BCG Webinars

The Board for Certification of Genealogists is pleased to offer videos of our popular webinar series. Some are free. Most are available to view or purchase for a reasonable fee. Previews and links to all are included below.

Baker, James M., “Elementary, My Dear Watson! Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have”
Baker, James M., “Finding Your Early 1800s US Ancestors Online”
Bittner, F. Warren, “Complex Evidence What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters”
Bloom, Jeanne Larzalere, “Bringing Life to Our Ancestors: Manuscript Collections”
Bloom, Jeanne Larzalere, “The Family Tapestry: Integrating Proof Arguments into the Genealogical Narrative”
Fonkert, Jay, “Genealogical Fingerprints: Merging and Separating Identities in Family History Research”
Hait, Michael, “‘Of Sound Mind and Body’ Using Probate Records in Your Research”
Henderson, Harold, “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?”
Holtz, Melanie D., “Applying the Standards to International Research”
Holtz, Melanie D., “Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History”
Jones, Thomas W., “Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories” (FREE)
Koford, Rebecca Whitman, “Are You My Grandpa?”
Leclerc, Michael J., “Writing Up Your Research”
Little, Barbara Vines, “The Importance of Context in Record Analysis”
McGhie, Angela Packer, “Education Preparation for Certification”
McMillin, Teresa Steinkamp, “Truth or Fiction? Unraveling a Family Yarn”
Mills, Elizabeth Shown, “FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver’s Great Trifecta”
Morehead, Shellee A., “Another Kind of Navigation: GPS for Genealogy”
Morehead Shellee A., “Diamonds in the Rough: Finding and Using Manuscript Collections”
Powell, Elissa Scalise, “The Best Educational Plan for You: Sifting Through the Options”
Ramage, Michael, “Adoption for the Forensic Genealogist”
Ramage, Michael, “Reliability: The Keystone of Genealogical Reasoning, with Judicial Comparisons”
Russell, Judy G., “Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation” (FREE)
Russell, Judy G., “When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records”
Russell, Judy G., “No, No, Nanette! What Negative Evidence is…and isn’t”
Sayre, Pamela Boyer, “Enough is Enough. Or Is It?”
Sayre, Richard G., “Finding Evidence of Kinship in Military Records”
Sayre, Rick, “The Genealogy in Government Documents”
Staley, Ann, “Black Sheep Ancestors and Their Records”
Stanbary, Karen, “Weaving DNA Test Results into a Proof Argument

For more information about the Board for Certification of Genealogists and genealogy standards, visit bcgcertification.org.

Free videos:

Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, “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.

Thomas Jones is an award-winning genealogical author, editor, educator, and researcher who focuses on genealogical methods and solutions to challenging research problems. Although he has solved genealogical problems in most American states and five European countries, he specializes in Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Northern Ireland, and Virginia. He teaches in Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate Program and coordinates courses at GRIP, IGHR, and SLIG institutes. Since 1997 he has been a regular speaker at FGS, NGS, and regional, state, local, and international genealogical society conferences and workshops. Since 2002 he has co-edited NGSQ, and he is the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof.

Direct link to this webinar in Vimeo
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Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, “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.

“The Legal Genealogist” Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and National Genealogical Society Magazine, among other publications. On the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Alabama, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh and Boston University’s Center for Professional Education, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer. Her blog – chosen as one of the American Bar Association’s top 100 in 2013-2015 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website (http://www.legalgenealogist.com).

Direct link to this webinar in Vimeo
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Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, “The Importance of Context in Record Analysis” (16 February 2016)

Source citations provide context for the information we gather. Was the death date from a tombstone, a newspaper obituary, a county history, a Bible record, or a death certificate? The best citations tell us that the tombstone was contemporary with the death, the Bible record was entered in the same hand and the same ink, the county history was written a hundred and fifty years later, and the death certificate was signed by an attending physician. The details provide background context that helps us evaluate the validity of the information and suggests other avenues for research. But this information only scratches the surface. A full evaluation of any record’s context requires that we explore the complete content of the document. We want to know the reason for the document’s existence; the social, legal, and geographical context behind its creation; and what ancillary documents were produced both before and after its creation.

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, is a professional genealogist whose primary interests are Virginia research and brick wall problems. A former president of both the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Virginia Genealogical Society, she coordinated the Virginia track for Samford University’s Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research from 2007–2012. She has served as editor of the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy since 1996. Winner of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly Award for excellence in 2001, she has also written for the NGS Magazine, OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. She currently edits NGS’s Research in the States series and authored the West Virginia volume. She has published three volumes of Virginia court records and edited others for publication. She has lectured for the past twenty-five years on research methodology, Virginia and West Virginia resources, and writing and publishing.

Direct link to this webinar in Vimeo
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On-Demand Videos:

Michael Hait, CG, “‘Of Sound Mind and Body’ Using Probate Records in Your Research” (17 Nov. 2014)

Created as part of the BCG Skillbuilding Track at the 2014 National Genealogical Society conference, this lecture discusses the process associated with the administration of testate and intestate estates and the records created as a result. Consulting these records is ordinarily an essential part of the reasonably exhaustive research necessary to meet the Genealogical Proof Standard. Example documents illustrate the various and detailed information that probate records can hold about our ancestors, their daily lives, and family relationships.

Michael Hait, CG, is a full-time professional genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer. He has written case studies for several genealogical journals including the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. In 2012 Michael won 1st prize in the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Competition for his article “In the Shadow of Rebellions,” exploring descendants of an enslaved woman living in 19th-century Maryland. Michael currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2013–2016), and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists (2012–2013). For more information, visit haitfamilyresearch.com.

Michael Hait, CG, “‘Of Sound Mind and Body’ Using Probate Records in Your Research” from BCG on Vimeo.

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F. Warren Bittner, CG, “Complex Evidence What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters” (24 February 2015)

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.

F. Warren Bittner, CG, is a genealogical researcher and lecturer. Formerly a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists, he holds a Master of Science degree in history from Utah State University. His master’s thesis looked at the social factors affecting illegitimacy in nineteenth-century Bavaria. Warren was a winner of the National Genealogical Society 2011 Writing Contest, with his article “Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Büttner Family from Bavaria to New York.” This article was also awarded the National Genealogical Society, Award for Excellence, 2012 which is presented annually for an outstanding article published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. He has coordinated German research tracks at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. For six years he was the German Collection Manager for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. He has done research in more than fifty German archives and in more than forty U.S. archives and record repositories.

F. Warren Bittner, CG, “Complex Evidence What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters” from BCG on Vimeo.

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James M. Baker, Ph.D, CG, “Elementary My Dear Watson! Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have” (17 March 2015)

What can a genealogist do when key direct evidence is missing or inadequate? James M. Baker, PhD, CG, will offer step-by-step approaches for using inferential and analytic thinking to solve these challenging genealogy problems, including the use of naming patterns, birth/marriage witness data, inheritance data, sibling research, timelines, and family migrations.

Mr. Baker, an active genealogist for the past fifteen years, completed the requirements to become a BCG associate in 2011. He specializes in German, Midwest U.S., and early American research. He was an officer of the Sacramento German Genealogy Society (SGGS) and has contributed numerous articles to its quarterly, Der Blumenbaum. He also has written articles for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Magazine and the NGS Quarterly. He is a member of NGS and SGGS. For the past ten years, he has volunteered at the Sacramento FamilySearch Library. In 2014, he presented ten different webinars at the library that were webcast to other libraries throughout northern California; he also presented a recent webinar for the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree community. He has given more than 100 genealogy presentations during the past three years at local, regional, and national events.

James M. Baker, Ph.D, CG, “Elementary My Dear Watson! Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, “The Family Tapestry: Integrating Proof Arguments into the Genealogical Narrative”
(19 May 2015)

When we tell a story, sometimes we need to stop and explain. Just how did we figure out who the main character’s mother was—without any census, vital records, or probate records? This problem confronts every genealogist who prepares a portfolio for certification as well. Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, will use the language of weaving and the work of distinguished philosopher Stephen Toulmin to deal with this perennial issue in writing up genealogical research.

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, is president of BCG and a full-time professional researcher specializing in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, forensic genealogy, problem solving, and multi-generational family histories. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a second-year certificate from the University of Chicago’s publishing program. Her interest in genealogy began much earlier. Rather than having her grandmother read her a story before naptime, Jeanne would ask to hear a story about when she was a little girl.

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, “The Family Tapestry: Integrating Proof Arguments into the Genealogical Narrative” from BCG on Vimeo.

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J. H. “Jay” Fonkert, CG, “Genealogical Fingerprints: Merging and Separating Identities in Family History Research”
(15 March 2016)

Merging or separating identities is a core genealogical problem. Sometimes we find a person of the same name in several different places over time. Other times, we find two easily confounded people in the same place and time. A series of short case studies illustrates the importance of certain identity.

Jay Fonkert, CG, is a Minnesota-based genealogy researcher, educator, and writer who focuses on nineteenth-century Midwest research. His favorite research target is the Fawkner family of Kentucky and Indiana. He is a trustee of the BCG Education Fund, a past director of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and a past president of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. Jay was an instructor at the Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy from 2013 to 2015 and has published more than sixty research and teaching articles in the Minnesota Genealogist, The Septs, Family Chronicle, NGS Magazine and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

J. H. (Jay) Fonkert, CG, “Genealogical Fingerprints: Merging and Separating Identities in Family History Research” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG,”Truth or Fiction? Unraveling a Family Yarn” (16 June 2015)

Family lore told of George Teeling, a nineteenth-century Irish immigrant in Chicago. Researching the tale surrounding him proved that much of the story was false. Genealogical sleuthing led to many surprising discoveries, perhaps more interesting than the original family tradition. This engaging lecture will discuss the research process, a wide array of sources, and overcoming anglicized names to arrive at the truth about George Teeling and his family.

Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, specializes in German American and midwest research as well as reading German script. Her focus has also been on Chicago research. The Teeling story comes from her husband’s family.

Teresa has been interested in genealogy since she was a child. She is a multi-year attendee of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, and many local genealogical societies, she also serves as webmaster for the Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Recently Teresa published Guide to Hanover Military Records, 15141866, on Microfilm at the Family History Library.

Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, “Truth or Fiction? Unraveling a Family Yarn” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D, CG, “Diamonds in the Rough: Finding and Using Manuscript Collections” (21 July 2015)

Unique, unpublished materials can be valuable resources for solving those pesky genealogical problems and adding insight and flavor to our family histories. Research is not complete without looking through unusual and one-of-a-kind materials that may be available for the time and place our ancestors lived. Diaries, letters, journals, scrapbooks, and other ephemera can be found in a variety of repositories across the United States. A genealogical society, public or private library, historical society, university, or other entity may have that one piece of paper that illuminates our family’s history. But how can we find it?

This lecture describes the types of collections that may be hiding in plain sight and how to access them online and in person. Materials that may be found in manuscript collections include maps, photographs, genealogists’ research notes, unpublished histories, business ledgers, journals, and vertical files. Shellee gives examples of how these materials provide insight into our families’ lives and neighborhoods and provides suggestions on where to find the “diamonds in the rough.”

Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D. (evolutionary ecology), CG, researches, writes, and lectures on family history. Recently she has written about using DNA to reveal the Ulster origins of Thomas Hamilton, progenitor of a colonial American family. She has spoken at The Genealogy Event in New York and at various local societies. She also appeared in a 2010 episode of the Danish television adaptation of Who Do You Think You Are?

Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D., CG, “Diamonds in the Rough: Finding and Using Manuscript Collections” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, “The Best Educational Plan for You: Sifting Through the Options” (15 September 2015)

September is back-to-school month. What genealogical education will you pursue? Confused by all the possibilities? Trying to make your budget and calendar work with your desires? Which opportunities best suit your learning style and experience level? What scholarships are available? Thanks to standards 82 and 83, we all realize that learning about records, techniques, and new concepts is part of becoming better genealogists. Attend this webinar to learn more about various educational opportunities and to develop an education plan tailored to your own personal goals.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, is a western-Pennsylvania researcher, lecturer, and co-director of GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh). She is the immediate past-president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists; an instructor for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate course; and coordinator of Samford University Library’s IGHR Professional Genealogy course. She taught genealogy courses at local community colleges for fourteen years and has been a regional and national speaker for over twenty years.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, “The Best Education Plan for You: Sifting Through the Options” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Melanie D. Holtz, CG, “Applying the Standards to International Research” (20 October 2015)

The idea of “reasonably exhaustive research” might be one of the most mysterious elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). What exactly does it mean? How do you know when you’ve achieved it? How does the GPS apply to international research?

The lecture will focus on showing how the standards can apply to international research through the evaluation of several Italian case studies and/or research problems. Some research problems naturally require more work to meet the definition of reasonably exhaustive research, while others may be a lot simpler.

Understanding reasonably exhaustive research is important in preparing a kinship determination project. Examples abound for those who focus on U.S. research. However, for those who don’t, it is often helpful to see examples from other geographic locations. In this way, they can more easily learn the proper application of these concepts to their own type of genealogical research.

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, is a board-certified genealogist, lecturer, and writer with a specialty in Italian genealogy and Italian-American dual citizenship. With offices in both the U.S. and Italy, she’s able to provide her clients with a wide range of services, including Italian ancestral tours. Melanie is also a co-administrator of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research and the author of several courses on Italian genealogy available through Family Tree University and the National Institute of Genealogical Research.

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, “Applying the Standards to International Research” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Harold Henderson, CG, “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?” (17 November 2015)

Like all professionals, good genealogists learn to take certain approaches and attitudes toward our work. For example, citing and questioning sources are among the many skills and practices we slowly and painfully learn. Once learned, they become automatic—and then it’s easy to forget that reflexes even exist, and that not everyone has developed them. In this talk, Harold will discuss several important reflexes genealogists need to cultivate for successful research using the standards set forth in the book Genealogy Standards. He will help audience members answer the question, “Am I ready to try for certification?”

Harold Henderson, CG, has been a professional writer since 1979, a professional genealogist since 2009, and a Board-certified genealogist since June 2012. He lives and works in northwest Indiana, and serves as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. He has published articles in American Ancestors Journal (annual supplement to the New England Historical and Genealogical Register), the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and several state publications. His website, www.midwestroots.net, includes free resources and a link to his blog.

Harold Henderson, CG, “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Michael Ramage, JD, CG, “Reliability: The Keystone of Genealogical Reasoning, with Judicial Comparisons” (15 December 2015)

Reliable evidence is essential to sound genealogical conclusions. Illustrating the importance of this quality, the term reliable and its synonyms appear in no less than seven standards in *Genealogy Standards* (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014). The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) does not mention the word reliable, yet it “requires genealogists to base conclusions on reliable evidence.” What does reliable mean? How is it assessed?

Come explore the nebulous but important principles surrounding reliability from the perspective of genealogy and the law. The laws pertaining to the admission or exclusion of expert witness testimony provide relevant insights into what is and is not reliable. This is of crucial importance to those attempting to draw a conclusion based upon the GPS.

Michael S. Ramage, J.D., Certified Genealogist® is a full-time, professional genealogist specializing in forensic genealogy including missing and unknown heir research and expert testimony. A frequent speaker and writer, Michael is Treasurer of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and an Instructor for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. His publications include: “Missing and Unknown Estate Heir Law Practice and Procedure,” Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, Volume LXXVI, No. 3 (July 2005), “What Lawyers Need to Know about the Heir-Hunting Industry,” The Pennsylvania Lawyer (May/June 2013); and “Standards and Forensic Genealogy,” OnBoard 22 (September 2016): 1.

Michael Ramage, JD, CG, “Reliability: The Keystone of Genealogical Reasoning, with Judicial Comparisons” from BCG on Vimeo.

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James M. Baker, Ph.D., CG, “Finding Your Early 1800s US Ancestors Online” (19 April 2016)

This presentation describes strategies to find early 1800s United States data. A case study illustrates the use of different record types to trace families backward in time from Illinois through Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Key online sources include newspapers, historical books, property records, marriage records, military records, and city directories.

Mr. Baker, an active genealogist for the past fifteen years, completed the requirements to become a BCG associate in 2011. He specializes in German, Midwest U.S., and early American research. He was an officer of the Sacramento German Genealogy Society (SGGS) and has contributed numerous articles to its quarterly, Der Blumenbaum. He also has written articles for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Magazine and the NGS Quarterly. He is a member of NGS and SGGS. For the past ten years, he has volunteered at the Sacramento FamilySearch Library. In 2014, he presented ten different webinars at the library that were webcast to other libraries throughout northern California; he also presented a recent webinar for the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree community. He has given more than 100 genealogy presentations during the past three years at local, regional, and national events.

James M. Baker, Ph.D., CG, “Finding Your Early 1800s US Ancestors Online” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D, CG, “Another Kind of Navigation: GPS for Genealogy” (16 August 2016)

This lecture describes the 5 steps of the Genealogical Proof Standard to establish proof of identities and relationships. Shellee will present examples at each step, along with a case study of a complex problem that was solved with research, creativity, attention to detail and a defined process. See how reasonably exhaustive research, accurate citations, analysis and correlation of data, the resolution of conflicting data and a reasoned, written conclusion was used to identify the parents of a Civil War soldier who shaved 10 years off his age and complicated the search for this relationship.”

Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D. (evolutionary ecology), CG, researches, writes, and lectures on family history. Recently she has written about using DNA to reveal the Ulster origins of Thomas Hamilton, progenitor of a colonial American family. She has spoken at The Genealogy Event in New York and at various local societies. She also appeared in a 2010 episode of the Danish television adaptation of Who Do You Think You Are?.

Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D., CG, “Another Kind of Navigation-GPS for Genealogy” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, “Finding Kinship Information in Military Records” (20 September 2016)

With the ever expanding digital resources available today we can find evidence of kinship in military records often neglected. Records such as pensions, service records, medical records, and even pension payment records are increasingly available. However, our need to ensure that we conduct “reasonably exhaustive research” required by the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) will often times require research in original textual records. This webinar will focus on finding kinship information in both online and textual military records.

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, 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 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.

Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, “Finding Kinship Information in Military Records” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, “Bringing Life to Our Ancestors: Manuscript Collections” (6 October 2016)

Learn how to locate and how to use manuscript collections. Case studies show how these underutilized collections can bring an ancestor to life.

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, is president of BCG and a full-time professional researcher specializing in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, forensic genealogy, problem solving, and multi-generational family histories. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a second-year certificate from the University of Chicago’s publishing program. Her interest in genealogy began much earlier. Rather than having her grandmother read her a story before naptime, Jeanne would ask to hear a story about when she was a little girl.

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, “Bringing Life to Our Ancestors: Manuscript Collections” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, “FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver’s Great Trifecta” (6 October 2016)

Can you really ‘prove’ a female line when, for four straight generations, absolutely no document identifies a parent or sibling? Does the challenge seem hopeless when courthouses are burned and an illegitimacy is rumored? This session will demonstrate how to use three critical tools: (1) the FAN Principle to build a case for identity and parentage in each generation; (2) the Genealogical Proof Standard to create proof arguments; and (3) DNA testing—mitochondrial and autosomal—to confirm or disprove the validity of those proof arguments.

Elizabeth Shown Mills is a historical writer who has spent her life studying Southern culture and the relationships between people—emotional as well as genetic. Published widely by academic and popular presses, she edited a national-level scholarly journal for sixteen years, taught for thirteen years at a National Archives-based institute on archival records and, for twenty-five years, has headed a university-based program in advanced research methodology. A popular lecturer and past president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth is the author, editor, and translator of 13 books and over 500 articles in the fields of genealogy, history, literature, and sociology. She has delivered over 1,000 lectures internationally, has appeared on radio and TV talk shows on three continents, and was featured on BBC’s 20th and 30th anniversary specials on the novel Roots.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, “FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver’s Great Trifecta” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, “Adoption for the Forensic Genealogist” (6 October 2016)

Learn about historical and modern adoption laws and methods that may enable you to uncover hidden adoptions with a real life case study. The course covers both methods to discover pre-closed and sealed adoption records as well as the types of records that can lead you to the desired member of the adoption triad. A real life adoption research story will illustrate these points.

Michael S. Ramage, J.D., Certified Genealogist® is a full-time, professional genealogist specializing in forensic genealogy including missing and unknown heir research and expert testimony. A frequent speaker and writer, Michael is Treasurer of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and an Instructor for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. His publications include: “Missing and Unknown Estate Heir Law Practice and Procedure,” Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, Volume LXXVI, No. 3 (July 2005), “What Lawyers Need to Know about the Heir-Hunting Industry,” The Pennsylvania Lawyer (May/June 2013); and “Standards and Forensic Genealogy,” OnBoard 22 (September 2016): 1.

Michael S. Ramage, J.D., CG, “Adoption for the Forensic Genealogist” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, “When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records” (6 October 2016)

When one record says she was born in Texas, and another says she was born in Mississippi, the evidence is conflicting. Now what? The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) requires that we resolve conflicts among evidence items, since we can’t reach a credible conclusion otherwise. Sounds good … but it’s easier said than done. What exactly are we supposed to do with conflicting evidence? What standards do we follow? In other words, how do we do what the GPS tells us to do?

“The Legal Genealogist” Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and National Genealogical Society Magazine, among other publications. On the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Alabama, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh and Boston University’s Center for Professional Education, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist? and Certified Genealogical Lecturer?. Her blog – chosen as one of the American Bar Association’s top 100 in 2013-2015 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website (http://www.legalgenealogist.com).

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, “When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, “Enough is Enough. Or Is It?” (6 October 2016)

Tips and a step-by-step case study help attendees learn how to decide when adequate research has been conducted to meet the goals of a project. This session covers determining what other sources might be available, analyzing, and organizing research to ensure that a reasonably exhaustive search has been conducted.

Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, is a professional researcher, educator, author, and lecturer. She has developed, coordinated, and taught courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research since 2007. She co-coordinates and teaches in the Researching in Washington, DC, without Leaving Home and the advanced land course at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the advanced land course at Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. She has taught in Boston University’s Professional Certificate Program in Genealogy. Pam is former NGS director of education and publications, former board member of NGS and FGS, co-author of Online Roots: How to Discover Your Family’s History and Heritage with the Power of the Internet (2003) and Research in Missouri (1999, 2007), former FGS FORUM Digitools columnist, and a former editor of APGQ. She is a popular seminar presenter who has spoken at genealogy conferences and seminars nationwide and on international cruises.

Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, “Enough is Enough. Or Is It?” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Ann Staley, CG, CGL, “Black Sheep Ancestors and Their Records” (6 October 2016)

Let’s just admit it – we all have them! So, let’s use the records they created to our benefit – and what wonderful records they left. We will discuss defining your story, developing a research plan to prove it, and identifying resources. We will travel through the world of court records, records of the insane, prison records, and more.

Ann Staley is an instructor, consultant, trip leader and a lecturer at local, state and national conferences. Raised in Mobile, AL, Ann has been researching her family since 1980 from Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia to France, England, and Germany. She is the Education Chairman and Webmaster for the Jacksonville Genealogical Society, Inc.; the Secretary of the Genealogical Speakers Guild; a trustee of the Florida State Genealogical Society; on the faculty of The National Institute for Genealogical Studies; and has been an associate of the Board for Certification of Genealogists since 2000.

Ann Staley, CG, CGL, “Black Sheep Ancestors and Their Records” from BCG on Vimeo.

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Angela Packer McGhie, CG, “Education Preparation for Certification” (18 October 2016)

Developing the skills necessary to produce work that meets the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) takes time and effort. This presentation will highlight some of the educational options that are helpful in learning about each element of the GPS including thorough research, citations, evidence analysis, written conclusions; as well as each element of the application portfolio. The goal is to both understand and be able to meet genealogy standards. There are many educational paths to choose from, and both formal and independent study options will be discussed.

Angela Packer McGhie is the coordinator for the Intermediate Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the coordinator of the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She served as the administrator of the ProGen Study Program from 2008-2014 and is now on the board of directors. Angela is an instructor at the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and the Virtual Institute on Genealogical Research. Angela has served on the education committee of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and is the past president of the National Capital Area Chapter of APG. She is a contributing author for the APG Quarterly and was honored with a formal certificate of appreciation from the Association of Professional Genealogists for her leadership and service.

Angela Packer McGhie, CG, "Education Preparation for Certification" from BCG on Vimeo.

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Melanie D. Holtz, CG, “Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History” (15 November 2016)

Notarial records are a valuable resource in those areas of the world where civil law notaries recorded all legal transactions. Property deeds [land, personal, or agricultural], mortgages, wills, dowries, late birth registrations, marriage permissions, and many other types of documents can be found within this record set. These records often provide key details about a family, their relationships, and financial transactions which cannot be found within any other type of genealogical resource.

Understanding the procedures behind the preparation of these documents is key to understanding their method of conservation, the formats the documents will be found in, and the contents therein. This lecture will provide examples of several Italian and French documents that were particularly descriptive and which provided key details on the families being researched.

Melanie D. Holtz, CGsm is a board-certified genealogist, lecturer, and writer with a specialty in Italian genealogy and Italian-American dual citizenship. With offices in both the U.S. and Italy, she’s able to provide her clients with a wide range of services, including Italian ancestral tours. Melanie is also a co-administrator of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research and the author of several courses on Italian genealogy available through Family Tree University and the National Institute of Genealogical Research.

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, "Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History" from BCG on Vimeo.

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Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, “No, No, Nanette! What Negative Evidence is…and isn’t” (20 December 2016)

Negative evidence is the hardest type of evidence to understand or use in genealogical research. By definition, a “type of evidence arising from an absence of a situation or information in extant records where that information might be expected,” it is, as the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes told us in the short story “Silver Blaze,” the “curious incident . . . in the night-time”—the thing we would expect to see or hear but that just isn’t there. Learn more about what negative evidence is—and what it isn’t—and how to use it.

A genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and holds Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer credentials from the Board for Certification of Genealogists where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, until recently Judy was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. Judy is a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side. Visit her website at www.legalgenealogist.com.

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, "No, No, Nanette! What Negative Evidence is…and isn't" from BCG on Vimeo.

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Michael J. Leclerc, CG, “Writing Up Your Research” (17 January 2017)

Writing up our research is the best way to preserve it. We will examine different ways of writing and publishing, from blogs to books.

Michael J. Leclerc, CG is an internationally renowned genealogist. He has authored numerous articles for genealogy magazines and scholarly journals, and is a popular presenter at conferences and seminars around the world. Michael worked in a variety of capacities at the New England Historic Genealogical Society for 17 years prior to joining Mocavo as Chief Genealogist in 2012. He left there in 2015 to start Genealogy Professor (www.genprof.net), where he helps to provide genealogy education opportunities to family historians. He has edited several books, including Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century: A Guide to Register Style and More, Second Edition, with Henry Hoff, and the fifth edition of the seminal guidebook Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research. He was a contributing editor for American Ancestors magazine, and a consulting editor for The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Michael has served on the boards of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You can reach him at www.mjleclerc.com and Facebook.com/michaeljleclerc.

Michael J. Leclerc, CG, "Writing Up Your Research" from BCG on Vimeo.

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Karen Stanbary, CG, “Weaving DNA Test Results into a Proof Argument” (21 February 2017)

This lecture illustrates how to integrate each element of the Genealogical Proof Standard in a proof argument that relies heavily on autosomal DNA test results to answer a relationship research question. The examples are drawn from “Rafael Arriaga, A Mexican Father in Michigan: Autosomal DNA Helps Identify Paternity.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly (June 2016).

Karen Stanbary, CG, holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. She specializes in Midwestern, Chicago, and Mexican research as well as complex problem-solving and DNA analysis. A regular instructor in Chicago’s Newberry Library Adult Education program, Karen lectures on topics including Genetic Genealogy, Advanced Genetic Genealogy and the Genealogical Proof Standard. She is a faculty member at GRIP, IGHR, and SLIG. She published a complex evidence case study incorporating traditional documentary research and autosomal DNA analysis in the June 2016 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. She holds the credential Certified Genealogist® from the Board for Certification of Genealogists® where she serves on the Genetic Genealogy Standards committee.

Karen Stanbary, CG, "Weaving DNA Test Results into a Proof Argument" from BCG on Vimeo.

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Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, “Are You My Grandpa?” (21 March 2017)

This lecture reviews tactics for sorting our ancestors from other men or women of the same name in the same general time period and location. Several case studies show how these methods were effective.

Rebecca Whitman Koford holds a Certified Genealogist® credential. Her focus is in American research with special emphasis in Maryland and has been taking clients and lecturing since 2004. She has spoken for the National Genealogical Society Conference, Maryland State Archives, and for groups in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Delaware. She is a board member of the Maryland Genealogical Society and volunteers at the Family History Center in Frederick, Maryland. She has published articles in the NGS Magazine and the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal. She is a graduate of the ProGen Study Group, an online peer-led study program based on the book Professional Genealogy by Elizabeth Shown Mills; she was appointed ProGen Administrator in January 2015. Rebecca is currently very enthusiastic about the Society of Preservation Patriots project sponsored by FGS, an effort to digitize original military records from the National Archives. Rebecca lives in Mt. Airy, Maryland, with three active teenagers and a very patient husband.

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, "Are You My Grandpa?" from BCG on Vimeo.

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Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA “The Genealogy in Government Documents” (18 April 2017)

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.

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, 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 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.

Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, "The Genealogy in Government Documents" from BCG on Vimeo.

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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.

21 thoughts on “BCG Webinars

  1. Pingback: GRIP Instructors Have Webinars Now Available | Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

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  4. Hello!

    I don’t see the video for: Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG, “Certified or Certifiable? Why a Genealogist Would Go Through All that Trouble” (21 March 2015).

    How can I access that one?
    Thanks so much,
    Michelle

    • Our volunteers are currently preparing for the NGS Conference in St. Charles, Missouri. They expect to put up the webinar toward the end of May. We’ll keep you posted.

    • Portions of the presentation will be made available, free, in the “Why Seek Certification” section of the BCG website in about a month.

  5. I have been passionate in genealogy for over 40 years even before the computer!
    It has been my honor to help dozens of people find their roots. I always did this with great enthusiasm and never charged. It brought such happiness to give people their ancestors info.
    Please advise me on certification. I scorei 23 on your test and estimate I have spent ovet 3200 hours doing genealogy.
    Thank you so much for your assistance.
    Linda Scott

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  8. Pingback: GRIP 2016 Registration Dates Set | Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

  9. Pingback: Free and on-demand BCG webinars now available | Genealogy à la carte

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  11. Any chance of Harold Henderson’s webinar “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?” being put up to view soon?

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  13. Pingback: The Wonderful World of Webinars – Family Locket

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