In Memoriam: Merrill Hill Mosher of Coos Bay, Oregon

Merrill Hill Mosher, 2005
Image courtesy of The Coos Bay (Oregon) World

On 2 February 2015, our friend and colleague, Merrill Hill Mosher died in Coos Bay, Oregon, aged 84. She was formerly certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and was founder of Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research, administered by the BCG Education Fund.

Merrill was born and grew up near Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area. She had one son, Ashley Cooke Auld. On 5 January 1970 in Crescent City, California, she married the late Donald Mosher.

Beginning in 1974, Merrill was an active volunteer at the local Family History Center, serving as librarian sometime after their opening until 2000. She taught genealogical courses at Southwestern Oregon Community College and mentored many of her students. Merrill earned BCG certification on 15 May 1993, and in 1995 she received the North Carolina Genealogical Society’s award for excellence in publishing for her book, John Freeman of Norfolk County, Virginia: His Descendants in North Carolina and Virginia and Other Colonial North Carolina Freeman Families (Berwyn Heights, Md.: Heritage Books, 1994).

Beverly Rice, former BCG treasurer, writes that “Merrill was a mentor to many of us in Coos Bay (and Oregon), including Rhonda Edwards, Marcia Rice, and myself. She often lectured and taught classes. I still remember her handwriting workshops because she had us write and practice the early Virginia script, over and over. This was in my first years of research; it was a great learning experience and one I have not forgotten.” Beverly also stated that Merrill had been a competitive downhill-skier. An ankle injury led to difficulty walking later in life.

Professional to the core, Merrill was an avid supporter of BCG and the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). She was a founding member of APG’s Oregon Chapter and served as the chapter president from 2000 to 2001. Beverly Rice recalls, “We actually had our chapter-forming meeting in her living room overlooking the Pacific Ocean.” Former BCG president Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, adds, “Merrill was a driving force in many successful certified associates’ lives. There were probably more certified people in her area at one time than in any small town. She was a wonderful representative of the BCG spirit.”

Merrill established Mosher’s Southern Research Library, located outside of Coos Bay. In 2013 she donated her personal papers to the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.

Merrill Mosher, VIGR, 2000
Image courtesy of Marty Hiatt, CG

Marty Hiatt, CG, writes that Merrill attended the Virginia Genealogical Society’s summer institute, known as Virginia Institute of Genealogical Research (VIGR), once or twice, and became an instructor in her third year.

Merrill was a prolific writer and had family articles published as lead pieces in The Virginia Genealogist. She also wrote an article for that publication describing mapping errors for several Northern Neck counties. Another of her family articles was published in The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research.

In 2001, in memory of her deceased husband of thirty-two years, Merrill established the Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research. The award recognizes scholarly research on colonial Virginia topics in the categories of family genealogy, immigrant place of family origin, and publication of obscure or difficult Virginia resources. Mary McCampbell Bell, BCG Education Fund treasurer from 2002 through 2009, recalls, “It was my honor and pleasure to work with Merrill as we shared ideas on how her award could be implemented. She was extremely knowledgeable about Virginia, and we shared a mutual love of colonial Virginia research. Her vision for the Mosher Award was to encourage people to look for and publish little-known Virginia records.”

We will miss Merrill, but the Mosher Award will continue to inspire and benefit Virginia researchers for years to come. Tax-free donations to the BCG Education Fund, designated for the Mosher Award, will assure that the award flourishes. For more about the Mosher Award, visit the BCG Education Fund at http://www.bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html.

by Mary McCampbell Bell, Certified Genealogist Emeritus


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.

 

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.

 

BCG at FGS-RootsTech 2015

The Board for Certification of Genealogists will be well represented this week at the combined 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference and RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah.

BCG will have a booth in the vendor hall, coordinated by Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, where information about certification and standards will be available, and where those considering certification can review portfolios.

It will also be presenting a two-hour workshop on Friday, February 13, starting at 1 p.m., on “Certification: Measuring Yourself Against Standards.” It will be moderated and presented by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, and Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL.

The BCG-sponsored luncheon on Friday, just before the workshop, will feature J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, speaking on “What Did You Do When You Were A Kid? or Strategies for Gathering Family Stories.”

And Board-certified genealogists will take to the podium in large numbers. Scheduled presentations by associates include the following:

Wednesday, February 11

The Policy and Procedure Manual: Preventing “I Didn’t Know That”
by C. Ann Staley, CG, CGL

The Ethical Genealogist
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Involve Elroy Jetson (& others) in Your Genealogical Society
by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Organizing and Carrying Out a Society Project
by C. Ann Staley, CG, CGL

Thursday, February 12

Getting the Most Out of Genealogical Evidence
by Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Hatched, Matched, and Dispatched: Vital Record Research
by C. Ann Staley, CG, CGL

Searching for Our Ministers and Clergy
by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

How Old Did He Have to Be…?
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Researching Your War of 1812 Ancestor
by Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Biblical Breakthrough! How I Came to Love the NGS Online Bible Collection
by Diane Florence Gravel, CG

Tales Grandma Didn’t Tell
by Warren Bittner, MS, CG

Civil War Medical Records
by Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Problem Solving with Probate
by Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

The War Ended But Not The Records!
by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Making a Federal Case Out of It
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Obtaining 20th Century Military Records from St. Louis Personnel Records Center
by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

Friday, February 13

Impossible Immigrant! Exhausting Research to Find an Ancestor’s Origins
by Warren Bittner, CG

Gentlemen Judges: The Justices of the Peace
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Federal Records Relating to Rivers and Canals
by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

New Standards or Old? Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories
by Thomas Jones PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Our River Ancestors and the Records They Left Behind
by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

Writing a Prize-Winning Family History
by Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Railroads Beyond the Mississippi: History and Records
by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

The Compiled Military Service Record
by Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Finding the Migration Record and Stories of the Dust Bowl Disaster and Western Movement
by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Saturday, February 14

Comparing Records With Vintage Tools and High Tech Resources
by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Meyer’s Gazetteer: Gateway to Germany
by Warren Bittner, CG

Manuscripts and More
by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

Martha Benschura: Enemy Alien
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL


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.

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.

Welcome, Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG

Patricia Lee “Patti” Hobbs

Patti Hobbs, native Californian, inadvertently made a reverse, west-to-east migration by settling in the Missouri Ozarks in 1990. After the move she discovered that her grandfather was born ninety miles west of her current home, and his mother was from territorial Missouri stock, bringing her back to her own roots.

Patti is the genealogy face of the Springfield-Greene County (Missouri) Library District. Since 2009 she has been a genealogist reference associate for the Local History and Genealogy Department. She loves this position that suits her inclination to teach and her passion for genealogy.

Her twenty-five-year career homeschooling her six children prepared Patti well for genealogical research and readying her BCG portfolio. She became more logical, especially in her presentations. Too, she had to teach herself a lot, and at a high level, to be prepared to teach her students. She knows that “you can learn almost anything if you have the experts giving the standards, and you have the tools for learning.” For Patti those tools included at least ten sessions at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research, the National Institute on Genealogical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.

From preparing her children’s lessons, this biology major developed a love of history and the stories of people in historical context. “It has been thrilling to me to see how the everyday people fit into the grand historical themes. [They] are the fabric of our society, and we should be proud of that.”

Patti found great satisfaction in preparing her kinship-determination project. She had two goals: to start in the 1700s and to include her family watchmakers. The story begins with a Massachusetts woman whose father was a Revolutionary War patriot and continues through Patti’s great-grandfather, whose son, taught by his father, was well known for his watch craft during World War II. Patti wants to continue this type of writing where “little details come together that [may not be] so obvious. Writing biographical material with historical context creates a synergy that can otherwise be lost.”

Patti continues, “I love discovering ‘lost’ family, especially those who had no children and therefore have no descendants looking for them. I want to be their advocate and tell their tales. But even with ancestors who aren’t lost, there are lost stories in their lives. Teasing those things out of the details of the records is immensely rewarding.”

This consummate teacher describes two types of library patrons: those who want simply to compile a family tree and those who are ready and willing to research in records. Addressing their frustration with not finding the one record that “proves” an identity, Patti explains, “If a jillion people haven’t found it yet, it’s because no one has muddled around in the records.” She’s just the person to help do that because she has a great attitude about brick walls. “I have difficulty calling anything a brick wall. I usually figure that I just haven’t looked hard enough yet.”

Looking hard can bring up surprises. While researching her great-grandfather watchmaker, Patti found online and was able to purchase his own watch with his name and the town he was working in engraved on it.

Looking to the future, Patti expects to spend the next five years continuing teaching through her local genealogical society and writing articles for publication. She can be reached at research@quotidiangenealogy.com, or she may be spotted at the next genealogical institute. All the best, Patti, and welcome!


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 Sherry Lindsay, CG

Sherry Lindsay, CG

BCG’s newest associate is also one of its youngest at certification. Sherry Lindsay was just shy of thirty when she received the email congratulating her on her achievement. The response to her portfolio was so long in coming, she had convinced herself she had not passed and that she would consider the application a great learning experience. After much finger-crossing and wondering if she understood the standards correctly, the email came as a surprise.

A major in Family History from Brigham Young University prepared Sherry well for her genealogy career, as well as for certification. Her coursework included family, local, and social history research in southern states, the Midwest, and Ireland, and work in Latin handwriting and documents. For the past five years Sherry has worked for AncestryProGenealogists (formerly ProGenealogists) and is currently part of their European team, comprised of about fifteen genealogists. This professional work has improved her research skills, and she gives credit to great mentors in her workplace.

Sherry loves solving the problems people have been puzzling over for years. She enjoys facilitating the reunion of adoptees and others who have lost contact with their biological families. She has also been involved in the fast-paced, collaborative, deadline-driven work for “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Sherry shares how she helps her family members learn about ancestry: “I’m a big proponent of my nieces and nephews being able to name their ‘eight greats,’ and I’ve been impressed with how early they start to understand how a family fits together. My obsession with helping people learn the names of their ‘eight greats’ actually started with my husband. When I learned that he actually had memories of some of his great-grandparents, I was really surprised. Then when I tried to find out which grandparents they were, we both realized that he had no clue. One grandma he just referred to as the ‘Raisin Grandma’ because she distributed raisins to the kids. I memorized his eight great-grandparents and then helped him to learn their names too. Now when his parents tell stories of their own grandparents, he can put specific names with the stories and know where they fit on the family tree.”

Two little boys complete Sherry’s family, and the older one, age four, is beginning to learn where his “Grandma Great” (Sherry’s husband’s grandmother) belongs in his family tree. Besides teaching her family how it connects together, Sherry keeps an online tree at Ancestry.com, commenting, “I hope they don’t lose their servers.” She is not tied to paper files and notebooks.

A love of camping, hiking, and canoeing keeps Sherry and her family outdoors in summer. She and her husband spent a year in New Zealand. The joke is that while he prepared his degree, she majored in vacation. Together they traveled around the beautiful south island, camping at Great Barrier Island and gathering shellfish.

Sherry can be reached at sherry.lindsay@gmail.com. She is so young that it is possible she could renew her certification eight or nine times. As her sons grow older, she looks forward to attending genealogy conferences and teaching at them. Welcome, Sherry, and may your association with BCG be long and fruitful.


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 Sara Anne Scribner, CG

Sara Anne Scribner, CG

by Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG

Sara Anne Scribner finds genealogy to be an emotional endeavor, and some original documents she found moved her to tears. One tearful read included content descriptions “of unclaimed packages sent to Confederate prisoners of war at Point Lookout.”

Genealogy is not Sara’s first career. She graduated from Vassar College with a degree in drama. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Sara continued her education with an MS in Library Science from Simmons College in Boston. She worked as a library director in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and San Jose, California, and held other executive positions at San Jose. In the midst of this busy life, Sara found time to graduate with a BFA in drawing from the California College of the Arts in Oakland.

Sara uses all of her education in her daily life. Loving a good story, she writes and produces plays (several of which involve genealogy) and also acts in her local community theater. In 2010 she produced a play that explored a family and its reaction to unexpected DNA results. “The advertising read ‘DNA doesn’t lie, but sometimes Southern ladies do.’”

Sara chose her home in Bainbridge Island, Washington, partly because of its vibrant artistic community. She has continued her career as a librarian for the last thirteen years, answering patrons’ questions and teaching research strategies to the public at both a community college and a public library. She enjoys exploring new genealogical methodologies and research localities. Tenaciously seeking answers, she loves to move from low-hanging fruit to more challenging research.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Sara’s genealogical hero. “We could not conduct genealogy as we do today without their [the LDS Church’s] programs, most free or low-cost[:] . . . their international microfilming program, Family History Centers, educational programs (like the FamilySearch Wiki or free online courses), and the one-of-a-kind Family History Library.” Sara is inspired by and values the many genealogical “heavyweights” she has studied with at institutes and conferences.

Going through the certification process improved Sara’s genealogical work. She realized she was an inconsistent record-keeper. As she prepared her portfolio, she developed a process that improved her record-keeping skills and her method of working through a genealogical research problem. Sara loves “a good laugh, and where research is concerned there are plenty of those, especially in the ‘now I know better’ category.”

Sara’s advice for those thinking about certification includes getting as much education as you can afford and getting acquainted with others involved in genealogy. Having genealogy friends to laugh with helps. She also advises frequently revisiting the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) requirements, genealogical methodology books, and conference notes. Finally, take your time in preparing your portfolio, even if you require an extension.

In the next five years, Sara hopes to open a genealogy research business and credits her experience in a ProGen Study Group for providing business guidance. She is working towards identifying the parents of her ancestor, Eliza (Williamson) Fisher, her most elusive female ancestor.

Welcome, Sara!


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 Jean Atkinson Andrews, CG

Jean Atkinson Andrews, CG

Jean Atkinson Andrews may be familiar as a regional director on the National Genealogical Society (NGS) board and as its outgoing treasurer. She is South Carolina’s second BCG associate. She confesses, though, to having (paraphrasing Garrison Keillor) “a certain smug satisfaction in being a Midwesterner,” raised in the soybean country of central Illinois.

Jean and her husband retired from Ohio to South Carolina eight years ago. Growing up in the North, she knew the Civil War from the Union perspective. Recently she has begun working with Redcliffe, a South Carolina state historic plantation, to trace descendants of the African American slaves who worked and lived there. The project has given Jean a perspective from the “other” side and an appreciation for the passion African Americans and non-slaveholder whites brought to defending their way of life.

Describing herself as “rather bookish,” Jean tells of a teenage summer spent reading the local newspaper obituaries at her public library. In just one month she traced her Atkinson roots back to England. She now dismisses that effort with a laugh and knows her roots extend from Illinois back to Indiana, and perhaps to Maryland via Kentucky.

Jean’s training in accounting, an MBA in finance, and a career in the automotive industry prepared her to track, analyze, and justify large volumes of data. On retirement she put those skill to work researching her husband’s difficult and interesting Ohio line.

About four years ago Jean began seriously pursuing certification, which has changed her work “exponentially” for the better. Besides the “usual suspects,” Elizabeth Shown Mills and Tom Jones, Jean appreciates “timely prodding” toward certification from her BCG-associate-mentors Shirley Langdon Wilcox, Barbara Vines Little, and Nancy Peters. Jean would make the NGS Quarterly articles by “outstanding South Carolina genealogist GeLee Corley Hendrix required reading for anyone interested in Palmetto state research.”

Jean especially values the rubrics in preparing her successful portfolio. She explains, “After finishing each segment of the portfolio, I would critique it against the appropriate rubric and each of the relevant standards. Once I felt I had done my best work, I put it aside and did not return to it.” She advises prospective applicants, “Focus on producing your best work and not on being perfect.”

Jean loves writing and has published in the NGS Magazine and the Ohio Genealogy News. She has submitted her first scholarly article for publication in a leading genealogical journal. It treats a brick wall solved with, among other things, the serendipitous discovery of scraps of receipts in an Ohio probate file.

Jean can be reached at aandreje@gmail.com and through the BCG website. Welcome, Jean!


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, Jaclyn Wertis, CG

Jaclyn Wertis, CG, of Tulsa Oklahoma

Without really intending to, Jaclyn Wertis has become an American Indian research specialist. She thought she would pursue Midwest research, compile lineages for DAR applicants, and trace immigrant ancestors. However, a post-retirement move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, changed her focus. Jaclyn lives close to the Cherokee Heritage Center and Native American genealogical resources not available online. Now over half her clients are searching for their Native American ancestors. Some are already on the rolls but don’t know about their forebears. Others know of Native ancestry only through DNA testing or family lore. Jaclyn enjoys this work that has a clear goal and a limited scope.

Jaclyn moved to Tulsa from California after retirement from a twenty-year career in public service administration. Most recently she worked for the Community Development Department of the City of Riverside, California. Her MBA and certification as a Project Management Professional prepared her well for her BCG application. She explains, “The tools and techniques and quality focus used in managing projects in the business world have translated easily into my genealogical work.” Jaclyn had been lecturing informally on genealogy, advising other researchers, and helping prospective DAR members when she began to do client work. At that point she knew it was time to become Board-certified.

Jaclyn found the BCG certification seminar at national conferences particularly helpful. In addition to reading the new Genealogy Standards, Tom Jones’s Mastering Genealogical Proof, and Elizabeth Shown Mills’s Evidence Explained, she also took online NGS courses. Her advice to prospective applicants is, “Put together a proof argument, proof summary, or proof statement for every relationship until it becomes a natural and instinctive process.”

Jaclyn has a strong orientation toward giving back through her genealogy work, both to her family and the community. Her future goals include the following:
• speaking to secondary school history classes “to help young people understand that history is more than just names and dates”
• volunteering at homes for troubled teens and after-school centers, as she knows from personal experience that “if our children have a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves, they will develop a sense of pride and self-worth that will help them make better life decisions”
• publishing “Tales My Mother Told Me and Other Family Stories,” a compilation drawn from conversations with parents, grandparents, and others
• transcribing her great-grandfather’s Civil War diary and her aunt’s three journals
• serving as DAR Registrar for her local chapter beginning in 2017
• teaching beginning genealogy at senior centers, for her church’s educational program, and for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Jaclyn Wertis is Oklahoma’s only BCG associate, our link to the foothills of the Ozarks. She can be reached at jackie.wertis@yahoo.com. Welcome, Jaclyn!


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 helps explain Chicago’s poorest burials

The Chicago Tribune yesterday turned to Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, a Board-certified genealogist and newly-elected President of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, for help in explaining the significance of a newly-released database of burials at the Cook County Cemetery at Dunning, Chicago, Illinois, a potters field serving poor and indigent residents.

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

As a Chicago specialist and the only Board-certified genealogist in the city, Bloom has often had to explain to people that the cemetery is largely unmarked — and she put the situation into historical context in her comments to the Chicago Tribune.

“People will often ask me, ‘Where’s the grave?’ And I have to explain to them the history of the institution and why the people were buried there,” she said. “It’s difficult for someone with a 2014 mindset and values to understand that thought process of the people 100 to 150 years ago.”

The database, located online at http://www.cookcountycemetery.com, was compiled by Barry Fleig, former cemetery chairman of the Chicago Genealogical Society, who said the project — which took more than five years — is a work in progress, with the goal of documenting as many of the nearly 40,000 burials at the city’s pauper’s field as possible.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (bcgcertification.org) is an independent, national and internationally recognized certifying body. It strives to foster public confidence in genealogy as a respected branch of history by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics among genealogical practitioners, and by publicly recognizing persons who meet that standard.


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 U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.