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

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

F. Warren Bittner, CG

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

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

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

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

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

Look for announcements of future monthly webinars on this blog.


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

 

New OnBoard Editor: Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

 

National Institute on Genealogical Research Announces New Director

Malissa Ruffner, JD, MLS, CG

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

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

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

 


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

Patricia O’Brien Shawker, CG (1956-2015)

Patricia E. Shawker, CG, FMGS
(Photo printed with permission)

The genealogical community is mourning the loss of Patricia O’Brien Shawker, CG, FMGS, who died on January 16, 2015, after a battle with cancer. She is being remembered for her expertise, generosity, ready smile, and remarkably broad career. Her specialties were Maryland research, federal records, lineage applications, and methodology. She was widely known as the director of the National Institute of Genealogical Research for the past seven years, guiding hundreds of attendees during their first research endeavors at the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, D.C.

Patty was actively involved at every societal level. Her undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Maryland made her a valued organizational volunteer. Certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) since 1999, she was a trustee of the BCG Education Fund and its treasurer. She was the treasurer of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) from 2003 until 2006. She served on the board of the Maryland Genealogical Society for several years, including one term as treasurer. She became the registrar of the Prince George’s County Genealogical Society in 1998, a position she still held at her death. She had been a volunteer staff aid at NARA since 2005 and served as a mentor for the ProGen 6 study group.

Patty lectured nationally, including at NGS conferences, and continued to present locally. She wrote Research in Maryland of the NGS Research in the States series, authored several guides published in the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, and was a longtime contributing editor to The PGCGS Bulletin.  She received the Jane Roush McCafferty, CG, Award of Excellence from the Prince George’s County Genealogical Society in 2009. In May of 2014, she was named a Fellow of the Maryland Genealogical Society for her outstanding scholarship, contributions to MGS, and the genealogical community.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Thomas Shawker (with whom she shared a passion for genealogy), her mother, four siblings, and six nieces and nephews. Expressions of sympathy can be sent to 7014 Megan Lane, Greenbelt, MD 20770-3014.

by Malissa Ruffner, JD, MLS, CG


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

BCG Certification Discussions for APG Members

Members of the Association of Professional Genealogists have two opportunities in the coming year to discuss BCG certification with BCG past president Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, one in March and one in September. Elissa describes them as follows, ”With only 25 APG members allowed to be in attendance on a first-come, first-logged-in basis, we will have an intimate chat about certification, how to prepare, and what it takes to be successful.” It is a great opportunity to learn about certification and ask questions of someone who has been Board-certified for 20 years.

Upcoming APG Discussion Groups

We are pleased to announce four [two relating to BCG] upcoming APG Discussion Groups! These meetings are open to all APG Members with no pre-registration and are a unique way to learn from and network with your colleagues. The access instructions for each Discussion Group can be found in the “members only” section of the website and include biographies for each leader.

18 March 2015, 9:00 p.m.: “Certification: Process, Requirements, and Readiness” by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

16 September 2015, 9:00 p.m.: “Certification: Process, Requirements, and Readiness” by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

The meeting room will open fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled starting time and holds a maximum of twenty-five attendees. Access will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The discussion groups are meant to be discussions on a particular topic, not lectures or webinars. It is through the give and take of these discussions that the best learning experiences will occur. Please come prepared with your questions.

If you have any questions, please contact Melanie D. Holtz, CG, at Melanie@holtzresearch.com.

We hope you enjoy the meetings!

APG Professional Development Committee


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

BCG Education Fund Workshop at NGS St. Charles 12 May 2015

The BCG Education Fund is sponsoring a great educational opportunity at the annual NGS conference. Aimed at intermediate to advanced genealogists, this one-day workshop features two skilled and respected instructors, Barbara Mathews, CG, FASG, and Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. They will speak about evidence and research reports, respectively. The workshops fill quickly, so if this one looks appealing, sign up right away: http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/bcg-education-fund-workshop/.

 

Putting Skills To Work

Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM
St. Charles, Missouri

Putting Skills To Work is a unique full-day, hands-on workshop limited to sixty participants. The focus is on skills needed by anyone practicing serious genealogical research, whether as a family historian, librarian, dedicated hobbyist, or writer. Materials are geared to intermediate and advanced practitioners and advocate established genealogical standards.

The $110 registration fee includes lunch, two in-depth presentations, hands-on exercises, syllabus, handouts, and active class participation. NGS conference registration is not required.

Barbara J. Mathews, CG, FASG, will lead the session “Evidence Analysis, Correlation, and Resolution: The Heart of the Genealogical Proof Standard.” Focusing on only direct evidence creates unnecessary research dead ends. This session addresses weighing BMathewsand correlating sources, evidence, and information in their many diverse forms for successful resolution of investigations.

Barbara Mathews is a lineage genealogist specializing in colonial Connecticut and Massachusetts. She represents BCG on the Records Access and Preservation Committee, and is Civil Records Co-Director for the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC). Her white paper co-written for MGC, “Framing a Discussion on Vital Records Access,” provides an historic look at government policies involving ID theft, financial fraud, and vital records. She is currently working on a book about the descendants of the fourth colonial governor of Connecticut for the Welles Family Association. Barbara mentored ProGen Study Group 7, GenProof Study Group 6, and currently mentors ProGen Study Group 21. She is a substitute instructor for the Boston University genealogical certificate program, a contributor to the BCG blog, SpringBoard, and a former trustee of BCG and the BCG  Education Fund.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, will lead the session “Tested Strategies for Efficient Research Reports.” Many researchers EPowellassume committing research findings to paper is separate from the research process. Elissa will share her methodology for using available time efficiently during the research process, resulting in a sharable work product.

Elissa Powell, a western Pennsylvania researcher, is immediate past president of BCG. She is co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and instructs for Boston University’s genealogical certificate program and at the Salt Like Institute of Genealogy. She is coordinator of the Professional Genealogy course for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. Elissa is a frequent lecturer at national conferences as well as at venues across the United States. In 2010 she was the recipient of the National Genealogical Society’s President’s Citation for her broad support of the genealogical community.

 by Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, BCG Education Fund


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

BCG Education Fund Offers Genetic Genealogy Workshop at NGS Conference

If you’re an intermediate genetic genealogist (not a beginner) and you’re going to the NGS conference in May, treat yourself to this fabulous opportunity. The workshop is limited to thirty participants, so register soon!

National Genealogical Society Conference 
St. Charles, Missouri
Friday, 15 May 2015

DWayneDebbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, will present “Genetic Genealogy: Effective Analysis and Correlation of DNA Test Results.” This full day intermediate-level workshop is for those who understand DNA basics and want to effectively correlate DNA test results with documentary research to answer a genealogical question.

The $40 registration fee includes hands-on exercises, syllabus, and handouts; lunch is not included. Please note that syllabus material will be provided electronically prior to the workshop. Attendees should print the material and bring it with them to the workshop. Internet access will not be available in the classroom.

Many genealogists today have attended lectures on genetic genealogy, but putting those principles to practical use is seldom demonstrated in one-hour lectures due to time constraints. As with analysis and correlation of any type of genealogical evidence, in-depth understanding comes with experience and practice. This workshop provides that “next step” beyond what is provided in introductory lectures.

The workshop will address analysis techniques and tools for Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, autosomal DNA, and X-DNA. Attendees should already understand the basic theoretical underpinnings in order to successfully complete hands-on exercises. There will be active class participation with examples from real DNA projects and one-on-one assistance with the exercises. While there will not be time for consultations on your personal DNA test results, you will be able to apply the techniques learned to your own results.

Debbie Parker Wayne is a Board-certified genealogist and genealogical lecturer experienced in DNA analysis as well as traditional techniques. Her traditional research focuses on Texas, the Southwest, and the southern United States. She coordinates and teaches week-long, comprehensive, interactive genetic genealogy courses at several genealogical institutes. She has performed research for genealogical television shows, such as the Canadian series Ancestors in the Attic, PBS’s Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., and The Learning Channel’s Who Do You Think You Are? Debbie is a trustee of the BCG Education Fund and the DNA project director for the Texas State Genealogical Society.

 by Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG

 

To register for this and other workshops, as well as for the conference, visit the NGS conference website.


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

Continuing the SpringBoard Tradition with New Editors

Laura Murphy DeGrazia and Judy Kellar Fox

Two years ago BCG launched SpringBoard, to create a sense of community and connect with online genealogists. Under the leadership of then-president Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, the blog introduced new associates, focused on noteworthy contributors to the field, summarized BCG Skillbuilding presentations at the NGS conference, and provided status updates on records preservation and access. Contributors included Elissa, Barbara Mathews, CG, FASG, and Judy Russell, CG, CGL.

Editorship of SpringBoard now passes to Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS, and Judy Kellar Fox, CG. Laura comes to the BCG blog with broad experience as past president of BCG and former co-editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Judy’s background includes teaching and writing.

The three SpringBoard founders will continue to be involved as contributing authors. All Board-certified associates are welcome and encouraged to submit posts as well. SpringBoard will continue to report news related to BCG, educate about our certification process and standards, and address issues that impact BCG and its role in the genealogical community at large.

Judy Kellar Fox, CG
Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS


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

Introducing BCG’s New President, Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG                         President, Board for Certification of Genealogists


In the mid-1990s my father asked, “Why did your great-great-grandfather enlist in an Ohio Civil War regiment when his family was from eastern Pennsylvania, and how did he end up in Kansas?” The attempt to answer those questions rekindled my adult passion for genealogy and family history.

The foundation for my passion and eventual professional calling was laid very early. Before naptime when I was a child my favorite stories were those my grandmother told about growing up on a farm in north-central Kansas—how the gypsies came when my grandmother and her sister were left alone on the farm while their parents went to market day in town, and how the girls hid in the cellar until the gypsies left; my grandmother’s delight at Christmas to receive an orange and a small bag of chocolates; that she played house using catalpa leaves as plates and acorn husks as cups; how, because of her family’s religious beliefs, she could not play games on Sunday, but was allowed to play the card game Authors because it was considered educational.

Until the age of nine I lived in Hays, Kansas. It was a town where, at least for me, many stories made history alive and tangible. Wild Bill Hickok had been the sheriff of Hays City. My doctor’s office was the site of one of Hickok’s shoot outs. The Big Creek flood washed out the camp of General Custer and the 7th Calvary. I accompanied my father on many a trip to search for artifacts in the freshly plowed fields that were once the site of Fort Hays. Entrepreneur Buffalo Bill Cody provided buffalo meat to that Fort. He also attempted to found the town of Rome where he thought the Union Pacific line would be located. Every time we took old Highway 40 we passed the foundations of the buildings for that failed town.

Growing up with an unusual last name—Larzalere—led to my one-name study of that surname and its variations. The descendants of this Huguenot family spread throughout the United States. One of the highlights of the research was the reunion with the White River Apache branch of the family. As a family member (distant cousin) I had the honor of attending a memorable and moving three-day Sunrise Ceremony, a coming of age ceremony for female Apaches.

My love of stories, especially those of the forgotten history of our ancestors, has not diminished over the years. Have I answered my father’s original questions? No. My working hypothesis is that my great-great-grandfather’s occupation as a mason (a skilled worker who builds with stone) involved him in the construction associated with the westward movement of the railroads. My search for proof continues.

My journey with BCG began in the “dark ages,” in the late 1990s before the extensive use of the internet. I was self-taught and working alone. There was little opportunity for feedback about the quality of my work. I thought I was a good genealogist, but the only way to be sure was to have my work peer-reviewed.

Compiling my portfolio was a tremendous commitment of time and involved much angst. During the process I realized I had overestimated how “good” I was and there was much that I needed to learn. Assembling the portfolio focused my genealogy education. The first three judges arrived at a split decision. The arbitrator’s opinion was that my deficiencies were remediable. In September 1999 I earned BCG’s Certified Genealogist credential, certificate number 419.

Fifteen years and three renewals later (the most recent still in the evaluation-process pipeline), I have the honor to be the newly elected president of BCG. I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of the “great ones,” those who previously served BCG as president.

On the horizon I see a number of issues and concerns that the genealogical community will face and that BCG should actively address

  •  promoting ethical behavior,
  •  participating in the Records Preservation and Access Committee,
  •  introducing the standards to the international genealogical community,
  •  combatting the acceptance of a definition of “genealogy” that is limited to unsourced and sourced online family trees.

To help carry out the mission and the work of BCG during the upcoming year I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with an outstanding and dynamic Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, and group of associates. With their knowledge, energy, and dedication, I know that the next year will be a great one for BCG.

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

Welcome Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

An Iowa native and the sixth generation of her family to call Iowa home, Alice Hoyt Veen has become the second Iowan Board-certified genealogist of the 21st century.

A graduate of Iowa State University, Alice has been a dedicated genealogist for more than thirty years. She is a volunteer researcher for the Mahaska County Commission for the Preservation of Pioneer Cemeteries and has researched, cataloged and archived historical artifacts for Forest Park Museum in Dallas County. A past board member of the Iowa Genealogical Society, Alice has served as the society’s eNews and bimonthly newsletter editor and continues to contribute articles for publication.

In 2009 Alice began providing professional genealogical and historical research services through her business, Prairie Roots Research, specializing in Iowa and Midwestern research, with special emphasis on military research and Midwestern connections to American colonial roots.

Her answer when people ask her what she does: “I tell them I ‘reconstruct forgotten lives.’ Nothing is more satisfying than the knowledge that a life, long lost to time, can be rediscovered and understood. Every life has purpose and significance. My goal is to honor those disappeared lives by recreating, preserving and sharing their memories.”

Her advice to those seeking certification is to broaden their education by attending genealogical institutes and to expand their experience by completing projects for others that provide challenges beyond the researcher’s usual comfort zone. She adds that if she could do one thing differently herself, she would take her own advice and “more deeply explore colonial and early American records and spend more time accessing resources in eastern states.”

Alice notes that her inspiration as a genealogist comes from her father, Keith D. Hoyt: “He provided not only the link to a rich family heritage, but his personal character demonstrated those qualities I most admire and desire to emulate: humility, a strong work ethic, dedication to family, and perseverance in the face of adversity. His unquenchable thirst for knowledge extended to every possible subject and he challenged me to always strive for a higher purpose. It is a legacy I cherish and have tried to pass on to my own children.”

She can be reached through her website Prairie Roots Research (http://www.prairierootsresearch.com) or via email (alice@prairierootsresearch.com).


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