Ten-Minute Methodology: Proof in a Narrative

Proofs don’t have to be complicated, and they don’t have to resolve conflicting evidence. They don’t have to include indirect evidence, either, even though it may be present and could be included to support an argument. Sometimes multiple pieces of direct evidence support a genealogical conclusion. They all answer the genealogy question directly. As promised in the last Ten-Minute Methodology post on proofs here is an example from a published work.

Michael Hait, CG, presents a narrative proof in an introduction to a genealogical summary published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. His article, excerpted here, treats a family of slave and newly manumitted Ridgelys, Caroline and her three children.[1] While Michael presents kinship evidence for all three children, our focus in this post is on Augustus. What proof is there for his relationship to Caroline? How is that proof presented to readers?

Victoire, mentioned in the first paragraph of this excerpt (p. 248), was Caroline’s owner.

Direct evidence showing that Augustus was Caroline’s son is highlighted on p. 249. The first item of a two-bullet list (highlighted, p. 250) includes additional direct evidence. There is no indication if Augustus’s baptism record (p. 249, paragraph 1) names his mother. The 1860 census shows Augustus in Caroline’s household (p. 250, paragraph 3), but does not provide direct evidence of kinship.

The genealogical summary that begins at the bottom of page 250 offers a picture of Caroline, her children, and her grandchildren. Augustus’s sketch offers no new evidence of his relationship to his mother.



Thanks, Michael!


[1] Michael Hait, “In the Shadow of Rebellions: Maryland Ridgelys in Slavery and Freedom,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 100 (December 2012): 245-66, reprinted by permission. The article is available online at Michael’s website.

 


CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

In Memoriam: Merrill Hill Mosher of Coos Bay, Oregon

Merrill Hill Mosher, 2005
Image courtesy of The Coos Bay (Oregon) World

On 2 February 2015, our friend and colleague, Merrill Hill Mosher died in Coos Bay, Oregon, aged 84. She was formerly certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and was founder of Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research, administered by the BCG Education Fund.

Merrill was born and grew up near Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area. She had one son, Ashley Cooke Auld. On 5 January 1970 in Crescent City, California, she married the late Donald Mosher.

Beginning in 1974, Merrill was an active volunteer at the local Family History Center, serving as librarian sometime after their opening until 2000. She taught genealogical courses at Southwestern Oregon Community College and mentored many of her students. Merrill earned BCG certification on 15 May 1993, and in 1995 she received the North Carolina Genealogical Society’s award for excellence in publishing for her book, John Freeman of Norfolk County, Virginia: His Descendants in North Carolina and Virginia and Other Colonial North Carolina Freeman Families (Berwyn Heights, Md.: Heritage Books, 1994).

Beverly Rice, former BCG treasurer, writes that “Merrill was a mentor to many of us in Coos Bay (and Oregon), including Rhonda Edwards, Marcia Rice, and myself. She often lectured and taught classes. I still remember her handwriting workshops because she had us write and practice the early Virginia script, over and over. This was in my first years of research; it was a great learning experience and one I have not forgotten.” Beverly also stated that Merrill had been a competitive downhill-skier. An ankle injury led to difficulty walking later in life.

Professional to the core, Merrill was an avid supporter of BCG and the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). She was a founding member of APG’s Oregon Chapter and served as the chapter president from 2000 to 2001. Beverly Rice recalls, “We actually had our chapter-forming meeting in her living room overlooking the Pacific Ocean.” Former BCG president Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, adds, “Merrill was a driving force in many successful certified associates’ lives. There were probably more certified people in her area at one time than in any small town. She was a wonderful representative of the BCG spirit.”

Merrill established Mosher’s Southern Research Library, located outside of Coos Bay. In 2013 she donated her personal papers to the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.

Merrill Mosher, VIGR, 2000
Image courtesy of Marty Hiatt, CG

Marty Hiatt, CG, writes that Merrill attended the Virginia Genealogical Society’s summer institute, known as Virginia Institute of Genealogical Research (VIGR), once or twice, and became an instructor in her third year.

Merrill was a prolific writer and had family articles published as lead pieces in The Virginia Genealogist. She also wrote an article for that publication describing mapping errors for several Northern Neck counties. Another of her family articles was published in The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research.

In 2001, in memory of her deceased husband of thirty-two years, Merrill established the Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research. The award recognizes scholarly research on colonial Virginia topics in the categories of family genealogy, immigrant place of family origin, and publication of obscure or difficult Virginia resources. Mary McCampbell Bell, BCG Education Fund treasurer from 2002 through 2009, recalls, “It was my honor and pleasure to work with Merrill as we shared ideas on how her award could be implemented. She was extremely knowledgeable about Virginia, and we shared a mutual love of colonial Virginia research. Her vision for the Mosher Award was to encourage people to look for and publish little-known Virginia records.”

We will miss Merrill, but the Mosher Award will continue to inspire and benefit Virginia researchers for years to come. Tax-free donations to the BCG Education Fund, designated for the Mosher Award, will assure that the award flourishes. For more about the Mosher Award, visit the BCG Education Fund at http://www.bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html.

by Mary McCampbell Bell, Certified Genealogist Emeritus


CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

Free BCG Webinar: F. Warren Bittner, CG, on Complex Evidence

The Board for Certification of Genealogists proudly announces the next in its series of webinars.

F. Warren Bittner, CG

On Tuesday, 24 February, F. Warren Bittner, CG, will present “Complex Evidence: What it Is, How it Works, Why it Matters.”

The genealogist’s goal is to establish identity and prove relationships. Complex evidence is often the ONLY way to do this. Follow a case study of clues from multiple sources to solve a problem.

This free webinar is open to all genealogists who want to improve their skills. Presented live, it will begin at 8pm EST (7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific) and will run about an hour and a half.

To register and receive your unique link to the webinar, please go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3412355591969569026.

Note that recordings may be made available online at a later date.

Look for announcements of future monthly webinars on this blog.


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

New OnBoard Editor: Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG

The most recent issue of BCG’s OnBoard gives one hint that its editorship has changed. At the bottom of page seven are a new name, Nancy A. Peters, CG, and a new address, Aiken, South Carolina. Nancy already knew some of the ins and outs of OnBoard, as she served three years as one of its editorial assistants. Last year she was elected a trustee of the Board and simultaneously asked to take over OnBoard. Fortunately she agreed.

Nancy’s goals for OnBoard include continuing its scholarly tradition of educating readers in genealogy standards. Articles cover BCG news and skills and techniques needed to produce quality genealogical work. Nancy explains, “I hope to continue meeting the standards set by our outgoing editor, Will White, CG, for scholarship and timeliness in future issues. Working with Will taught me a tremendous amount about writing and editing and I want to thank him for his service to OnBoard from 2011–2014. Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, and Teri D. Tillman, CG, generously agreed to continue in their roles as part of our editorial team.”

A background in technical assistance for adult learners prepared Nancy well for her editing position. With an M.S. in computer science, she was employed for many years in customer support management in the information technology industry. What matters for OnBoard readers is that her work in onsite support led her to education. She instructed on software for business applications and wrote courseware, hands-on exercises, and training manuals. She explained to adult users how things work. From there it was an easy transition to OnBoard’s educational mission.

Nancy had been researching ancestors for many years by the time she left the corporate world for full-time genealogy. She has been doing client work for the past four years, challenging herself to take brick-wall problems, apply standards, and hone the skills necessary to research in an unfamiliar place and time. She has been Board-certified since 2011, and OnBoard featured her in a Spotlight article in 2012. That article tells a good story about how Nancy became interested in genealogy back in 1986.[1]

To reach Nancy, email npeters@bellsouth.net. Editorship of OnBoard, like almost all BCG activities, is a volunteer position. Congratulations and thank you, Nancy, for your time and effort on behalf of BCG. Readers of SpringBoard will be watching for your skilled and steady hand guiding OnBoard.


[1] Elissa Scalise Powell, “Spotlight: Nancy A. Peters, CG,” OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists 18 (January 2012): 8.


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

BCG at FGS-RootsTech 2015

The Board for Certification of Genealogists will be well represented this week at the combined 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference and RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah.

BCG will have a booth in the vendor hall, coordinated by Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, where information about certification and standards will be available, and where those considering certification can review portfolios.

It will also be presenting a two-hour workshop on Friday, February 13, starting at 1 p.m., on “Certification: Measuring Yourself Against Standards.” It will be moderated and presented by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, and Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL.

The BCG-sponsored luncheon on Friday, just before the workshop, will feature J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, speaking on “What Did You Do When You Were A Kid? or Strategies for Gathering Family Stories.”

And Board-certified genealogists will take to the podium in large numbers. Scheduled presentations by associates include the following:

Wednesday, February 11

The Policy and Procedure Manual: Preventing “I Didn’t Know That”
by C. Ann Staley, CG, CGL

The Ethical Genealogist
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Involve Elroy Jetson (& others) in Your Genealogical Society
by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Organizing and Carrying Out a Society Project
by C. Ann Staley, CG, CGL

Thursday, February 12

Getting the Most Out of Genealogical Evidence
by Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Hatched, Matched, and Dispatched: Vital Record Research
by C. Ann Staley, CG, CGL

Searching for Our Ministers and Clergy
by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

How Old Did He Have to Be…?
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Researching Your War of 1812 Ancestor
by Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Biblical Breakthrough! How I Came to Love the NGS Online Bible Collection
by Diane Florence Gravel, CG

Tales Grandma Didn’t Tell
by Warren Bittner, MS, CG

Civil War Medical Records
by Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Problem Solving with Probate
by Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

The War Ended But Not The Records!
by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Making a Federal Case Out of It
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Obtaining 20th Century Military Records from St. Louis Personnel Records Center
by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

Friday, February 13

Impossible Immigrant! Exhausting Research to Find an Ancestor’s Origins
by Warren Bittner, CG

Gentlemen Judges: The Justices of the Peace
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Federal Records Relating to Rivers and Canals
by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

New Standards or Old? Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories
by Thomas Jones PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Our River Ancestors and the Records They Left Behind
by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

Writing a Prize-Winning Family History
by Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Railroads Beyond the Mississippi: History and Records
by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

The Compiled Military Service Record
by Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Finding the Migration Record and Stories of the Dust Bowl Disaster and Western Movement
by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Saturday, February 14

Comparing Records With Vintage Tools and High Tech Resources
by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Meyer’s Gazetteer: Gateway to Germany
by Warren Bittner, CG

Manuscripts and More
by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

Martha Benschura: Enemy Alien
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL


CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

National Institute on Genealogical Research Announces New Director

Malissa Ruffner, JD, MLS, CG

BCG is co-sponsor of the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), a week-long course held each July in Washington, D.C. It focuses on the holdings of the National Archives. NIGR’s Board of Directors has announced the appointment of our colleague, Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG, as its new director, effective immediately.

In view of the recent death of  NIGR’s former director, Patricia Shawker, CG, the 2015 institute has been postponed. Malissa will assume responsibility for future programs, the next to be held in July 2016. The National Archives has expressed strong support for the continuation of NIGR and will work with Malissa to assure the institute’s success in the coming years.

Malissa, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland, earned a Bachelor of Arts from Goucher College and a law degree and a Master of Library Science degree, both from the University of Maryland. In addition to genealogy, she has worked as a lawyer, and in schools, libraries, and archives. Her genealogical pursuits include client work, writing and blogging, lecturing, and participation in conferences and institutes, including NIGR, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, Forensic Genealogy Institute, ProGen, and “Come Home to New England” at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Malissa currently serves on the Maryland Genealogical Society Board of Directors and on BCG’s Intellectual Property committee.

 


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.