under BCG Bylaws, one-third of the trustees are elected each year to serve three-year terms. The 2013 nominating committee requests suggestions for candidates to place on this year’s slate. Suggestions must be received by 1 May 2013.

Nominees placed on the ballot will be associates whose standards of work are exemplary and who contribute balance to the Board’s composition, geographically and administratively. The most commonly needed auxiliary skills include accounting, database management, editing, law, marketing, and writing. Individuals suggested to serve on the committee must be willing to fulfill the duties expected of all trustees, specifically:

  • To serve for three years and participate in a  wide range of Board activities involving many volunteer hours;
  • To attend the Board’s midyear meeting held at the annual National Genealogical Society conference in the spring; and
  • To attend the annual meeting of the Board, generally held in October in Salt Lake City.

Trustees serve without compensation and are expected to pay their own travel and related meeting expenses.

The five trustees whose terms expire at the end of the 2013 annual meeting are CindyLee Butler Banks, AG, CGSM, of Nebraska, Warren Bittner, CGSM, of Utah (finishing out the term of Christine Rose, CGSM, CGLSM, FASG, of California), Dawne Slater-Putt, CGSM, of Indiana, Michael S. Ramage, CGSM, of Pennsylvania, and Victor S. Dunn, CGSM, of Virginia.

Suggestions for candidates, with a short description of their special skills, should be made by 1 May 2013 to Elizabeth Shown Mills at eshown@comcast.net.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CGSM, CGLSM, FASG, Chair
Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGSM
J. Mark Lowe, CGSM


RPAC Report, March 2013

Courtesy of Microsoft Office.

Report from Barbara Mathews, CGSM

My friends will attest that two of my burning concerns are the preservation of records and our rights to access them. As BCG’s official representative to the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), I advocate for the concerns of Board-certified genealogists, and participate in RPAC’s monthly conference call. Beginning today I will also report monthly to you about the records issues.

What is RPAC? It is a joint committee organized by the National Genealogical Society, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. Each of these three societies has a vote on the committee. In addition, non-voting representatives are sent by several national groups: American Society of Genealogists, Association of Professional Genealogists, BCG, and ICAPGen. In addition, representatives attend from two corporations, Ancestry, and ProQuest. Communication is fostered by an email list, monthly telephone conference calls, and the RPAC blog.

This month there are two important topics of national interest (legislation involving the Social Security Death Index, and release of the 2011 Model Act and Regulations), and two local topics (North Carolina, and Georgia). Continue reading

BCG Will Sponsor Four-Day Skillbuilding Track at NGS 2013

Stefani Evans

Photograph of the Las Vegas monorail train on the track to the convention center © 2013 Stefani Evans; used with permission.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists is pleased to again partner with the National Genealogical Society in presenting the Skillbuilding track, a series of lectures that address research standards, techniques, and methodology. The lectures are intended for researchers who want to improve their skills. Among the topics for 2013 are English and American handwriting and vocabulary, evaluating family artifacts, and congressional records and emigrant guides as genealogical sources.

Skillbuilding lectures first appeared at the 1996 NGS conference in Nashville and were part of some NGS and FGS conferences in the following years. Since 2005 BCG and NGS have jointly presented full four-day tracks of lectures for conference attendees. As BCG’s Conference Coordinator, Kay Haviland Freilich, CGSM, CGLSM, former BCG president, designs the series of lectures in conjunction with the NGS conference chair.

To learn more about the BCG Skillbuilding Track at NGS 2013, check out the conference blog at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/2013/01/bcg-skillbuilding-track.html. That posting contains a full schedule with session numbers, speakers, and titles.

Graphic courtesy of the National Genealogical Society.


RIP Arliss Monk

Guest Blogger: Thank you to Karen Mauer Green, CGSM, for sharing her memories and her photo of Arliss at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City last October.

I’m saddened to report that the genealogical community has lost another fine genealogist and exceptional individual. Arliss Shafer Monk, CGSM, mother of Birdie Monk Holsclaw CGSM, passed away 27 February 2013, aged 91. She was a lady possessed of a sharp mind, a quick smile, and a compassionate heart. She was a great friend, and she will be sorely missed.

In typical Arliss fashion, she was organized up until the end. She wrote her own obituary, leaving blanks only for the date and place of death. Also in typical Arliss fashion she downplayed significant aspects of her life. For example, she mentions being partner with her husband, “a music instructor,” in a piano tuning business, but doesn’t tell the reader that Bill Monk was, in fact, blind. For years she drove him to his jobs teaching music at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, giving music lessons, and tuning pianos for clients.

Arliss has been continuously certified since 19 May 1976 (CG #163) and has never wavered in her support of standards, BCG, and genealogical education. Yes, she “qualified as a certified genealogist” as she so modestly put it in her own obituary. However, she did not mention that Continue reading