Have You Heard of Dual- and Cross-Credentialing?

Hundreds of people have one of two genealogical credentials. Within this group of credentialed people, there are two smaller groups with impressive achievements.

  • There are the dual-credentialed people who hold both levels of credential from BCG: Certified GenealogistSM and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM. Search the BCG roster for the credential CGLSM. They total 16.
  • Then there are the cross-credentialed people who hold both types of credentials: AG® from the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPgen) and CGSM from the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). Search the BCG roster for the credential AG®. They total 13.

Jim Ison, AG®, CGSM, spoke to the ICAPgen conference in 2009 about how important credentials were to a working genealogist. This is the message that a credential gives your potential clients:

  • It shows a commitment to your field.
  • It demonstrates expertise beyond the norm.
  • It demonstrates adherence to approved standards
  • It shows that your skills and knowledge were independently verified.
  • It provides for an increased level of trust due to the Codes of Ethics.

In addition, Jim shared two graphics developed for this lecture. They are based on a study of the membership of the Association of Professional Genealogists in 2009 so the details may vary this year. They show that having a credential makes the professional genealogist stand out from the thousands of other genealogists working in the field.

© 2009 by Jim Ison. Shared with permission.

There were only thirteen cross-credentialed genealogists in 2009. The commitment to qualifying for a credential also involves a commitment to renewing each credential every five years. Both tasks take experience, hard work, and the courage to be measured against standards.

© 2009 by Jim Ison. Shared with permission.

If you want to understand more about either credential, consider attending Course 5 at the 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. For information, see our blog posting “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?” Online registration begins 1 June 2013 at 9:00 AM Mountain time and many courses fill within minutes.

 

Updated 3 June 2013 to correct number of course.

 

Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?

Beach tug of war at Southport, Queensland, Australia, 1917. From the collection of the State Library of Queensland. No known copyright restrictions.

Apryl Cox, AG®, and Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, are coordinators of Course 5 at the 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. The track is “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?” Apryl will coordinate presentations about the credentialing process used by the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPgen) and Elissa will coordinate presenters for BCG.

The institute will run 13-17 January 2014 at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City. SLIG registration opens June 1 at 9:00 AM Mountain time (11:00 AM Eastern time). Registration must be done online. At that time, a registration button will appear on the website of the sponsoring society, the Utah Genealogical Association. Many popular courses sell out within minutes.

The credentials of both organizations mark their 50th anniversary in 2014. BCG was started by the American Society of Genealogists. That society elects life members based on their “published genealogical accomplishments.”[1] Successful BCG candidates submit a portfolio of work that meets standards.

The Accredited Genealogist credential originated in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to replace the functions of the Research Service, an in-house group of volunteers and library staff performing research and reporting for patrons.[2] Successful ICAPGen candidates submit a research report and pass a proctored written exam.



[1]  “Significant Contributions,” American Society of Genealogists; www.fasg.org : viewed 29 May 2013.

[2] Jill N. Crandell, “A Brief History of the Accreditation Program,” Kory L. Meyerink, Tristan L. Tolman, and Linda K. Gulbrandsen, editors, Becoming an Excellent Genealogist (Utah: ICAPgen, 2012), 214.

Updated 3 June 2013 to correct number of track at SLIG to 5.

Please Welcome Rebecca Koford as a Board-certified Genealogist

Rebecca Whitman Koford of Mt. Airy, Maryland, earned the credential of Certified GenealogistSM this month. Genealogy has been her passion since childhood. She has been working professionally as a genealogist since 2004.

Rebecca’s commitment to education includes completion of the NGS Home Study Course, NIGR, ProGen Online Study Group 4, and Advanced Methodology at SLIG. She lectures and teaches about family history research. Until she moved to Mt. Airy in 2010, she was Assistant Director of the Family History Center and an Instructor in genealogy for Howard Community College, both in Columbia, Maryland.

She is now the Director of Genealogy for Reel Tributes, a company that creates films on family histories. Her professional work includes Maryland and lineage research. Currently she is focused on lecturing about, and spreading the word on, the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions project sponsored by FGS at www.preservethepensions.org.  She can often be found at the Maryland or Pennsylvania State Archives.  She is grateful for the support of her three wonderful teenagers and very patient husband.

 

NGS 2013 Recordings Now Available for Online Ordering

JAMB-Inc’s recording from NGS 2013 are now available for online ordering.

The company has transferred its recordings from the National Genealogical Society’s 2013 conference to the online ordering site. You can click directly through to the NGS 2013 ordering information through http://www.jamb-inc.com/genealogy/ngs/2013-ngs-conference–las-vegas-nv.

To access the blog postings about BCG’s Skillbuilding track at NGS 2013, go to http://bcgcertification.org/blog/category/methodology/.

RPAC Report, April and May 2013

© 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

Report from Barbara Mathews, CGSM, BCG’s RPAC Representative:

The Records Preservation and Access Committee had a busy two months since my last report. The committee has been actively engaged at both the federal and state levels responding to pressure on our ability to access records. Currently at the federal level, RPAC is dealing with Senate and House subcommittee hearings on bills to restrict access to the SSDI. In addition, several states have seen legislation to stringently restrict vital records access. Those states have reported their efforts to RPAC and in some cases asked for support.

RPAC’s telephone conference calls in early April and early May focused on state-level pressures to close vital records. RPAC issued letters of support to state legislative committees in both Oregon and Connecticut. Jan Alpert also took over the responsibilities of RPAC Chair from David Rencher, AG, CG.

At the National Genealogical Society’s 2013 conference, Jan Alpert, Jan Meisels Allen, and Fred Moss presented “RPAC Strategies in a Changing Environment: Fraud Protection v. Access.” The group presented a clear picture of the pressures currently faced by those seeking records access. As the photo above shows, there were empty seats. Not all genealogists recognize the need to work for records preservation and access. The few who do are willing to work hard to ensure access for all.

You can download the PowerPoint slides from this presentation by clicking on “RPAC NGS 2013 Las Vegas.” Jan Meisels Allen put together a PowerPoint slide show to explain how to monitor your own state’s legislative activity — just click on “Toolkit for State Liaisons–Jan Meisels Allen.” In addition, Jan Alpert updated the RPAC brochure; a printable copy is available here.

Federal Legislative Activity.

On Tuesday, 16 April 2013, the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee had a hearing titled “Tax Fraud and Tax ID Theft: Moving Forward with Solutions.” The committee is chaired by Max Baucus (D-MT); Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is the ranking member. Written statements and added oral testimony showed that the IRS has made real progress in intercepting and investigating and prosecuting fraudulent returns. To view the full video of the hearing and statements by Baucus, Hatch, and the four witnesses go to the hearing website here.

On the whole, RPAC considered the hearing to be a step forward in federal understanding of the real issues involved in tax fraud. This includes the fact that the SSDI is used to prevent fraud rather than to instigate it. The blog posting, available here, describes the reasons for optimism as “[T]he IRS should eventually be able to statistically confirm that that vulnerability targeting the deceased has been closed.”

RPAC submitted written testimony that they support short-term (2 or 3 year) closure only if the following three categories are considered for access:

  • Persons working with coroners, medical examiners, DOD
  • Persons doing work on missing heirs, probate, mineral rights
  • Persons supporting medical work

Jan Alpert reminded us that the last week in May is a scheduled recess for both houses of the U.S. Congress. She said that would be an excellent time to approach people in their local offices. Consider getting a small group of people together, including the president of the statewide genealogical society, a member of APG, and an accredited or Board-certified genealogist. Schedule a meeting with your legislator and convey the message that we care about access to the SSDI.

Local Concerns

The unapproved 2011 Model Act and Regulations discussed in the March RPAC report: , have led to the introduction of legislation in many states. Several states are coping with closure legislation this Spring.

  • Texas
  • Oregon
  • Connecticut

The Texas legislature is considering a bill that introduces the long records closure periods of the unapproved 2011 Model Act and Regulations. Members of the Texas genealogy community advocated for access in legislative hearings. See the report of the Texas State Genealogy Society here.

Oregon genealogists worked with other interested parties to eliminate restrictive closure clauses in HB 2093 during hearings April 10th before the Oregon House’s Health Care Committee and  May 9th before Oregon Senate’s Healthcare and Human Services Committee. The RPAC blog posting about the process is very informative.

Connecticut’s General Assembly considered bills generated out of concern for the tragedy in Newtown on December 14th. The gun control legislation instigated by that tragedy already passed. The town clerk of Newtown, however, has induced local legislators to introduce legislation to close death records. Currently all death and marriage records are open. Two new laws were reported out of committee favorably and await votes in the General Assembly’s House. The state medical examiner spoke passionately about the need to keep death records of children open; see the Hartford Courant coverage here. RPAC submitted a letter asking for this legislation to be reconsidered.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about records access or preservation.

New Books at NGS 2013: Jones on GPS and DeGrazia on NYC

The National Genealogical Society announced two new books at the conference in Las Vegas two weeks ago.

© 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

 

The National Genealogical Society announced publication of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, CGSM, CGLSM. It is a workbook for learning to use the Genealogical Proof Standard in our work. It can be ordered here.

Two types of online study groups have sprung up for those of us planning to use the book. Pat Richley-Erickson of DearMYRTLE fame established a group which uses Google+ Hangouts on Air to record to YouTube. It is all explained here. Angela McGhie of ProGen Study Group fame established small groups in a private setting. The GenProof groups are explained here, and in Angela’s blog.

 

 

 

 

© 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

 

Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CGSM, authored Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County, a new book in the NGS Research in the States Series. As Laura states in her introduction, 62% of the state’s population resides in this area. Settled in 1624, its deep history and large population make for a significantly complex research environment. Laura’s book is a clear explanation of the types of records available and how to find them.

Soon this book can be ordered here.

 

Certification: It’s Not All About Writing and Citing

Please welcome guest blogger Elizabeth Shown Mills, CGSM, CGLSM

© 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

Certification: A Measure of Our APR

Today’s hot topic seems to be Board certification and what it represents. Some opine that ‘it’s all about writing and citing, as opposed to sources.’

I see it differently. BCG certification is ‘all about’ analysis and problem resolution. It’s about

  1. our ability to analyze a research problem;
  2. our ability to analyze and interpret the relevant records we find; and
  3. our ability to analyze the body of evidence we’ve accumulated and reliably determine when and whether it resolves a difficult problem.

Of course, none of this is possible without a solid knowledge of sources for each problem. Of course, writing is the tool we use to explain our analyses. Of course, citations are needed to identify our evidence. However, as with our financial investments, the bottom line for our genealogical offerings is always our APR—our skills at analysis and problem resolution—and the level of security it represents. That is what a BCG credential represents.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG
Board-certified since 1976

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS: Certification Seminar

Post by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

It was with great pleasure that I, along with Warren Bittner, CG, and David McDonald, CG, presented a double-session for the certification seminar. The advantage of the sessions held at every national conference over the one-hour video on the BCG website is that attendees can ask questions. And what good questions they were!

Clarification between certification and a certificate program, and how to go about the various aspects of preparing a portfolio were all discussed. In addition those who are actively “on the clock” and getting their portfolios ready gathered for a photo (see below).

Attendees also heard from current BCG associates about their reasons and various pathways to certification from Michael Hait, CG, Craig Scott, CG, and Dawne Slater-Putt, CG.

The double session was audio recorded by JAMB-Inc.com and will appear for sale on their website under session T211 of the NGS 2013 conference.

BCG President Elissa Powell and Executive Director Nicki Birch flank preliminary applicants who are “on the clock”

BCG Ed Fund Leary Distinguished Lecture: Elizabeth Mills on “Can Trousers, Beds, and Other ‘Trivial Details’ Solve Genealogical Problems?”

Please welcome guest blogger Diane Gravel, CGSM.

As genealogical researchers, we routinely pore through records in pursuit of elusive ancestors, grabbing at apparent minutia, anything that might give us the answers we seek. But are we really gleaning all of the information and clues that lie buried in each document before moving on to the next record?

As interpreters of facts, nitpickers of every detail, innovators of new ways to understand records and apply data, we must spend the majority of our time analyzing every document we retrieve. The careful eye scrutinizes each scrap of paper in an estate accounting, noting the date of an order of velvet and fine pants, recognizing it as a likely death record. The careful eye scrutinizes tax rolls for clues of kinship among the neighbors. These are only a few of the examples used by Mills in demonstrating the fine art of record analysis.

This lecture, used with the syllabus material, easily stands alone as a course in evidence analysis. It’s one of those presentations that will be played and replayed, each time inspiring the listener to take another look at their own brick walls, in search of all those missed clues!

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session F312 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

From Diane’s profile at APG:

Diane is a full-time professional genealogist and lecturer, with emphasis on New Hampshire research. She is a graduate (with honors) of NGS’s American Genealogy: A Basic Course, and attended both the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (Advanced Methodology and Military Records) at Samford University and the National Institute on Genealogical Research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

 

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Richard Sayre on “Genealogical Applications of Historical Geographical Information Systems”

Putting historical context into our family stories is impossible until we know the geography of their lives. Over what paths did they migrate? Where did they live? The term “geographical information system” is daunting, but Rick Sayre shepherded us through the details. He showed us that we don’t have to be GIS professionals to use these tools in our research.

Google Earth is a tool geared to the non-GIS professional. Rick showed us several examples in which historic maps were linked to the Google mapping system. That was just one of more than a half dozen such systems Rick demonstrated. One beautiful use of GIS is the Arlington National Cemetery’s system, available for browsers and smartphones at http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/GravesiteLocator/GravesiteLocator.aspx.

Once we look at visual mapping of geography, there are a myriad of resources. You don’t have to create GIS from scratch. Rick’s syllabus material included three pages listing websites to help us map ancestors around the world. The tools and techniques that Rick shared were just the thing for my family stories.

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session F321 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.