Congratulations, Ruth Craig, CG!

Ruth Craig became associate #1078 in August 2016. She is a resident of Grafton County, New Hampshire, just across the Connecticut River from Vermont. Her maternal ancestors lived in Massachusetts and New York, and she enjoys doing New England and Canadian research. Ruth especially appreciates the Catholic priests who kept excellent records of her French-Canadian research subjects.

Ruth Craig, CG

Ruth Craig, CG

“My career in medical research schooled me in the hypothesis-testing approach to research, and in means of correlating data. These have served me well in family history research,” says Ruth. She needs that experience as she works on a large family project. “I am trying to trace all descendants of the earliest known ancestor on my father’s side. The husband of one descendant, who had a very common name, moved from Germany to Toronto, changed his name, birthdate, and religion, probably worked on ships on the Great Lakes, and died in parts unknown. I have so far been unable to find any trace of him after 1915, whereas he likely died in the 1950s. I work on him in bits between other research, and will find him someday!”

Ruth has several observations about the certification process. She became educated in genealogical research by participating in the Boston University genealogy course and the ProGen Study Group. “However, the best thing I did was to work on four of the five requirements before I even submitted an application.” She declares that preparing her portfolio definitely changed her approach to genealogy. “I knew nothing about this type of work when I started. I see family history as a field where continuous learning and change are critical. I hope to be able to keep up!”

Ruth offers two pieces of advice for those approaching this task. “First, if a requirement seems overwhelming at the beginning, just start on it without being too perfectionistic. Once you have something on paper, it can be further developed. Second, start small (e.g., on Requirements 6 and 7)—these things tend to grow. If possible, start with a relatively simple situation.”

The standards for certification—the rubrics—made the process difficult for Ruth. She says, “My comments here may be heretical. I find it confusing that the standards, rubrics, and application instructions are overly wordy and redundant/overlapping. All of these changed while I was in the process of applying. My impression is more verbiage is being added (likely to try to help applicants who failed), whereas streamlining would have been more helpful.”

An impressive figure emerged from Ruth’s research for her kinship determination project. Ruth (Willson) Wilson, her grandmother and namesake, was recruited in 1918 for cryptologic work by MI-8, precursor of the National Security Agency (NSA). She helped break a variety of codes used in Central and South America and became a Japanese linguist.[1] “What I learned was a surprise to me and to others who had known her. She made a fantastic contribution at a time when it was difficult to do so as a woman.”

Ruth plans to tie her current medical work to history and genealogy. “I am interested in how diseases and causes of death have evolved historically. I hope to use family history as an entrée to make this area interesting to others. In short, I hope to combine my background in medical research with my new-found interest in genealogy.”

We are sure that research goal will produce some interesting studies. Congratulations on becoming certified, Ruth, and good luck with your work.


Nora Galvin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Associates in Action

Associates in Action highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Awards & Achievements

The following associates were recently named among most-frequently viewed Legacy Family Tree Webinars during the month of March:

Tom Jones, Ph.D, CG, CGL, “New Standards or Old? Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories”

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same Name”

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, “Picture This: Images You Can Freely Use”

Karen Stanbary, CG, “Weaving DNA Test Results into a Proof Argument”

Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA, “Introduction to Quaker Genealogy Research”

Cari Taplin, CG, “Home on the Range: Kansas Research Tips”

The Board for Certification of Genealogists congratulates the following associates on their successful credential renewals:

Waunita Gibbons, CG, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; initial certification 3 April 2007.

Jason Harrison, CG, Ogden, Utah; initial certification 30 September 2010.

Debra S. Mieszala, CG, Libertyville, Illinois; initial certification 18 January 2002.;

David Rencher, CG, Riverton, Utah; initial certification 3 August 2006.


Harold Henderson, CG, has published the following articles:

“From Fens to Farms: William and Rebecca (Wright) Gedney of Cowbit, Lincolnshire and Lebanon, Illinois,” Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly (Spring 2017): 30-34.

“Yes, Writing Is Compulsory! Here’s How to Make It Work,” Federation of Genealogical Societies Forum 29 (Spring 2017): 18-21.

“One Family’s Nineteenth Century from New York to Chicago to Oregon: Joseph M. and Artamisia Ann (Talcott) Burdick,” Chicago Genealogist 49 (Fall 2016): 3-13.

“The Family of John S. and Zerviah (Hawkins) Porter of Jefferson County and Points West,” [Part 3], New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 147 (October 2016): 272-78.

Congratulations, Morrison “Toby” Webb, CG!

Morrison “Toby” Webb became Certified Genealogist #1081 in November, 2016. His ancestral roots are in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and his wife’s are in Maine, so it’s no surprise his research centers on early New England. A recent move from suburban New York City to Portland, Maine, puts him in the sweet spot for his genealogy work. As a trustee of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Toby is deeply involved in preserving and promoting genealogy and history in the region. He’s completing his term as president of a local historical society, and he hopes to become involved in Maine’s genealogy scene.

Morrison "Toby" Webb, CG

Morrison “Toby” Webb, CG

His work career provided experience relevant to genealogy. “I am a retired lawyer and business executive. My legal background is of obvious help to my genealogical research; it makes land records, tax records, and probate records far easier to understand. But the business background is helpful, too. Focus and strategic planning are business skills easily transferable to family research planning.” Previous concerns that retirement would result in a loss of community have been banished as Toby has discovered new colleagues at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), the Boston University genealogy program, a ProGen study group, and local genealogical societies. “In our study, we are blessed to have a well-linked circle of like-minded scholars.” He enjoys the historical aspect of genealogical research. “I find no better way of understanding history than by acknowledging that historic acts are nothing more than the choices of individuals trying to address the problems of life in the context of their times. Studying individuals helps me understand the greater ‘forces’ of the past.”

Toby says the process of preparing his portfolio had a positive effect on his work habits. “As I first dealt with any new source, I drafted the citation I would use later. That change in my process means both that I am certain I have gathered all the citation information I will need and that I will only have to draft the citation once.” He had a difficult time finding an example of proof by indirect evidence for his case study. He was looking for such a problem among New England Quakers, but their extensive records continually frustrated his search for missing information—a problem many of us would like to have. “I finally chose to resolve a conflict between two items of direct evidence, but one of my judges thought the conflict not significant enough to meet the case study requirement.”

Toby has advice for those considering applying for certification. “The advice given to me was crucial: do your research before you begin the application process. In addition, having carefully read the deep evaluations of my submission, I would advise that applications are taken very seriously by the reviewers and the process is not one relatively new genealogists should undertake.” He did not pursue certification to become a professional genealogist. He’s interested in writing and publishing on subjects that interest him personally.

Family historian and public health specialist Lemuel Shattuck of Boston is Toby’s genealogical hero. “He shaped the 1845 Boston census to list every person and then was called to Washington to help design the 1850 U.S. Census. Without his work, we would not have the every-name federal censuses that began in 1850.”

Recently Toby was confronted with a reality of twenty-first century research. Information in the family Bible went as far back as his third-great Webb grandfather. Toby’s careful research finally revealed that man’s parents and carried the line back to the immigrant ancestor. Then, as Toby relates the tale, “In the course of my research, I met a fifth cousin. We posed together at the grave of our shared ancestor and eventually we both had our DNA tested. His sample is consistent with most other samples in the Webb surname DNA project; mine is entirely different. Somewhere in the last five generations, I have a misattributed paternity. Finding where that was has proven to be my most interesting personal challenge.”

We wish Toby well in pursuit of that unknown lineage, and congratulate him on attaining certification.

Nora Galvin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

BCG Offers Free Webinar: “The Genealogy in Government Documents” by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

BCG OFFERS FREE WEBINAR Tuesday, 18 April, 8:00 p.m. Eastern “The Genealogy in Government Documents” by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

An often under used resource, evidence of kinship abounds in publications such as the Serial Set, American State Papers, and the Territorial Papers. We explore these publications and discover efficient ways to access them.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will present “The Genealogy in Government Documents” by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, free to the public at 8:00 p.m. EDT, 18 April 2017.

Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, is a long-time researcher and instructor in genealogical topics. Rick is also a retired colonel having served 31 years in the U.S. Army. He coordinates the Using Maps in Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), and instructs in the Advanced Methodology, Techniques and Technology, and Advanced Military courses. Rick and his wife Pam coordinate the advanced land course and Researching in Washington, DC, without Leaving Home offered by the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the advanced land course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). Rick co-coordinates with Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, the Law School for Genealogists at GRIP and the FHL Law Library course at SLIG. He also lectures at national conferences and presents nationwide seminars. His areas of expertise encompass records of the National Archives, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, including military records, land records, using maps in genealogy, urban research, and government documents. Rick is experienced in the localities of western Pennsylvania and Ohio. Rick is also a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

“We are pleased to offer these educational opportunities to the community,” said President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Educating all family historians of every level is part of this mission.”

Register for “The Genealogy in Government Documents” by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA before 18 April 2017 at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact:

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at  and For more information on educational opportunities, please visit:

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Cari A. Taplin, CG