Welcome, Amanda Gonzalez, CG

Amanda Gonzalez’s family is firmly rooted in the Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) area. All her ancestors but one were from colonial Pennsylvania and the Delmarva Peninsula. She first became interested in genealogy when her great-grandmother explained about membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Amanda followed in her footsteps, joining at age eighteen. A lifelong love of history translated into a degree in history from the University of Delaware. Then followed work for the New Castle [Delaware] Court House Museum and the Hagley Museum, where she offered tours and researched for exhibits. Employment at the New Castle County Library system and the Palomar College Library in San Marcos, California, increased her awareness of the multitude of research resources available and how to access them. Amanda also worked briefly for Genealogists.com.

Amanda Gonzalez, CG

Through bookstore/publisher Colonial Roots’s Facebook page, Amanda met former publisher F. Edward Wright, who engaged her to transcribe court orders. This resulted in two publications, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Court Orders 1726–1729 and Westmoreland County, Virginia, Court Orders 1729–1731.[1] She expects to continue the series with one or two more publications.

Amanda’s personal genealogical research takes her on two different paths. Her own colonial family challenges her with a puzzle of mis-attributed paternity. A Y-DNA tester from her maiden name line, Warren, most closely matches West-surnamed testers. She hopes to narrow down, through documentary research and more DNA testing, when and where the West-Warren link occurred.

On the other hand, the Gonzalez surname strongly suggests Hispanic roots, and in fact Amanda’s husband’s family is Mexican American. Preparing to trace their ancestry means Amanda will be learning more Spanish and studying colonial Spanish handwriting.

Amanda based her portfolio preparation on a thorough knowledge of three books, Genealogy Standards, Evidence Explained, and Professional Genealogy.[2] She read, re-read, and did more re-reading of the standards and the portfolio requirements. Seminars, conferences, and Facebook pages sponsored by local genealogical societies filled in blanks. She took her time, paid attention to every detail, and became more critical in her research process.

Amanda’s father accompanied her on research trips to archives and cemeteries. Before his passing he gifted her the fee for BCG certification, keen to support her interest and career path. With certification under her belt Amanda now feels ready to take clients and looks forward to a thriving genealogical service business. She can be reached at adgulf@cs.com. Welcome, Amanda!


[1] Amanda Gonzalez, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Court Orders 1726–1729 (Millsboro, Del.: Colonial Roots, 2013). Amanda Gonzalez, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Court Orders 1729–1731 (Millsboro, Del.: Colonial Roots, 2013).

[2] Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014). Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 2nd edition (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009). Elizabeth Shown Mills, ed., Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001).

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.

Patti Hobbs, CG, New BCG Education Fund Trustee

One of our new BCG associates has recently joined the Board of Trustees of the BCG Education Fund. This non-profit charitable trust furthers BCG’s standards-based education goals. It funds lectures and workshops and provides incentives for study and scholarly research.

Patti Hobbs, CG

The trustees of the BCG Education Fund announce that Patricia “Patti” Lee Hobbs, CG, of Clever, Missouri, joins the board as a trustee. Patti is an accomplished genealogist specializing in DNA analysis and working with original records. She is particularly interested in genealogical education, as evidenced by her longtime position as Local History and Genealogy reference associate at the Springfield-Greene County Library District, where she has taught classes on genetic genealogy and traditional research methodology. This summer she will teach in the genetic genealogy course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.

Patti’s teaching and library experience, her skill as a webmaster for the ProGen Study Group, and her leadership roles with the Ozarks Genealogical Society all will benefit the BCG Education Fund going forward. We are fortunate to welcome a colleague of her caliber, and we look forward to working with her.

by Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL
on behalf of the BCG Education Fund Trustees

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’s Newest Certified Genealogical Lecturer

David Ouimette is a busy man. As head of FamilySearch’s Content Strategy Team, he travels the globe analyzing and evaluating records of genealogical interest and determining where they fall in terms of acquisition priority. As father of eight children ranging in age from eighteen to twenty-eight, he balances his professional and personal lives to make time for playing Irish music on the harp, hammered dulcimer, and tin whistle; going bowling and golfing with his sons; and doing family history with his wife, Deanna. David is an author, lecturer, coordinator of the “Finding Immigrant Origins” track at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and a family historian who values standards. He regularly sets aside time to learn and to practice his skills in genealogical research, analysis, and writing.

First certified in February 2010, earlier this year David submitted his renewal portfolio—and, at the same time, he applied for the designation of Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL). On 1 June 2015 he received word that judges approved both applications.

Congratulations to David Ouimette, CG, CGL, on his accomplishments!


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.

 

Two Changes to BCG Applications Effective 2016

The Board for Certification of Genealogists has authorized two significant changes in the certification process for new applicants. These changes will go into effect in 2016, when the new Application Guide is published. Briefly, for the first time (1) new applicants will be evaluated on their genealogically-related educational activities, and (2) new applications will be limited to 150 pages.

Evaluation of educational activities pertaining to genealogy

Genealogy standards 82 and 83 state that genealogists regularly engage in formal and informal development activities for four reasons: to better meet the standards, to learn more about useful materials, to enhance skills in reconstructing relationships and events, and to better present their findings to others.[1] Years of data also show that applicants with more genealogy education are more likely to produce successful portfolios for certification.

Accordingly, as is currently the case, applicants will be required to briefly describe the genealogy-related activities that help prepare them for certification. However, as is not currently the case, this section will now be evaluated. Genealogical-education activities will meet the evaluation criteria if they show that the applicant “has engaged in a variety of development activities aimed at improving genealogical standards attainment.”

This change adds one rubric to the evaluations of portfolios. The new rubric emphasizes the need for ongoing genealogy education. Failure to meet one specific rubric does not disqualify an application. Other questions currently asked in the resume will be eliminated.

Maximum portfolio length, 150 pages

The second change will reduce the size limit for new portfolios to a maximum of 150 pages total. The current limits were established when BCG had more requirements for certification than now. The new size limit provides ample room for applicants to demonstrate their abilities.

“These changes are part of BCG’s ongoing analyzing, evaluating, and refining the certification process,” said BCG president Jeanne Larzalere Bloom. “We hope that these two changes will streamline the process, make it more manageable for applicants, and encourage applicants to engage in a variety of genealogical-development activities before assembling a portfolio.”

For questions or more information, please visit http://www.bcgcertification.org  or contact Nicki Birch, CG, at office@BCGcertification.org.

[1] Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014), 43–44.

by Harold Henderson, 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.

Free BCG Webinar: Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, on Unraveling a Family Yarn

On Tuesday, 16 June 2015, Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, will present “Truth or Fiction? Unraveling a Family Yarn” at 8:00 pm EDT.

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

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.

Attendance is limited for this free webinar. Once registered, please sign in early to avoid disappointment.

Register for Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, “Truth or Fiction: Unraveling a Family Yarn,” on 16 June 2015, 8:00 pm EDT (7:00 CDT, 6:00 MDT, 5:00 PDT) at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5110745917347890177.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact office@BCGcertification.org.

“We are pleased to offer this informative webinar,” said BCG president Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Educating all family historians is part of this mission.” Please visit the SpringBoard webinar page to learn about BCG’s previous webinars.

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

Free BCG Webinar: Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, on “The Family Tapestry”

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) is pleased to present a free webinar on Tuesday, 19 May 2015, at 8 pm EDT. President Jeanne Bloom, CG, will speak on “The Family Tapestry: Integrating Proof Arguments into the Genealogical Narrative.”

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.

Seating is limited for this webinar. Please register early and sign in early to avoid disappointment.

The board is an independent certifying body and author of the updated 2014 Genealogy Standards.

BCG President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

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.

“We are pleased to offer this informative webinar,” said BCG treasurer Michael Ramage, J.D., CG. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Educating all family historians is part of this mission.”

There is no charge, but space is limited. Please register for Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, “The Family Tapestry: Integrating Proof Arguments into the Genealogical Narrative,” on 19 May 2015, 8:00 pm EDT (7 CDT, 6 MDT, 5 PDT) at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4634996031472159746.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information send an email to office@BCGcertification.org.

Please visit http://bcgcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars to learn about BCG’s previous webinars.

CG and Certified Genealogist are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluations. The board name is registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.

 

Skillbuilding: Miller on the Anatomy of a Military Pension

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2015 NGS Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this skillbuilding lecture, presented Wednesday, 13 May 2015:

W141: Julie Miller, CG, “Anatomy of a Military Pension,” reviewed by Darcie Hind Posz, CG

Julie Miller is organized and methodical. Her lecture on evaluating a military pension file takes the listener step by step through the process of acquiring the file, then arranging, processing, organizing, and analyzing its contents. She tells us how to acquire a copy of the file and helps us to understand what information is in the pension file.

Miller provides tips, such as how arranging the documents chronologically and separating the pensioner’s file from the widow’s file can organize the data. She reminds us to place a citation *somewhere* on the document, to number each document (in brackets) at the beginning of the citation, and to cite each document (in addition to the general citation).

Miller guides us to create an inventory, an itemized list of documents. She provides a great inventory template in the NGS Conference Syllabus. (The template would also be pretty amazing for large probate packets and court records, and I plan to use it for that purpose in the future.) This wonderful spreadsheet in expanded format is available for free at her website.

The next steps of the review process are to

  • read each document several times, including the boilerplate, until the purpose of each is understood,
  • transcribe each record (because transcribing is the “foundation of thorough analysis” and will help us catch nuances),
  • create an abstract.

As we analyze and evaluate, we consider each document’s purpose, the source type, and the reliability of the information it provides. If we are working on a specific research question, we consider what evidence the information offers. Additional resources we might review include pension acts and laws.

The subject examples are well illustrated and described for both in-person attendees and audio recordings. This lecture is available from Jamb Tapes, Inc. It enhances learning about transcribing and abstracting records.

 

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’s Facebook Group—1000 and Counting

The Board for Certification of Genealogists Facebook Group recently added its 1000th member! Friends include more than 1000 individuals who are board-certified genealogists or who are pursuing or interested in the process of certification. We think it’s wonderful that so many genealogists would strive to have their work—whether for pay, pro bono, or for themselves—meet the standards of our field.

The Facebook group was recently reorganized to be a more active site. Its purpose is to be a platform where BCG associates and those who are interested in or considering the process of certification can interact, ask questions, and share news pertinent to the organization and the field. BCG’s blog, SpringBoard, has a place for comments, but BCG wanted to provide an additional forum with even more give-and-take. While those “on-the-clock” have the ACTION email list, there was no place for interaction between BCG associates and interested individuals who have not yet submitted their preliminary applications. The Facebook group is now that place.

Because it is an informal forum, comments by associates and non-associates on BCG’s Facebook page do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. If you are not yet a member of BCG’s Facebook group, you can ask to be added here.

by Dawne L. Slater, CG, BCG Facebook Group Administrator


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.

Coming from OnBoard in May 2015

OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists is scheduled to publish in May 2015. We’re privileged to offer a preview of the content.

“Embrace the Negative: Recognizing and Applying Negative Evidence”

Stefani Evans, CG, shows us how negative evidence applies to a genealogical problem, how it can suggest a hypothesis and help direct research. Standard 40, evidence mining, says that genealogists “give equal attention to direct, indirect, and negative evidence.”[1] If negative evidence as useful seems counterintuitive, Stefani’s article will be enlightening.

“Anatomy of a Failure: What I Learned from My First Portfolio”

Fear of failure is a huge stumbling block for many applicants. Harold Henderson, CG, experienced the “insufficient for certification” evaluation on his first portfolio submission. In time he prepared a new, successful submission. Learn from Harold’s experience as he offers seven suggestions for new applicants.

OnBoard publishes three issues per year. A subscription is included in annual associate fees and for applicants “on the clock.” Subscriptions are also available to the general public for $15.00 a year (currently) through the BCG website, here. Issues back to 1995 can also be ordered online, here.

 [1] Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014), 24.


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.