BCG Announces New Webinar Series!

The Board for Certification of Genealogists believes in education and would like to share with the public some of the expertise represented in BCG through a series of webinars.

Open to everyone who wants to improve their skills, these live webinars are set for 8 pm Eastern for the following dates:

Monday, September 22, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, will present “Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories.” Updated, retitled, and reorganized, genealogy standards first published in 2000 are now available in a new edition. The webinar will describe the changes and what they mean for all family historians. Dr. Jones teaches at three genealogy institutes, co-edits the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and is the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof.

To register for the September 22 webinar, please use this link:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8699013103252043265

On Wednesday, October 15, Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, will explain “Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation.” Requirement 7 of the BCG certification application asks for a Kinship Determination Project in which the applicant writes a three-generation narrative and explains how the relationships are documented. All genealogists do this regularly while placing relatives with their appropriate connections in the family tree. A familiar speaker at conferences across the country, Judy will coordinate the Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis course at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research in 2015.

To register for the October 15 webinar, please use this link:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4535381371678485505

Look for future announcements on other upcoming webinars on this blog. You may sign up on the sidebar for email notifications when a new post is written.

It Takes a Village to Raise Awareness

This is the President’s Column from the May 2014 issue of OnBoard written by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL.

Pennsylvania researchers received a holiday gift on April 18th when Ancestry.com published a segment of the Pennsylvania death certificates online. As soon as the Pennsylvania legislature opened access to death records over fifty years old and birth records over one hundred five years old, Ancestry negotiated to digitize, index, and make them available.

However, neither the release nor the digitization happened overnight. Previously Pennsylvania had been one of the most restrictive states for access to vital records. The efforts of a grass-roots organization, People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (www.pahr-access.org) headed by Tim Gruber, made public access possible. The long and winding road began in 2007 and through perseverance will end in March 2015 when the last installment of vital records will be available online. Every researcher who has found a lost family member or put a name to an infant who died too soon owes a debt of gratitude to Tim Gruber and PaHR-Access. They exemplify something I have been saying for twenty years: Whenever you say “why don’t they have XYZ?” realize that “they” are “us” who haven’t done it yet!

Genealogy has always been a grass-roots movement of people helping others. Without the record compilers, the society officers, and the newsletter editors, our research would be much poorer. Now, for good or for bad, the Internet makes everyone an expert and gives instant access to old records. Ask “Mr. Google” and he gives you information beyond your interest in the subject down to the most esoteric point. “Ms. YouTube” shows you instructional videos. “Mrs. Facebook” connects you with cousins by the dozens. But the heart of genealogy is still people helping people. Despite technology, we still crave the human touch and the feeling that we belong and can contribute to a greater cause, that our life has meaning..

As one record group opened, access to the latest three years of data for another is being closed. The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) was originally created to expose fraudulent use of social security numbers. The database was intended for banks and credit card companies to check if new applications were using deceased individuals’ SSNs. Genealogists to class reunion organizers have benefited from the only U.S. nationwide death index. Recently the IRS paid out over $70 million for 19,102 claims against deceased individuals’ SSNs, accounting for only 1.9% of fraudulent returns for the tax year 2011. The simple answer is to adhere to the checking system already in place, but instead the most recent three years of SSDI data will be closed to the public. For those who demonstrate a need for access, a “certification” process requiring over $1,000 in fees is available. (This should not be confused with genealogical certification offered by the BCG.)

Community maturity occurs when we realize that by helping a cause which doesn’t directly affect us, others are doing the same in an area that does. How does access to the SSDI affect you? Do you wonder “why don’t they have a digitized national index?” Remember “they” are “us”! How can “us” help? If you want to learn more about the ongoing records access situation and how to help, you can find information posted monthly on the BCG SpringBoard blog (http://blog. bcgcertification.org/) or on the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) blog (http://www.fgs.org/rpac).

Pennsylvania’s PaHR-Access proved it takes perseverance and the involvement of many interested parties. It takes a village to raise awareness. Are you part of the village?

BCG Congratulates Newly Elected Trustees

It is with great pleasure that BCG announces the results of the annual election of BCG trustees. Every year five trustees are elected for a three-year term, making fifteen board members, including five on the Executive Committee.

The recently-elected trustees are Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG (incumbent), Stefani Evans, CG (incumbent), Harold Henderson, CG, David McDonald, CG (incumbent), and Nancy A. Peters, CG. Their biographies appear below. They join current trustees:

  • Laurel T. Baty, CG, 2013-2016
  • Warren Bittner, CG, 2013-2016
  • Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, 2011-2014
  • Michael Grant Hait, Jr., CG, 2013-2016
  • Alison Hare, CG, 2012-2015
  • Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, 2011-2014
  • Debra S. Mieszala, CG, 2012-2015
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, 2012-2015
  • Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, 2012-2015
  • Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, 2013-2016
  • Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, 2012-2015
  • Dawne Slater-Putt, CG, 2013-2016

Many thanks to the Nominating Committee and the Teller Committee for your work!

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL
President, BCG

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. Illinois. Incumbent. Certified in 1999 and a trustee since 2010, Jeanne is treasurer of BCG. She is a full-time professional researcher specializing in Chicago and Cook Coun­ty research, problem solving, and multi-generational family histories. She conducts research projects for government agencies, attorneys, authors, newspapers, heir-search firms, professional genealogists, and fam­ily researchers. Jeanne is an author and frequent lecturer in national, state, and local venues. In her previous career, she was a banker and a financial planning analyst.

Stefani Evans, CG. Nevada. Incumbent. Certified in 2005, Stefani is completing her first term as a BCG trustee. She is member at large on the Executive Committee, BCG advertising manager, and a member of the Outreach and ACTION committees. Since 2009 she has been a BCG Education Fund trustee. As a director of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) she served as conference chair for the 2013 NGS Family History Conference. She was a mentor for ProGen 2 and has published articles in the NGS Quarterly, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Record, and the Utah Genealogical Association’s Crossroads. She is a PhD student in U.S. history.

Harold Henderson, CG. Indiana. Harold has been a professional writer since 1979 and a professional genealo­gist since 2009. He has been certified since June 2012. Harold is a director of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and chairs the APG Quarterly Advisory Committee. He moderates the Transitional Genealogists Forum. His research, writing, and speaking focus on methodology and on the Midwest and its northeastern feeder states.

David McDonald, DMin, CG. Wisconsin. Incumbent. David is immediate past president of BCG. First certified in 2004, he has served as BCG Outreach Committee chair and now serves on the Executive Committee. He is a former director of NGS and often lectures at regional and national conferences, par­ticu­larly on religion and its impacts on genealogical research. His research focuses on the Midwest and Great Plains, as well as Germanic Europe and the United Kingdom.

Nancy A. Peters, CG. South Carolina. Nancy is a full-time genealogist specializing in South Carolina and English research for clients. Certified since 2011, she serves as an editorial assistant for OnBoard. She volunteers in the document conservation lab at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and as a consultant in her local Family History Center. In her previous career, Nancy managed her own consulting practice, designing technical training courses and providing instruction internationally for corporate clients in the software industry. Nancy holds advanced degrees in Computer Science from the University of Arizona and in International Business from the London School of Economics in London, England.