BCG Education Fund 2017 Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture

The BCG Education Fund announces Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL, as the featured speaker for the 2017 Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series.

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, will speak at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, and at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2017 National Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her topic at the National Genealogical Society Conference is “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Professional and Personal Genealogical Standard.” The lecture considers how we, as professional and personal genealogists, can enrich our family histories, our client bases, and our collaborations with fellow researchers by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard. Her topic at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference builds from the NGS lecture. “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Society and Corporate Genealogical Standard” explores how genealogical societies and companies can better grow their memberships, serve their constituencies, and increase their revenues by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard.

Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL

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. She is 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 the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® and 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, 2014 and 2015 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website (http://www.legalgenealogist.com).

The Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series, initiated in 2007, honors Helen F.M. Leary of North Carolina, Certified Genealogist Emeritus and a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, known for her richly informative and entertaining lectures on methodology, law, writing, and the art of lecturing.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund, founded in 2000 as an independent non-profit charitable trust, advances the educational aims of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® by funding learning programs consistent with standards promulgated by the Board and by providing incentives for study and scholarly research in accordance with the Board’s standards. For more information, see BCG Education Fund (http://bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html).

BCG Education Fund Trustees:

J.H. Fonkert, CG
Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG
Patricia Hackett Nicola, CG
Angela Packer McGhie, CG
Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

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

BCG Education Fund Putting Skills to Work 2017 Workshop

The BCG Education Fund announces speakers and topics for the 2017 Putting Skills to Work workshop, scheduled for Tuesday, 9 May 2017, prior to the NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The workshops are designed to help all researchers perform more efficient and effective research, solve difficult problems, and present well-reasoned conclusions. Morning and afternoon sessions provide a full day of instruction that includes practical, hands-on exercises. The 2017 workshops will be presented by Nancy A. Peters, CG, and Sara Scribner, CG.

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Correlating Evidence to Solve Genealogical Problems.” Are you facing what seems like a brick wall in your research? Solutions to complex kinship and identity problems require skill in working with direct, indirect, and negative evidence. This session provides practical methods and hands-on experience in correlating evidence to recognize patterns, connections, and inconsistencies that will help you make your case. Prerequisite: working knowledge of core record types—census, probate, land, and vital records—which are used in classroom exercises.

 

Sara Scribner, CG

Sara Scribner, CG

Sara A. Scribner, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Constructing and Writing Proof Discussions.” You solved your brick wall problem. But can you prove your case in writing to the toughest critic? This session deconstructs creating a convincing proof. Session participants learn to resolve conflicting evidence and construct proof discussions ranging from the self-evident to the complex. The session covers logic used in genealogical proof, and useful structures for writing a proof. Hands-on practice includes dissecting proofs written by published authors, and creating a practice proof for a personal genealogical problem. Prerequisites: Come prepared to practice writing up a personal genealogical problem. Also, thoughtfully read a few articles from The American Genealogist, The Genealogist, The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register, or The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund, founded in 2000 as an independent non-profit charitable trust, advances the educational aims of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® by funding learning programs consistent with standards promulgated by the Board and by providing incentives for study and scholarly research in accordance with the Board’s standards. For more information, see BCG Education Fund (http://bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html).

The registration fee of $110 includes lunch, hands‐on exercises, syllabus, handouts and active class participation. NGS Conference registration is not required. Workshop registration is provided through the NGS Conference registration site at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/.

BCG Education Fund Trustees:

J.H. Fonkert, CG
Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG
Patricia Hackett Nicola, CG
Angela Packer McGhie, CG
Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

Contest Deadline Friday, and Odds of Winning Are Good!

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

A DNA test courtesy of AncestryDNA

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

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

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

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

Rules:

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

Resources:

SpringBoard: News and Notes

Board for Certification of Genealogists

P.O. Box 14291

Washington, DC 20044

For the Genealogically Adventuresome: Number Modern Family

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

Win

a DNA test courtesy of AncestryDNA

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

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

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

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

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

Rules:

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

Resources:

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

 SpringBoard: News and Notes

Board for Certification of Genealogists

P.O. Box 14291

Washington, DC 20044

Congratulations, Karen Stanbary, CG!

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

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

Karen Stanbary, CG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karen can be reached at karenstanbary@gmail.com.



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

 

 

SpringBoard Brings you Skillbuilding from NGS 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NGS 2016 Live Streaming Signup Deadline April 22

Can’t make it to Ft. Lauderdale for the 2016 NGS Conference? You can still take advantage of ten lectures streamed to you live. They will also be accessible for three months after the conference closes. Several lectures from the BCG Skillbuilding track are included in “Day Two: Methods for Success.”

The signup deadline is approaching, so be quick if you want access to these lectures.

The live streaming signup deadline is midnight, Friday, 22 April 2016. Register here.

Live-streamed BCG Skillbuilding lectures, Friday, 6 May, 2016

Jeanne L. Bloom, CG, “Sharing With Others: How to Convey Evidence”

Techniques to construct and arrange genealogical reasoning so that our research is useful to future generations and facilitates effective collaboration with other genealogists.

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

A case study set in the early 1800s demonstrates methodology for using autosomal DNA test results to help solve longstanding genealogical problems.

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

When one Matteson family branch shunned its prominent renegade, it created a doughnut-hole pattern of negative evidence that, ironically, helps strengthen the case for connection.

 

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

BCG Certification Seminar, 2016 NGS Conference in Ft. Lauderdale

“Certification: Measuring Yourself Against Standards”

Thursday, 5 May 2016, 9:30am to noon, Sessions T211 and T221

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

Michael Ramage, JD, CG

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

The BCG Certification Seminar will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, 5 May 2016, at the National Genealogical Society’s 2016 Family History Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During this interactive seminar Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, and Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, trustees and members of BCG’s executive committee, will demystify the certification process and answer questions like, “Am I ready?” and “Can I do this?”

Certification is open to every genealogist whose work meets standards. Among those certified by BCG are genealogists who study their own family history, researchers who specialize in a particular surname, and professionals who conduct research (for a fee or pro bono) for other genealogists, attorneys, geneticists, biographers, and academics in many fields. They include teachers at all levels; writers and editors of books, journal articles, and newspaper columns; speakers at local, regional, and national conferences; employees of private and government agencies; lineage and genealogical society volunteers; and librarians and archivists.

How do I know if I am ready to apply? Practicing genealogy is often a solitary endeavor. Knowing when we produce work that consistently meets standards is often the hardest part of self-evaluation. There is no one right way to prepare for certification. Successful applicants come from all walks of life. They usually demonstrate some combination of focused genealogical education and experience.

If you are curious about certification and what is required to earn the post-nominal title of Certified Genealogist, these are the sessions for you. Part 1 of the BCG Certification Seminar begins at 9:30 a.m. The focus is on the organization, preparing for certification, and the application process. At 10:30 a.m. there is a half-hour break. Part 2 begins at 11:00 a.m. The focus is on the elements of a portfolio and strategies for compiling a successful portfolio.

BCG wants applicants for certification to succeed! Successful applicants often say that their attendance at certification seminars at national conferences was an integral part of preparing for their accomplishment. The seminars will be recorded and available for purchase.

We look forward to seeing you in Fort Lauderdale!

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.

Welcome, Nancy G. Wehner, CG!

Nancy Wehner brings to her genealogy work a scientist’s mindset and experience. With a Ph.D. in immunology, her career took her to the pharmaceutical industry as a toxicologist. Safety testing for new drugs going into human clinical trials required the same kinds of data analysis, integration, and writing seen in the best genealogical research. Nancy shares her story:

I have always loved solving puzzles and the whole process of gathering information and interpreting it to that end. That love has led me to be a scientist professionally and a genealogist personally. My initial childhood interest in genealogy was spurred by my grandfather’s large, extended family. (We took over the county fairground for the yearly reunion.) His sister Nettie’s hand-typed folio showed all the existing members of the family and how they all related to each other. I used Nettie’s folio as a starting point for my own research. I ultimately set as my goals tracing my husband’s and my ancestral lines to the immigrant ancestors and then bringing forward the descendants of each of those immigrants.

Nancy G. Wehner, CG


To accomplish this goal Nancy begins her research in Iowa (her starting point) and Ohio (her husband’s) and reaches back to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Germany, and Denmark. Now that completing her portfolio has freed up some time, she hopes also to pursue three new genealogical goals. One is a project to save and make old diaries available online through scans and transcriptions. Along with her paternal grandmother’s diary and many others, Nancy has collected the journal of an educated Jamaican-born daughter of a washerwoman that gives insight into the World War I era in Brooklyn.

Another project, inspired by Nancy’s experience in toxicology, would investigate the possible causes of an unusually high GI tract cancer rate in part of her husband’s family. She asks, “Was it just this family? Was it a local issue? Why?” Her scientist’s mind is also intrigued by the prospect of making a detailed evaluation of patterns of births, deaths and marriages in her huge database of descendants.

The National Genealogical Society’s American Genealogy: Home Study Course provided part of Nancy’s preparation for certification. She now serves as an NGS grader and looks forward to teaching and mentoring other genealogists.

Reading good genealogy articles was a huge help, but Nancy counts taking the plunge and writing articles as her best portfolio preparation.  She comments, “The one I did for New York Genealogical and Biographical Record was really great, as both the peer review process and the editor’s help did much to sharpen my skills in critically laying out and proofreading what I wrote.”[1]

Nancy’s advice to someone considering applying for certification is, “Make sure you are really ready for the challenge in terms of time to devote to the process and the skills to meet the requirements. Only time and practice give you the skills. Reading books, articles, and attending lectures helps, but only DOING will get you there.”

Picture Nancy in a wooden dory traveling down forty-five major (and many minor) rapids on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon this spring! This active woman enjoys hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing, as well as gardening and embroidery. Her immediate family includes her husband, two grown children, and cats Frizzle, Xani, and Luxe.

Nancy currently resides in Fremont in California’s East San Francisco Bay Area. Oddly, although it’s a populous region, Board-certified genealogists are rare there. She would welcome a visit with others who share her passion. (BCG associates may have noticed her recent greeting on the BCG List.) Nancy can be reached at ngwehner@gmail.com. Congratulations, Nancy!



[1] Nancy Niles Wehner, “The Steubner Letters, Brooklyn, New York: Tragedy in a German Immigrant Family,” The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 145 (October 2014): 259–70.

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.

Welcome, Cheryl Storton, CG

When introducing herself, Cheryl Storton is happy to tell about her home, Arroyo Grande, on a beautiful stretch of California midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Leaving her Iowa roots behind, Cheryl settled permanently in the state one of her ancestors had visited briefly during the Gold Rush. Cheryl found gold in a teaching job at Lompoc Junior High. That got her to California. The weather and lifestyle kept her there. Cheryl is married to Tim Storton and has a son Shawn and eight stepchildren.

While Cheryl’s jobs as a teacher, waitress, bar tender, process server, and accessories vendor, all contributed to her life skills, it’s the business she ran with friend Cafi Cohen that informed her genealogical work. For seven years they operated Bridge to Yesterday, offering client research and creating beautiful family albums with photos, text, and documentation. The work took her into areas of research where her own family had not and expanded her familiarity with records. Cheryl and Cafi closed their business in 2014, and Cheryl began work in earnest on preparing her portfolio.

Cheryl Storton, CG

With encouragement from Cafi, she began attending a number of institutes and joined ProGen. Cheryl took her assignments seriously, which improved her transcriptions, abstractions, proof arguments, and client reports. She found that religiously reading the National Genealogical Society Quarterly improved her writing and source citations. Through the preparation for certification she has gained confidence in her genealogical skills and feels comfortable with source citations to the point of enjoying them most of the time. And she no longer hates to write, but it is still not an easy process for her.

The kinship-determination project provided a satisfying writing opportunity. The last generation included her grandfather, whom she knew personally. Researching him gave her a more complete picture of him. She learned that while many people struggled during the Depression, his story was amazingly different. He always had various jobs including managing a snow fence factory. His daughter had the best shoes, and even saw an orthodontist. Cheryl advises other applicants to write the kinship-determination project about their own families, as they will be spending a lot of time on the research and getting to know the people well.

Cheryl describes herself as very social, so not being able to talk to anyone about the contents of her portfolio was difficult. When asked what advice she would give to someone considering applying for certification, she said, “Focus, focus, focus. What that meant for me was: no Facebook time, no heavy research on family lines, no time for reading and posting to mailing lists, no new clients. Also, I tried to keep to a daily schedule for research and writing. I recommend frequent breaks to exercise and clear your head.”

What will she do now that she is board-certified? Cheryl’s husband, a former sheriff, is researching the sheriffs of San Luis Obispo County with the hope of writing a book. Cheryl’s skills come into play helping with genealogical research and writing biographical sketches. She also looks forward to doing some of that heavy research on her family lines and cleaning up her database and office. That may include work on her third great-grandmother Hannah, born in Pennsylvania in 1805, whose parents and death date and place are still elusive. Another goal is to speak at national genealogical events as a certified genealogical lecturer.

Cheryl has been program director for her local genealogical organization, the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society. She also participates in their groups on DNA, genealogical writing, and professional standards, and she’s now their second BCG associate. And she can finally talk about her portfolio. If you run into her at SLIG next year, be sure to say hello and enjoy a visit.  Cheryl can be reached at cherylstorton@gmail.com. Congratulations, Cheryl!

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.