BCG Free Webinar: Little on Context in Record Analysis

Tuesday, 16 February 2016, at 8:00 p.m. EST, Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, will present “The Importance of Context in Record Analysis.”

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,

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.

To register for Barbara Vines Little, “The Importance of Context in Record Analysis” on 16 February 2016, 8:00 p.m. EST (7:00 CST, 6:00 MST, 5:00 PST), go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3474700108047285762.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says, “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to offer this new webinar as part of an ongoing series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. This webinar will address questions regarding the genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics the BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

Please visit SpringBoard‘s webinar page to learn about BCG’s previous webinars.

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.

Ramage “Reliability” Video Recording Released

Michael Ramage, JD, CG, “Reliability: The Keystone of Genealogical Reasoning, with Judicial Comparisons,” BCG’s December 2015 webinar, is now available on demand from Vimeo.com, here. It is accessible for twenty-four-hour rental ($2.99) or for purchase of unlimited streaming and download ($12.99).

Go to the BCG Webinars tab at the top of this page for previews and links to all BCG webinar recordings.

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.

Coming from OnBoard in January 2016

OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists is scheduled to publish in January 2016. We’re pleased to offer a preview of some of its content.

“Welcome the Neighbors: Solve Genealogical Problems through Neighborhood Research”

Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG, understands tough research problems arising from common names and migrating ancestors. She shows us how welcoming the neighbors can save time and money in the long run. Expanding her investigation into the “genealogical neighbors” proved the key to identifying her ancestor as the same individual found over time in four different counties.

“A Case Study in Source and Information Analysis: Electa Ward”

Source and information analysis underpins the work we genealogists do to arrive at reliable conclusions. Facing seven sources of varying reliability containing conflicting information, Judy Kellar Fox, CG, shows us how she resolved the problem of a New England female ancestor’s birth, death, and spouse’s name.

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

by Nancy A. Peters, CG, Editor, OnBoard

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.

 

Miriam Weiner, CG Emeritus

BCG offers Emeritus status to a certified person who has had a long and distinguished career with BCG and who is retired or semi-retired. In 2015 the Board of Trustees voted to offer this designation to Miriam Weiner.

Miriam Weiner, CG Emeritus

In 1985 Miriam Weiner was the first Jewish genealogist certified by BCG (no. 293). Since then she has earned the high esteem of the genealogical community. Noted rabbi, historian, and genealogist Malcolm H. Stern, FASG, considered her “the most valuable person in the field of genealogy” and “a standard bearer of all that BCG upholds.”[1] Her work centered on locating documents that had been hidden by the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe and whose access was complicated by changing political boundaries. At a time when such a task seemed impossible, she successfully traveled to Eastern Europe, met with regional and local archivists in the Soviet Union, and brought information about their holdings to the world’s genealogical community.

On becoming a Board-certified genealogist Miriam comments:

In the early 1980s, when I began thinking seriously about my own family history and perhaps a career in Jewish genealogy, there were very few books on the subject, no Jewish genealogy conferences and really very little to guide me at all. I became aware of the BCG very early in this process and was very impressed by the professionalism, the experience required for certification, and the continuing education.[2]

It became clear to me that I wanted to be a part of this, and I began the certification process, resulting in the 1985 BCG certification. My thirty-year relationship with BCG included the five-year renewals where I had to submit extensive material about my work and continuing education in this growing field. The comments from the BCG renewal judges resulted in my focusing on aspects that needed attention and encouraged me to “push the envelope” in my work. With prospective research clients, the BCG certification provided a credibility and affiliation that frequently resulted in clients asking about BCG.

Working with Jewish and Eastern European records was not easy for Miriam. “At that time, there were no computers, no e-mail, and the archives were closed in the former Soviet Union.” For someone to fly to these Eastern European countries in the 1980s and create relationships with archivists for the benefit of all future Jewish-researching genealogists is a trailblazing miracle the genealogical community may never see again. Not only was the work difficult due to the politics of the time, but Miriam also faced three major hurdles of Jewish research. First, in Eastern Europe at least, Jewish families did not have last names until the late 1700s, and instead were known by their family relationships such as “Abraham the son of Jacob.” Second, family names were often changed during the immigration process. Third, and possibly the most tragic, a significant amount of vital records and archival documents were destroyed during the Holocaust. Researchers of Jewish families often have to use other documents to trace their families and be creative with their research process.

Miriam’s work in Eastern European records opened genealogical doors to many families impacted by political turmoil in the countries of Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Ukraine, and Romania. This research led to the publication of her books, Jewish Roots in Poland and Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova.[3] She also established the Routes to Roots Foundation, Inc. a not-for-profit corporation that publishes her books and owns the Routes to Roots Foundation website with its gem, the Eastern European Archival Database. The database includes Jewish and civil records from archives in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Moldova, and Ukraine.

Miriam continues:

In 1989 I began an official collaboration with the state archives in Poland to produce a town-by-town inventory of archive documents (subsequently published in Jewish Roots in Poland). Shortly thereafter, I signed similar agreements with the archive director of the National Archives in Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Lithuania. The result of this historic collaboration resulted in my second book, Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova and the Routes to Roots Foundation website. On this website, you can search the archive database by town name to see what Jewish and civil records have survived the Holocaust, the years available, and which archive has them. The website includes more than 500 pages, consisting of maps, articles by archivists and Jewish community leaders in Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Moldova and Lithuania, and related links. There is no cost for using this website, which is sponsored by a not-for-profit foundation. I continue to update the website and databases. The above work for more than twenty-five years was not compensated, and I served as a volunteer for the Routes to Roots Foundation.

I had a commercial business wherein I offered customized individual and family tours to the “old country” and also conducted archive research in Eastern European countries on behalf of clients. I found all of the foregoing to be among the most satisfying work I had ever done—because of the archive discoveries, reuniting of clients with previously unknown family members, and the experience of “walking in the footsteps of their ancestors” as they visited their ancestral towns. I treasure my experience of helping numerous families create and pass on their own unique family histories to their descendants.

The whole focus of my life changed with this career change. I have experienced a renewed commitment to my Jewish heritage and a strengthening of my Jewish identity. I feel very strongly about the importance of documenting family history and hope others will also explore their roots.

Miriam’s thirty-year career included lecturing at a wide array of Jewish genealogical and Holocaust survivor organizations. She is the former executive director of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, and she served on the advisory board of The American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center.

In 1991 Miriam received the Federation of Genealogical Societies award for Distinguished Work in Genealogy and History. Also in 1991 she received the National Genealogical Society Award of Merit for publishing The Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy.[4] In 2003 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

Lest you think Miriam Weiner is all about Jewish genealogy, you may also like to know that she loves mystery novels and especially the series by Janet Evanovich featuring a bounty hunter in New Jersey. The female lead is interested in two main male characters, Ranger (a dark, tough, almost stereotypical “bad boy”) and Joe Morelli (a clean-cut police detective). Through the entire series she can’t decide between the two, and readers lean one way or another. (Miriam, by the way, is pro-Ranger.) Recently she and a girlfriend took a road trip from New Jersey to Orlando, Florida, to attend a one-day conference with Evanovich.

Becoming a policewoman was Miriam’s youthful dream, but by adulthood she had reached the lofty height of five feet one inch. At the time there were strict height requirements to be a cop, and Miriam was not tall enough. Instead she became a licensed private detective learning skills that would later prove beneficial to her genealogical work.

There is no doubt that the genealogical community at large and the Jewish community specifically have benefited from Miriam’s work. She has been a trailblazer when that could have been impossible or dangerous. Her love of challenge, mystery, and heritage has served her career well, and her level of commitment will be difficult to match. Miriam is “still in denial” about retiring from this field but is now looking forward to researching her own family again.


[1] Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern, American Jewish Archives, New York, New York, to Board for Certification of Genealogists, letter, 13 September 1990; privately held by BCG.

[2] Quotes in this article come from either an email or a phone interview. Miriam Weiner, New Jersey (email address for private use), to Cari A. Taplin, email, 19 November 2015, “Re: BCG Emeritus Status—Short Interview Request.”  Also, Miriam Weiner, New Jersey, phone interview by Cari A. Taplin, 3 December 2015.

[3] Miriam Weiner, Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories (New York: Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, 1997). Also Miriam Weiner, Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories (New York: Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, 1999).

[4] Arthur Kurzweil and Miriam Weiner, eds., The Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy, Vol. 1 (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1991).

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.

More BCG Webinars Available On Demand

The two most recent BCG webinars (October and November 2015) are now accessible on demand from Vimeo.com. Both are available for twenty-four-hour rental ($2.99 each) or for purchase of unlimited streaming and download ($12.99 each).

The new webinars are

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, “Applying the Standards to International Research,” and

Harold Henderson, CG, “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?”

Go to the BCG Webinars tab at the top of this page for free previews and links to Vimeo recordings of both.

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: “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?”

Tuesday, 17 November 2015, at 8:00 p.m. EDT, Harold Henderson, CG, will present “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?”

A recording of this webinar is available for a small fee from Vimeo.

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.

To register for Harold Henderson, CG, “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?” on 17 November 2015, 8:00 p.m. EDT (7:00 CDT, 6:00 MDT, 5:00 PDT): https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5631969406323382786.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says, “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to offer this new webinar as part of an ongoing series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. This webinar will address questions regarding the genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics the BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

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

Please visit SpringBoard‘s webinar page to learn about BCG’s previous webinars.

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.

Website and Branding for the Twenty-First Century

Request for Proposals

The Board for Certification of Genealogists® today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redesign of its website and branding for the twenty-first century.

Noting that the existing website is dated in both looks and functionality, the Board is seeking a complete makeover.

The purpose of the redesign is to better serve the needs of website users, including

• persons considering Board certification who are looking for information on the certification process and judging system, and the like

• BCG’s associates, trustees, and judges

• the general public interested in genealogical standards and/or in hiring a qualified genealogist to conduct research.

The desired web design must be fully mobile-ready and offer modern content management tools. It may, if appropriate, build on an existing content management system, such as Joomla or WordPress. Graphical elements, including logo and font choices, will be updated at the same time to foster consistent branding across all media (print and web). Other key elements include but are not limited to

• intuitive navigation;

• clean and focused design;

• optimization with SEO best practices;

• social media integration (share buttons, follow buttons, etc.);

• updated associates’ directory with automatic email and phone links.

Web designers and other interested parties may download a copy of the RFP from Google Drive or DropBox. Questions about the RFP may be directed to bcg.rfp@gmail.com.

The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2015. The desired launch date of the redesigned site is as soon as possible but no later than June 1, 2016.

Darcie Hind Posz, CG, wins ASG Scholar Award

BCG associate Darcie Hind Posz is “over the moon” on winning the 2015 American Society of Genealogists (ASG) Scholar Award. She has reason to be. The ASG is a prestigious group of leading published genealogical scholars. Fellows, elected for life, number only fifty and are identified by the post-nominal FASG. The ASG “serves the discipline of genealogy by embodying and promoting the highest standards of genealogical scholarship.”[1] To this end it publishes a leading journal, The Genealogist, and confers the annual Donald Lines Jacobus Award and the ASG Scholar Award.

Darcie Hind Posz, CG

As an applicant for the ASG Scholar Award Darcie submitted an unpublished manuscript that was evaluated by three Fellows. She describes her winning entry as “a four generation study of two families from Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan, their migration to the Big Island of Hawaii, and then the return of a few of them to Japan. It discusses the class system, Japanese law, the 1873 mandatory conscription act, plantation contacts with Hawaii, records-creation laws (in the Empire of Japan, the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the United States), dual citizenship of Japanese immigrants, and WWII Japanese internment.”

To encourage advanced education in genealogy, the ASG grants a prize of $1000. It is to be used for study at one of the major U.S. academic genealogical programs: the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR); the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) in Washington, D.C.; the Certificate Program in Genealogical Research at Boston University; the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG); or the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP).

Darcie plans to attend the advanced land-analysis and platting course at IGHR. “Regardless of geography, my ancestors kept living in state-land states,” she said, “and I need to learn how to study and plat with patience and understanding. This also moves me closer to the project I mentioned when I first became certified, which is to do the land and community study on Waipio Valley [the Big Island of Hawaii] on foot.”

Darcie has submitted her award-winning piece for publication in a major journal. We’ll be watching for it! Many congratulations, Darcie.


[1] American Society of Genealogists (http://fasg.org/ : accessed 23 October 2015).

 

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: Applying Standards to International Research

Tuesday, 20 October 2015, at 8:00 p.m. EDT, Melanie D. Holtz, CG, will present “Applying the Standards to International Research.”

A recording of this webinar is available for a small fee from Vimeo.

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?

Melanie D. Holtz, CG

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, writer, and lecturer. She operates an international research firm that specializes in Italian genealogical research, Italian-American dual citizenship, and Italian-American probate cases. Melanie maintains offices in both Italy and the U.S.

To register for Melanie D. Holtz, CG, “Applying the Standards to International Research” on 20 October 2015, 8:00 p.m. EDT (7:00 CDT, 6:00 MDT, 5:00 PDT): https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7525305339610306562.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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

Please visit SpringBoard‘s webinar page to learn about BCG’s previous webinars.

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 Lectures in Salt Lake City, 9 October 2015

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will offer a day of free skillbuilding genealogy lectures at the LDS Church History Museum, Salt Lake City, 9 October 2015. 

Renowned genealogists Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, Michael Hait, Thomas W. Jones, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Michael Ramage, and Judy G. Russell will present six one-hour skillbuilding lectures. The annual lectures, co-sponsored by BCG and the Family History Library, are free and open to the public. Anyone in Salt Lake City on that day is welcome to attend. The lectures will be presented live.

Friday, October 9, 2015, Church History Museum Auditorium (on West Temple next to the Family History Library)

9:00 a.m. – “What Is ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Research’?” Michael Hait, CG

10:15 a.m. – “The Art of Negative Space Research: Women,” Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

11:30 a.m. – “After the Courthouse Burns: Rekindling Family History Through DNA,” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

12:30 p.m. – One hour break

1:30 p.m. – “Forensic Genealogy Meets the Genealogical Proof Standard,” Michael Ramage, JD, CG

2:45 p.m. – “Margaret’s Baby’s Father and the Lessons He Taught Me (about Illegitimacy, Footloose Males, Burned Counties & More),” Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

4:00 – “When Does Newfound Evidence Overturn a Proved Conclusion?” Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

“Whether you attend one skillbuilding lecture or all six, you will learn more about how to apply sound methodology to your genealogical research,” said BCG President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Education is part of this mission.”

For questions or more information contact office@BCGcertification.org.

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.