RPAC Report, August 2013

Jan Meisels Allen presenting at IAJGS 2013. Photograph © Barbara Mathews.

Submitted by Barbara Jean Mathews, CG.

The three societies that are voting members of the Records Access and Preservation Committee hold annual conventions. At each convention RPAC presents a session. This year, I attended two meetings and telecommuted to the third. They were:

  • National Genealogical Society convention in Las Vegas, Nevada (reported here in April).
  • Federal of Genealogical Societies (FGS) in Fort Wayne, Indiana (telecommuted).
  • International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Both FGS and IAJGS were this month. What a delight it is to make connections with people who care about records preservation and access. It is a great lift to my spirits.

The FGS presentation was made by Janet Alpert and Fred Moss. Jan Meisels Allen presented a slide show remotely from her home in California. The FGS slide presentation by Janet Alpert is available on the RPAC website as a PowerPoint presentation (17M in size) or as a pdf handout with six slides to a page (only 1M in size). The slides cover the main themes seen this year, including the 2011 Model Act, state budget restrictions, bills currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress, and misunderstandings around identity theft and the Social Security Death Index.

Over the summer, RPAC strengthened its coordination with its state liaisons. A liaison is the individual within each state who communicates concerns to and asks for support from RPAC. (Disclosure: I am the state liaison for Massachusetts.) A state toolkit and sample state slide show are available for download from the RPAC Publications site here. In the first eight months of 2013, seven state states have had to actively respond to state legislative actions or budget restrictions. All were successful.

RPAC strongly urges that state genealogists visit their U.S. Senators and Representatives. Their suggestion is that the president of the statewide genealogical society and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists schedule a meeting with the Congressional member or their staff. RPAC’s talking points brief is available from as a Microsoft Word DOCX (or as a pdf), APG’s talking points are covered on their Advocacy Committee’s website here.

Members Jan Meisels Allen and Kenneth Ryesky, Esq., of the Public Records Access Monitoring Committee (PRAMC) of IAJGS together with RPAC chair Janet Alpert presented the session in Boston. The PowerPoint slide is available from the IAJGS site here and the handout is here.



BCG Activities in Salt Lake City

BCG Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The BCG Trustees have traditionally met in Salt Lake City in October each year. Around that gathering will be a celebration to honor BCG’s 50th anniversary. Now is the time to make plans to join us in Salt Lake City in October if you haven’t already. A banquet and free lectures are all open to the public.

Open to the entire genealogical community is the all-you-can-eat buffet banquet on Saturday, October 12, at 7 p.m. (social hour at 6 p.m.) at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. Co-sponsored by ASG, BCG, and FamilySearch, this celebration of 50 years of genealogical standards is very appropriate. Judy Russell, CG, CGL, (aka “The Legal Genealogist”) will be the banquet speaker and promises to have us laughing and reflecting over 50-year history of our field with the following topic:

“We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” — Standards for the 21st Century
From no formal standards to the Genealogical Proof Standard, the field of genealogy has come a long way in establishing criteria by which excellence can be measured. And we face a long and perhaps even more daunting road ahead as we consider the 21st century challenges posed by technology, DNA and more.

The cost for the banquet is $40 and parking will be free for those who drive. Checks may be made out to “ASG” and sent to the ASG treasurer, Myrtle Hyde, FASG,  3628 Iowa Avenue, Ogden, UT 84403.

A series of free lectures from Board-certified genealogists are being planned for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11, 2013, in the Church Museum Auditorium next to the Family History Library, to which the public is invited. More details will become available on the BCG blog as they become known.

SLIG Course: “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?”

BCG and ICAPGen will again offer a joint course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, January 13-17, 2014. Both organizations’ credentials were founded in 1964, and this is a fitting way to celebrate credentialing while providing detailed requirement and application information. While two of the twenty sessions are jointly given, each organization has nine sessions to present, discuss and utilize exercises in their credentialing process. BCG’s instructors are Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, (co-coordinator with Apryl Cox, AG), F. Warren Bittner, CG, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, J. Mark Lowe, CG, and Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL. David Rencher, CG, AG will speak on cross-credentialing. For more information including a detailed schedule, see the “Tracks” menu item at http://www.infouga.org/aem.php?eid=8. The course is open to anyone who would like more information on credentialing processes.

BCG Shares Tips for Successful Applications at FGS

Thank you to everyone who attended the Board for Certification of Genealogists events at the recent Federation of Genealogical Society conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. BCG kicked off the celebration of the “50th year of its age” with a luncheon presentation by David McDonald, CG, who spoke about families—our own, our ancestors’ and our genealogical community family. Family dynamics have influences that provide insight for our research and into past and present interpersonal relationships. Thanks, David, for your insight!

The BCG Certification Seminar at FGS was a forum for the exchange of information and a great question-and-answer platform. A common question is, “How do-able is it to become a Board-certified genealogist?” Statistically, 40 percent of first-time applicants were successful last year. BCG determined that the rate of success improves for applicants who get involved in genealogy educational opportunities, such as attending conferences, institutes and the BCG Certification Seminar. Another success indicator is experience in analyzing evidence and problem solving. Adhering to the Standards delineated in the Genealogical Standards Manual is a must, and being familiar with the evaluation rubrics used for feedback–online at http://www.bcgcertification.org/–also tends to increase success. Along with these tools, successful portfolios displayed at conference exhibit halls in the BCG booths help make for a transparent process.

Are you ready to submit your application? On the genealogy learning continuum line from earliest beginner to most advanced, there is a place where the measure called “Standards” is set. For most people “Standards” always seem to be above our heads, even when we grow past that measure on the learning continuum line. Whether your research, evidence analysis skills and writing meet these Standards is what you are asking BCG to tell you when you submit your portfolio.

Is it possible to achieve? Yes, absolutely, with the requisite experience, attention to detail and appropriate work samples. Does it take time? Yes, your experience, education, and adherence to Standards take time to develop as well as the particular work samples. Will your first portfolio be successful? That depends. All portfolios submitted receive valuable feedback from the three independent evaluators who reviewed your portfolio pointing out specific areas where your work needs additional experience and improvement. Those whose first portfolios are “premature” are in good company. Recently several Board-certified genealogists have told their experiences of being unsuccessful with their first portfolio, but successful with their second attempt, and what a learning experience the process was!

Our greatest hope is that you may be able to join more than 1,600 Board-certified genealogists who have achieved this personal and/or professional milestone over the last fifty years.

For more information, including the evaluation rubrics and a video explanation of the certification process, see www.bcgcertification.org/certification/index.html.

BCG at the FGS Conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana

As you may know the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference is being held next Wednesday, August 21, through Saturday, August 24, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. BCG will have a presence in a booth in the exhibit hall, a luncheon on Thursday, and a Certification Seminar on Thursday.

Entrance to the exhibit hall is free (no conference registration necessary). Come to the booth Thursday, Friday or Saturday to look at successful application portfolios and see what it takes to become certified. View several portfolios so you get a “flavor” of how different they can be and yet they follow the same requirements and standards. A booklet of just sample judges’ comments is available. There are several “did not meet,” some marginal and some “meets standards” examples of comments. They are real although identifying information has been taken out. They also do not correspond with any of the portfolios.

The Certification Seminar is Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (double session) and will discuss all things related to applications, hints and tips, logistics, etc. Many successful applicants have stated that they have gone to these sessions at every opportunity and that hearing it more than once is not repetitive but reinforcing. Also you have different questions as you progress in your genealogical knowledge. There is ample opportunity to ask questions of the panel which includes Elissa Scalise Powell (BCG president), Jeanne Bloom (BCG treasurer), Debbie Mieszala (BCG Trustee), Dave McDonald (BCG Trustee and immediate past-president). I understand that the session will be held in the theater of the Allen County Public Library.

We will take a break between the two sessions from 3 pm to 3:30 pm during which any Preliminary Applicants are welcome to come and meet and greet each other. We will have badge ribbons “On the Clock” (also available from the BCG booth Thursday through Saturday).

BCG’s Luncheon is also on Thursday right before the Certification Seminar. With BCG “in the 50th year of its age” Dave McDonald will speak to us about “No Diamonds, No Cherries: Celebrating a Jubilee.” You never know who you will meet over lunch! Some tickets are available for purchase at registration.

For more information and for a schedule of about 150 lecture sessions, see https://www.fgsconference.org/.

R.I.P., Janey Ruth Eaves Joyce, CG

Guest blogger Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, provides the following.

I just received notification from San Antonio that Janey Eaves Joyce passed away last week. The Amarillo Globe-News link below covers her life nicely. Janey was very helpful in the Lone Star Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).

Janey Eaves Joyce, a Board-certified Genealogist since 2003, passed away on 30 July 2013. Janey helped researchers many times at the Lone Star Chapter of APG Roadshow at the Texas State Genealogical Society Annual Conference. She won the 1st Place TSGS Writing award in 2011 for “The Rev. Moore Bingham (1707-1853) and His Wives, Ann Barber and Lucy Barber: their Ancestors and Descendants”  (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txsgs/TXSGS-New/Pages/Grants-Awards-2011.htm) and she won the Grand Prize TSGS Writing Award in 2006 for “Bartlett Eaves.” Also, she recently won first place in 2013 Connecticut Society of Genealogists’ writing contest for her “Moore Bingham” work. There is a story about Janey’s life in the Amarillo Globe-News where she once served as editor: (http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2013-08-03/ex-agn-editor-janey-joyce-dies). 

Many visitors to the BCG booth may recall looking at Janey’s successful portfolio as one of the first ones offered for public review.

She will be missed by the genealogical community in San Antonio, all of Texas, and the community of board-certified and professional genealogists.