Numbering Contest Winners!

Congratulations to Terri Wheeler and Joshua Hodge, first and second prizewinners in SpringBoard’s Numbering Modern Family Contest! Both are preliminary applicants and took time from their portfolio work to practice numbering. Terri has chosen the FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA test and Joshua the Ancestry test.

Here’s how SpringBoard numbers the cast of Modern Family.

Important elements to note are

  • Individual numbers beginning with Jay (1). Note that Manny (5) follows Joe (4), even though he is older, because he is not a biological son of Jay Pritchett.1 Alternatively, the groups of stepchildren and biological children may be listed in chronological order.2 Manny would then be number 4 and Joe number 5, as in Alternative numbering below, after Generation Two.
  • Generation numbers. Note especially Manny (generation 2, but of a different surname) and Lily (generation 1 of her biological line with this surname).3
  • Child list numbers. Note especially that Manny and Lily do not have child list numbers, as they are not biological descendants of the lineage in question.4

Generation One

Generation Two

Alternative numbering of Jay’s youngest children


1 Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, ed. Elizabeth Shown Mills, rev. ed. (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2008), 19, bullet 1.

2 Numbering Your Genealogy, 22, Figure 7, 11. Muriel Mercer example.

3 For Manny, see Numbering Your Genealogy, 19, bullet 3. For Lily, see p. 20, bullet 5.

4 Numbering Your Genealogy, 18, bullet 3, also pp. 19, bullet 4, and 20, bullet 4.

5 “Jay Pritchett,” Wikia: Modern Family Wiki (http://modernfamily.wikia.com/wiki/Jay_Pritchett). All web pages were accessed 15 July 2016.

8 “Claire Dunphy,” (http://modernfamily.wikia.com/wiki/Claire_Dunphy); other information states her birth in 1973 or 1974, which is inconsistent with her being two years older than her brother Mitchell.

13 “Manny Delgado,” (http://modernfamily.wikia.com/wiki/Manny_Delgado).  See also “Javier Delgado,” (http://modernfamily.wikia.com/wiki/Javier_Delgado).

 

Congratulations, Karen Auman, PhD, CG!

Karen Auman loves history, and as an assistant professor of history at Brigham Young University, she helps to inspire that love in others.  She revels in her work teaching history and family history and particularly enjoys helping her students use history to bring life to the stories of “average folks who persevere, work hard, and make a difference.”

Karen Auman, PhD, CG, backpacking at Havasupai

Karen lives in Utah, but grew up in San Jose, California, which she still considers home. Like many in Silicon Valley, she worked with software companies and had a long career as a product manager. The job taught her to “think logically, to understand how information is organized, and how to use electronic tools to your advantage,” all useful skills for researching genealogy.

Interested in both genealogy and history from a young age, Karen received a bachelor’s degree in European Studies. When she later studied for a PhD in history at New York University, she focused her studies on her own ancestral origins: Germans in colonial America. To understand their lives, Karen notes, “it helps to be able to read old German script!” a skill she honed through an intensive course at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Her advice to others preparing for BCG certification is the same strategy that helped her: practice!  She learned by reading case studies in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and built her skills by helping friends and neighbors research their families. In addition to being good preparation for certification, the volunteer client work allowed her to learn about a wide range of genealogical problems and geographic locations. She recommends practicing all the portfolio work elements before beginning the certification process.

When it came to preparing her own portfolio, Karen chose a research report that she now feels was too large. In retrospect, a shorter, more focused report might have been a better choice. She advises others choosing reports, “Don’t make it too big!”  Based on what she learned through the certification process, she now strives to make her reports as clear and precise as possible.

In her spare time, the self-described “sister, aunt, great-aunt, reader, walker/hiker, gardener, historian, teacher” enjoys chasing her own family mysteries. Her favorite past finds include locating her third great-grandmother’s family in Swedish church records despite the family’s name change and finding a power of attorney that named her third great-grandfather’s heirs. She found the document “buried in the basement storage of the courthouse, not filed with the other records.  It was written thirty years after he died, so it included the spouses of the daughters and all of the adult grandchildren. I had suspected he was my ancestor with lots of indirect evidence, but this was the written proof.”

Her current genealogical challenges include a search for the maiden name of her third great-grandmother Mary [–?–] Auman and a quest to discover the mysterious origins of a second great-grandfather. He may have “purposefully misled people about his roots,” possibly to cover up his illegitimacy. Their stories are two of the many that Karen plans to write for her family to introduce them to their ancestors, always teaching and inspiring love of family history in others.

Karen can be reached at kauman@byu.edu.  Congratulations, Karen!

by Sharon Hoyt, CG

Congratulations, Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt, CG!

New associate Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt lives in Cartersville in northwest Georgia. This is where she grew up and now does family research. All of her direct family lines are from the South, and many of them were early Georgians. Her professional research encompasses Georgia and includes African American and Native American families with Georgian roots.

Yvonne states that goal-setting is not one of her strong attributes, but it would be hard to find evidence of this. Her path to certification was carefully planned and executed. After finishing Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program, she knew she was not yet ready to apply for certification. She studied The BCG Application Guide, Genealogy Standards, Evidence Explained, and journal articles. Having identified the specific skills she needed to improve, Yvonne looked for advanced courses taught by some of the best genealogists in our field. She found many of those courses online (e.g. BCG webinars and the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research), which proves that one need not spend a fortune to acquire the knowledge and skills for certification. The time between her decision to seek certification and her actual portfolio submission was three years. This was a woman with a plan!

Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt, CG

Yvonne recognizes that there can be an emotional block for people thinking about applying for certification. The possibility of failure was a difficult challenge for her. She carefully considered the consequences of failure and accepted that possibility. She then committed herself to doing everything she could to prepare herself to succeed. She advises others who are considering applying for certification to identify problem areas in their work and target educational opportunities to correct or improve them.

Guided by group mentoring with her heroes Elizabeth Shown Mills and Judy Russell, Yvonne pursued advanced research skills. A particular post by Mills on the BCG Facebook page became a reminder for Yvonne of what she needed to do with her portfolio. The post lists common reasons that portfolios are not successful.

Thomas MacEntee assisted her when Yvonne became the target of cyber-bullying involving an unfounded attack on her family research. The incident influenced Yvonne’s desire for certification and contributed to her appreciation for ethical behavior in genealogy.

Completing the portfolio has made Yvonne a better researcher. She believes that her research prior to the certification process was shallow. Now she knows how to dig deeper. In the next five years, she hopes to target educational opportunities to strengthen the weak areas identified in her portfolio, work toward becoming a better presenter and obtaining her CGL, and promote ethical genealogical behavior in as many ways as she can. Sound familiar? Yvonne has a plan!

Yvonne can be reached at georgiagenealogist@hotmail.com. Congratulations, Yvonne!

by Karlene Ferguson, 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.

Diverse Communities: Researching Italian Ancestors Part 2

 Italian Genealogical Research: Part II

Melanie D. Holtz, CG

Italy is a land of beauty and contrasts, not only in its topography but also within its records. Yet that’s what makes this form of genealogical research so interesting! Knowledge of the major record sets is key to making sure your research is thorough. The five major record sets are:

  • Civil Registration – Italian civil registration is not just birth, marriage, and death records. It also includes municipal census records, records compiled from municipal census records, such as the Stato di Famiglia Storico [Historical State of the Family Certificate] or the Certificato di Stato di Famiglia [Certificate of Family Status, one of several forms of an Italian residency certificate], diverse acts [such as civil recognitions, births of abandoned children, adoptions, deaths of residents elsewhere, stillbirths], marriage banns, supplemental marriage, birth, and death records, and citizenship records.

If you wish to order civil records from an Italian town hall, it’s important to understand what formats the documents come in. Your purpose will determine what format of the record you order. For example, if you need the record because you are tracing the heirs for an estate, then you will need the “Certificato,” as other formats would not be acceptable in a U.S. court. Keep in mind that Italy has privacy restrictions that extend for seventy years after the creation of the record.

Two sets of civil registers are created each year. One set is conserved in the town hall and the other set is sent to the Tribunale (similar to a District Court) for use in legal proceedings. After seventy years, the Tribunale’s copy is sent to the province’s Archivio di Stato (provincial/state archives) for conservation. Understanding how these records were created may help find a record when one set of civil records has been destroyed.

FamilySearch currently has the largest and most accessible collection of Italian civil, ecclesiastical, military, and notarial records outside of Italy. According to their agreement with the Italian State Archives (Direzione Generale per gli Archivi or DGA), they are digitizing all civil records held within Italy’s provincial/state archives. Digitized copies of these records are then returned to the Italian State Archive, a key part of the digitization agreement. The DGA is placing these images on their website, Portale Antenati. These records will eventually be indexed by name, date, location, and record type. Ancestry also has a modest collection of Italian civil records.

  • Ecclesiastical Records – This record set includes baptisms, confirmations, death/burial records, marriages, marriage attachments, dispensations, and different types of ecclesiastical censuses. FamilySearch has some ecclesiastical records on microfilm but the great majority must be accessed in local parishes or diocesan archives.

In general, ecclesiastical records extend back to the end of the Council of Trent in 1583 or to the construction date of the parish the ancestors attended. Records of defunct parishes are often kept at the diocesan archives. In 1614, Pope Paul V prescribed the keeping of status animarum (State of the Souls) records, a census-like record used to track the vital statistics of all parishioners and the sacraments (baptism, confirmation, communion) they had received. They were also used for taxation purposes in some time periods and localities.

  • Military Records – Key military records consist of conscription records, extraction lists, service records, and discharge papers. FamilySearch has a limited amount of these records on microfilm or in digitized form. Some provincial/state archives have created databases containing the conscription records for their province, which can be accessed on their websites. For an example of one such project, see the website of the Archivio di Stato di Cosenza.
  • Census and Tax Assessment Records – Census and tax assessment records take many different forms in Italy, depending on time period, locality, and who created the records. Various forms of land or property taxation censuses existed into the mid-nineteenth century (for some areas into the 1870s). Often called catasti onciari, censimente, or riveli, they were usually created by ecclesiastical authorities. Many provincial/state archives are digitizing these records, which can be a valuable resource, especially when parish records have been destroyed.

Some forms of municipal censuses began after Italian Unification but were phased out with the onset of federal censuses. If the municipal censuses survive (registri di popolazioni, shede individuale, foglie di famiglie), they can be an invaluable source of information, as they often document the vital statistics of whole family groups, as well as immigration/emigration information. Federal censuses are usually not available for consultation.

  • Notarial Records – In Italy, notaries recorded all types of legal transactions. Therefore, notarial records can be an invaluable source of evidence. Some types of notarial records are mortgages, property sales/transfers (may include the sale of land, buildings, animals, trees or fruits thereof, wells/water rights), adoptions, atto di notarietà (sworn statement used to prove identity when there was no birth or baptismal records), wills, dowries and marital contracts. I once found an amazingly helpful property transfer that detailed three generations of a family and provided death dates and places for the initial couple on the deed, the client’s second great-grandparents. As access to parish records was not permitted in this area of Italy, this pre-civil registration information was especially valuable. To learn more about notarial records and their application to genealogical research, consider attending my BCG webinar this coming November, “Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History.” Watch SpringBoard for an announcement in October.

FamilySearch has a limited amount of these records digitized or on microfilm but their collection is increasing. The majority of these records need to be researched onsite in Italy’s provincial/state archives or notarial archives, depending on the province.

Other types of records do not have as strong a genealogical application as the four listed above. Italian newspapers are one of these resources. The great majority of emigrating Italians came from the peasant class, which was largely illiterate. Obituaries, wedding announcements, or “hometown happenings” sections in Italian newspapers for the majority of Italian citizens are not found until the later part of the twentieth century, long past the major immigration waves. However, Italian newspapers are a valuable resource for cultural, social and historical research. There is no centralized source for digitized historical versions of Italian newspapers, like one sees in the U.S. These records are being maintained on individual newspaper websites. For example, see the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, which has digitized all of its publications since its founding in 1867.

In contrast, Italian-American (Italian-Canadian, Italian-Brazilian, etc.) newspapers contain notifications of immigrant arrivals, wedding announcements, death notices, and many other types of valuable genealogical information. You can find these records in the collections of historical societies, as well as state and local libraries.

Further Study in Italian Research

Courses/Institutes

There are several Italian courses available now or during the upcoming year.

  • The National Institute of Genealogical Studies has four Italian genealogy courses available, ranging from basic to intermediate, with more to come in the future.
  • The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research will offer an Italian Genealogical Research Practicum in October 2016. The practicum is for the intermediate researcher with some experience in Italian research.

Resources

The list below is not exhaustive but does provide important resources for a genealogist learning to work in Italian genealogical research.1 Several language resources are included.

Amadè, Luca Sarzi. L’Antenato Nel Cassetto: Manuale di Scienza Genealogica. Sesto San Giovanni, Milano, Italy: Mimesis Edizioni, 2015. This resource is in Italian and contains handwriting samples of abbreviations seen in documents written in Latin.

Battelli, Giulio. Lezioni di Paleografia. 4th ed., second printing. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2007).

Bischoff, Bernhard. Paleografia Latina Antichita e Mediovo. 2nd ed., Italian translation. Padova, Italy: Editrice Antenore, 1986.

Cole, Trafford R. Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, & Other Records in Family History Research. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Incorporated, 1995.

Holtz, Melanie D. “Evaluating the Evidentiary Value of an Italian Record.” Finding Our Italian Roots Blog, 21 May 2015. http://italiangenealogyroots.blogspot.com/2015/05/evaluating-evidentiary-value-of-italian.html : 2016.

Holtz, Melanie D. “Genealogical Standards in Italian Genealogical Research, Genealogical Proof Standard (Part I).” Finding Our Italian Roots Blog, 23 November 2014. (http://italiangenealogyroots.blogspot.com/2014/11/genealogical-standards-in-italian_23.html : 2016.

Holtz, Melanie D. “Applying Genealogical Standards to Italian Genealogical Records.” Finding Our Italian Roots Blog, 17 November 2014. http://italiangenealogyroots.blogspot.com/2014/11/applying-genealogical-standards-to.html  : 2016.

Holtz, Melanie D. “Adding Cultural Context to Your Family History.” Finding Our Italian Roots Blog, 29 July 2015. http://italiangenealogyroots.blogspot.com/2015/07/adding-cultural-context-to-your-family.html : 2016.

Mendola, Louis. Sicilian Genealogy and Heraldry. New York: Trinacria Editions, 2013.

 

Melanie D. Holtz, CG®
Melanie@holtzresearch.com
www.italyancestry.com
Specializing in Italian Genealogical Research and Dual Citizenship


1 The resources given in the first post on this subject have not been repeated.

 

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.

Diverse Communities: Researching Italian Ancestors Part 1

Italian Genealogical Research: Part I

Melanie D. Holtz, CG

Between 1880 and 1920 more than four million Italians immigrated to the United States. During this same time period, there were significant Italian immigration waves to South America, Canada, Switzerland, France, England, and many other countries. Italians remain one of the largest ethnic groups within the U.S., and interest in Italian ancestry and culture continues to grow exponentially. Professional genealogists, especially those working in the U.S., Canada, or South America, may encounter Italian ancestors when researching an extended family.

Historical Considerations for Italian Research

The country of Italy was created from multiple city-states during a time period known as Italian Unification. Combining vastly different city-states with different cultural mores and dialects was especially challenging, and those differences are seen within the records. As not all areas of present-day Italy became part of the country during Italian Unification, understanding history can help locate hard-to-find records.

1543–1563 The Council of Trent, a body of Catholic leaders, met in the city of Trent to reform various policies of the Catholic Church. After the Council’s adjournment in 1563, priests were required to maintain baptismal, marriage, and death/burial records. In 1614, Pope Paul V prescribed the keeping of status animarum (State of the Souls) records in his book, Rituale Romanum.
1559–1713 Spain ruled most of present-day Italy. Some records in this time period are in Spanish.
1713–1796 The Austrian Hapsburgs ruled most of present-day mainland Italy. German can be found in the records of this time period, most especially in the northern regions.
1796 Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France, conquered the Austrians and gained control of Italy.
1806–1815 Napoleon ruled most of Italy. In 1806 he implemented civil registration.
1808 The King of Naples introduced civil registration to the Kingdom of Naples (in general, those areas of mainland Italy south of Roma). Civil registration was called the Stato Civile Napoleonico (Napoleonic Civil Registration).
1813–1815 Civil registration ended in most areas of northern Italy, and the present-day Italian regions were returned to their former rulers. Southern Italy maintained civil registration from 1806. Sicilia did not begin civil registration until 1820 and continued it unabated.
1816–1865 Civil registration during this time period was called Stato Civile Restaurazione (Restoration Civil Records]) and kept by part of the peninsula between 1816–1865 and in Sicilia from 1820–1865.
1821–1831 During this time period there were many revolts against former rulers. You may find that civil registers for some years were destroyed, especially in the region of Sicilia.
1848–49 There were bloody revolts against Austrian rule in most major cities. New governments were established, and the Pope won back control of Roma.
1858–59 Most of northern Italy was united under the Kingdom of Sardinia.
1860–62 Sicilia and southern Italy were freed from French rule.
1861–65 Italian Unification: On 15 November 1865 King Vittorio Emmanuele united all city-states, except for the city of Roma, the independent country of San Marino, and the region of Venezia. After this point, civil registration was known as the Stato Civile Italiano (Italian Civil Records).
1866 The region of Venezia became part of Italy after the Prussians defeated the Austrians. Law now mandated civil registration.
1870–71 The French were ousted from Roma during the Franco-Prussian War. Italy took control of all areas except for the Vatican. The capital of Italy was moved from Torino to Roma.
1915–18 After World War I, Trentino and Trieste became part of Italy.
1946 Italians voted to establish a republican constitution.
1970 Civil divorce was made legal.

Getting started in Italian research is not as daunting as it might seem. There are many helpful resources available for free or at low cost. FamilySearch’s Family History Research Wiki on Italian Genealogy contains helpful information on all record types. They also offer a video course on beginning Italian genealogical research, genealogical word lists, and letter-writing and handwriting guides that are very useful.

Brigham Young University also has an Italian script tutorial that can be invaluable when reading the records.

The resources listed below are aimed at the beginner and intermediate researcher. They contain translations of the most commonly found documents, guidance on ordering documents from Italy, details on the various Italian archives, and other information.

Adams, Suzanne Russo. Finding Your Italian Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide. Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2008.

Colletta, John Philip. Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans. 2nd ed. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2008.

Nelson, Lynn. A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage. Cincinnati, Ohio: Betterway Books, 1997.

Is It Important to Know the Town of Origin?

It is essential to know the ancestor’s town of origin, as nearly all records useful for genealogical research were created at the town (commune) or parish (parrocchia) level. If the town is unknown the research should first focus on the records created by these ancestors in the place of immigration. Once the town of origin is known, research can proceed in the Italian records.

In large cities, like Roma, Palermo, or Napoli, knowing the neighborhood (quartiere) where the family resided is essential to effectively research the civil records. Large cities had multiple town halls so the civil records are separated by the neighborhood where they were recorded. Not knowing the neighborhood may require paging through thousands of records for each town hall and each year, a time-consuming process.

Italian military records are arranged by military district, with only a few military districts within each province. Each provincial/state archives (Archivo di Stato) conserves 19th century military records for their province. Where a researcher can find pre-19th century military records varies. Research in military records could determine, for example, the town of birth for a male ancestor born after 1855, even though all that is known is that he came from the province of Napoli.

Ports of Emigration

Understanding the major ports of Italian emigration is also important. Italian ancestors who emigrated out of Genova were usually from northern Italy. Ancestors who emigrated from Napoli were usually of southern Italian or Sicilian descent. While some immigration manifests show the port of emigration as Palermo, these ships also docked in Napoli to gather supplies and additional passengers for the transatlantic journey. Therefore, ship manifests that show Palermo as the port of emigration may also include immigrants from southern Italy.

Understanding the general area an ancestor may have come from could help determine the town of origin, as town names on immigration manifests are often abbreviated. For example, if an ancestor came from the town of Santa Maria, knowing the general area of origin may help narrow down which one of the twenty-plus towns in Italy that begin with Santa Maria is the correct one.

Tracing Italian Women

Italian women used their birth surname throughout their lives, even on their immigration manifests. Occasionally, you may find a record under her maiden and married surnames, with the word “in” between them. Ecclesiastical records may note only her first name once she reaches adulthood, and she may be designated as “the wife of [husband’s name]” or “the daughter of [father’s name].” However, while this was the practice in Italy and other Latin countries, after immigration to the United States Italian women were recorded using their husband’s surname.

In my next post, we’ll discuss the five most common record sets used in Italian research, the best places to find records outside of Italy, and additional educational resources on Italian genealogical research.

Melanie D. Holtz, CG
Melanie@holtzresearch.com
www.italyancestry.com
Specializing in Italian Genealogical Research and Dual Citizenship

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.

Contest Deadline Friday, and Odds of Winning Are Good!

The Modern Family Numbering contest closes Friday at midnight EDT, so get your entry in today! You need not watch Modern Family to enter. Not even once. The links below take you to all the information you need. Look at what you could win:

A DNA test courtesy of AncestryDNA

or a 37-marker Y-DNA test courtesy of FamilyTreeDNA

or a copy of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, courtesy of the National Genealogical Society.

ABC’s TV series Modern Family features a blended family like those we encounter in real life. SpringBoard challenges readers to number a genealogy of Modern Family’s characters as if they were a real family. The first-place winner may choose among the three prizes above. The second- and third-place winners will choose from the remaining two prizes.

Characters Alex, Manny, Luke, Cameron, Lily, Mitchell, Phil, Haley (Not pictured: Jay, Gloria, Joe, Claire)
By Roderick Eime (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0]), via Wikimedia Commons

Rules:

  1. Contest is open to all persons eighteen years and older. You need not be Board-certified to enter or win. Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists are not eligible to win.
  2. Contest will run from 1 June 2016 to midnight 1 July 2016, Eastern Daylight Time. Email your entry in a stable format to NumberingContest@gmail.com. Include your full name and mailing address.
  3. Void where prohibited.
  4. Watching Modern Family is not required. Online resources are offered below. No purchase is necessary.
  5. Entries must follow the NGS Quarterly System as demonstrated in Numbering Your Genealogy (Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, ed. Elizabeth Shown Mills, rev. ed. [Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2008]). This system is also used for the examples in the SpringBoard numbering posts (links below) and in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.
  6. Jay Pritchett is the starting point person, individual number 1.
  7. All regularly appearing characters in Modern Family must be included.
  8. Entries must include genealogical sketches comprised, where appropriate, of a character’s
  • name
  • individual number
  • generation number
  • birth-order number
  • parenthetical summary of descent
  • birth and marriage information (with missing or unknown information indicated by ellipses [ . . . ])
  • spouse information
  • child list
  1. Extensive biographical information is discouraged.
  2. Accuracy of numbering relationships will determine the winner. Accuracy of formatting, interest of presentation, and earliest date of receipt of entry will break ties.
  3. Decision of the judges is final.

Resources:

SpringBoard: News and Notes

Board for Certification of Genealogists

P.O. Box 14291

Washington, DC 20044

For the Genealogically Adventuresome: Number Modern Family

Create a numbered genealogy of ABC TV’s Modern Family.

Win

a DNA test courtesy of AncestryDNA

or a 37-marker Y-DNA test courtesy of FamilyTreeDNA

or a copy of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, courtesy of the National Genealogical Society.

The Contest: This past month’s series of SpringBoard posts on numbering a genealogy has highlighted complex family structures. It’s dense information, and now it’s time for some fun!

ABC’s TV series Modern Family features a blended family like those we encounter in real life. SpringBoard challenges readers to number a genealogy of Modern Family’s characters as if they were a real family. The first-place winner may choose among the three prizes above. The second- and third-place winners will choose from the remaining two prizes. The first-place entry will be published in a future SpringBoard post.

Characters Alex, Manny, Luke, Cameron, Lily, Mitchell, Phil, Haley (Not pictured: Jay, Gloria, Joe, Claire)
By Roderick Eime (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0]), via Wikimedia Commons

Rules:

  1. Contest is open to all persons eighteen years and older. You need not be Board-certified to enter or win. Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists are not eligible to win.
  2. Contest will run from 1 June 2016 to midnight 1 July 2016, Eastern Daylight Time. Email your entry in a stable format to NumberingContest@gmail.com. Include your full name and mailing address.
  3. Void where prohibited.
  4. Watching Modern Family is not required. Online resources are offered below. No purchase is necessary.
  5. Entries must follow the NGS Quarterly System as demonstrated in Numbering Your Genealogy (Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, ed. Elizabeth Shown Mills, rev. ed. [Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2008]). This system is also used for the examples in the SpringBoard numbering posts (links below) and in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.
  6. Jay Pritchett is the starting point person, individual number 1.
  7. All regularly appearing characters in Modern Family must be included.
  8. Entries must include genealogical sketches comprised, where appropriate, of a character’s
  • name
  • individual number
  • generation number
  • birth-order number
  • parenthetical summary of descent
  • birth and marriage information (with missing or unknown information indicated by ellipses [ . . . ])
  • spouse information
  • child list
  1. Extensive biographical information is discouraged.
  2. Accuracy of numbering relationships will determine the winner. Accuracy of formatting, interest of presentation, and earliest date of receipt of entry will break ties.
  3. Decision of the judges is final.

Resources:

All contestants will win the best prize of all, experience writing a genealogy for a complex family.

 SpringBoard: News and Notes

Board for Certification of Genealogists

P.O. Box 14291

Washington, DC 20044

Congratulations, Karen Stanbary, CG!

“My passion for genealogy began as a high-school senior watching the Roots mini-series on TV,” says Karen Stanbary. In the early 1980s, the show inspired her to “take a local community-college class, explore the collections at Chicago’s Newberry Library, and (best of all) interview my grandparents, their siblings and my great-grandmother.” Karen borrowed a mimeograph machine to create family group sheets and pedigree charts.

Decades later, faced with an empty nest, she returned to her passion and stumbled upon two articles that questioned the validity and reliability of Alex Haley’s work.[1] Feeling a bit betrayed, she resolved to learn valid genealogical methods. That combination of inspiration and critique bore fruit, and in April she qualified to become Certified Genealogist #1071.

Karen Stanbary, CG

Karen was born in Burlington, Iowa, where many of her deceased ancestors remain. She grew up in a western suburb of Chicago. She and her husband currently practice specialized clinical social work in Chicago. She is fluent and literate in Spanish and completed graduate anthropological work in Mexico, one of her genealogical areas of expertise. She teaches three twelve-hour seminars for the Newberry Library’s Adult Education program:  Genetic Genealogy, Genetic Genealogy–Advanced Practical Applications, and Proving Your Pedigree. She will teach in the Practical Genetic Genealogy course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) this summer.

Karen credits her successful portfolio in large part to the teachings and guidance of Tom Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, Sandra Hewlett, CG, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD, CeCe Moore, Angie Bush, MA, and Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. Her experience in the ProGen Study Group, Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group, and NGSQ (National Genealogical Society Quarterly) Study Group—as well as classes at GRIP, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR)—also improved her genealogical critical analysis skills.

Karen especially wants to thank Harold Henderson, CG. “He is a fantastic mentor who helped keep me accountable to my timeline. He provided just the right balance between understanding and accountability.”

She committed to the certification process and created a routine. “Early each morning, when my brain works best, I would spend focused quality time with my portfolio. I prepared a ‘portfolio space’ with all the essential materials at hand—the BCG Application Guide, Chicago Manual of Style, Evidence Explained, Genealogy Standards, Numbering Your Genealogy, and the IGHR writing course syllabus.  I bought a second monitor so I could see the docs on one screen and write on my laptop.

“And I took the time to dig deep into the records. Doing that helped me to keep the Kinship Determination Project (KDP) interesting. I spent three years with the KDP family. I think I would have become bored with them without those unusual records and social histories. And a bored writer does not write.

“It was a significant breakthrough to realize that one size does not fit all—that there is no universal template or formula. Within the standards, I had to learn to trust my own decision-making, to feel the freedom to tell the story.”

Karen’s case study identifies the Mexican father of a Michigan adoptee using documentary research, interviews with potential relatives, and analysis of nine people’s autosomal DNA test results, including triangulated matches. This work is contracted for publication in the NGSQ.

How much overlap is there between clinical social work and professional genealogy? “More than I expected, especially in genealogy cases with real present-day emotional impact, such as unknown paternity, misattributed paternity, the appearance of previously unknown half-siblings, and adoption cases.” And the skill sets are similar: “Both require the careful creation of timelines, critical consideration of the source(s) of information, and empathy—the ability to step out of one’s cultural comfort zones in order to view events through the participants’ eyes.”

What’s next for Karen?  She plans to teach and to increase her client work, especially helping people solve family mysteries and break through brick walls using a combination of documentary research and targeted DNA testing. “It’s an exciting time to be a member of the genealogy community.”

Karen can be reached at karenstanbary@gmail.com.



[1] Elizabeth Shown Mills and Gary B. Mills, “Roots and the new ‘Faction’: A Legitimate Tool for Clio?” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1 (January 1981): 5–26.  Also, Elizabeth Shown Mills and Gary B. Mills, “The Genealogist’s Assessment of Alex Haley’s Roots,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 72 (March 1984): 35–49.  Both articles can be viewed at Historic Pathways.

 

 

SpringBoard Brings you Skillbuilding from NGS 2016

SpringBoard is an official blogger of the NGS 2016 Family History Conference to be held 4–7 May in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and we’re poised to bring you the BCG from the conference.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists will again co-sponsor the Skillbuilding Track. In sixteen lectures over four days BCG associates will educate all levels of genealogists about resources and methodologies to make our research the best it can be.

For those who are unable to attend the conference or who have too many lectures to attend at the same time, SpringBoard’s guest bloggers will present summaries of all BCG Skillbuilding lectures. Watch for them beginning a couple days after the conference begins. All the Skillbuilding lectures will be recorded and available for purchase through PlaybackNow, which will also offer two-minute teasers of each lecture recorded. Watch the SpringBoard posts for links to the individual recordings.

Three of BCG’s Skillbuilding lectures will be streamed live Friday, 6 May, as part of Day Two: Methods for Success:

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “Reasonably Exhaustive Research: The First Criteria for Genealogical Proof

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “Systematically Using Autosomal DNA Test Results to Help Break Through Genealogical Brick Walls

Stefani Evans, CG, “Doughnut Holes and Family Skeletons: Meeting the GPS Through Negative and Indirect Evidence”

The live streaming will include five more lectures by BCG associates. So there are many ways to learn from this conference even if you can’t be there. SpringBoard will keep you posted.

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.

Numbering 4: Adoptions and Children of Multiple Partners

The William Walker–Margaret Lauderdale family has challenged us across the past three posts with several numbering complexities.

  • In the first post we assigned people generation numbers according to whether they were born in the U.S. or abroad.
  • The second post demonstrated how to number children born to unknown fathers.
  • Numbering informal adoptions and children born to a descendant by more than one spouse followed in the third post.

This post wraps up discussion of adoption and multiple partners.

Remember that we are looking at three numbers that would be used in a descending genealogy:

  • Individual numbers, arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4 . . .);
  • Generation numbers, a superscript number in italic font (1, 2, A, B, a, b); and
  • Birth-order numbers, a lower case roman numeral (i, ii, iii . . .).

Parenthetical summaries of descent abbreviate each descendant’s ancestry. They appear after the descendant’s name in the first line of the biographical sketch, for example, “8.  Margaret Maitland2 Walker (Thomas Watta-1, WilliamA, ThomasB) was born . . .”

In all cases our authority on numbering is Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, ed. Elizabeth Shown Mills, rev. ed. (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2008). 

In the third and succeeding generations all the Walker descendants are American-born, so all have numerical generation numbers. Pre-American generation numbers (letters) appear only in the parenthetical summaries of descent. Likewise the descriptions we have used for Albert’s informal adoption and Edward’s treatment as a son of deceased William.

Generation Three

(Selected biological and adoptive grandchildren)

Margaret Maitland2 Walker’s daughter by an unknown father appears in Generation Three, although she has already been treated with her adoptive grandparents in Generation Two. Daughter Dorothy’s individual number (12) is not repeated here. She receives birth-order-number one ( i ) as Margaret’s firstborn.[1] Birth-order numbering of Margaret’s children with Louis Fox also begins with one ( i ) to distinguish the fathers.

Dorothy’s individual number is not repeated. The fathers of Margaret’s children are distinguished by the birth-order numbers.

The informal adoption of Albert Walker and his social Walker ancestry now appear in his parenthetical summary of descent.  Notice that although his children are in the third generation from WilliamA, their generation number is 2, not 3, because of adoptive son Albert’s generation number of 1.

In Generation Three, some children take the generation number of 3, some 2, depending on the generational status of their fathers and grandfathers.

What unique numbering questions have you encountered in your family? How have you used Numbering Your Genealogy to answer them?


[1] Margaret2 is a direct descendant with multiple partners, similar to the multiple marriages discussed in Numbering Your Genealogy, 18, bullet 2. See also, for example, Numbering Your Genealogy, 22, no. 12, Myrtle4 Mercer, child ii, Mason Mercer.