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.

Welcome, Malissa Ruffner

Malissa Ruffner, CG

Computer programmer. Lawyer. Educator. Reference librarian. And, now, Board-certified genealogist.

Clearly, Malissa Ruffner is, in her own words, “not shy about career shifts.”

Raised in Pennsylvania, Malissa received her bachelor of arts degree from Goucher College, and started her first career as a computer programmer for a large insurance company. After she received her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law, she was a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, and worked on landmark cases dealing with public education funding and racial segregation.

At the same time, Malissa worked with parents in and outside of the public school system to establish an elementary school based on experiential learning. She became its first full-time director in 1998.

Malissa followed that with a master of library science degree from the University of Maryland, working as an independent contractor serving individual and institutional clients in the areas of libraries, archives, education, and research. Later, she worked in Special Collections at the University of Maryland, and as an email reference coordinator for the Internet Public Library.

And, behind it all, was her love of family and genealogy. Mother of two and now grandmother of a soon-to-be-two-year-old, Jane, Malissa collected family documents, researched at repositories around Maryland and Washington, D.C., and added genealogy to the list of things she wanted to do “someday.”

Her father’s death in 2008 brought “someday” front and center. “I enrolled in an introductory workshop in March of 2009,” she explained, “and by the time I attended New England Historic Genealogical Society’s ‘Come Home to New England’ program in June, I was already contemplating a career shift.”

Malissa took on a project for a friend to see if researching for others was as enjoyable as investigating her own family, and found it was “just as much fun.” She completed the ProGen program (as part of ProGen 5), and, in 2010, attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University, and the National Institute for Genealogical Research at the National Archives.

“Full immersion had begun,” she said. She followed up by getting involved with the Maryland Genealogical Society, where she is currently in her second term as an at-large board member.

Malissa’s advice to those considering certification is to “make it a high priority and tackle it in pieces. I stayed home from conferences and institutes and shied away from new commitments for a period of time. That was hard. Some applicants wait until the requirements are nearly complete before starting the clock, but I took the other path. Even though I needed an extension, the goal of submitting a successful portfolio remained at the top of my list.”

She noted that there are pros and cons to having come to genealogy later in life. “The fact that I haven’t been able to share my discoveries (both delightful and shocking) with my parents breaks my heart a little,” she noted. “On the other hand, my earlier experiences have been invaluable, and I haven’t had to worry about neglecting young children—only grown ones!”

She added that she is “in awe of genealogists who labored without the technological tools we enjoy today. Imagine typing your letter of inquiry to a distant family member or library and waiting weeks for a reply. We have so much at our fingertips: increasing availability of original records, vast opportunities for collaboration, and now DNA. And there are still good reasons to visit libraries, archives, courthouses, and cemeteries. It doesn’t get any better.”

“I am lucky to have found the perfect niche at last, in a field that is so rewarding on every level,” Malissa said. “Everyone I have met in the last five years—from genealogy ‘rock stars’ to local researchers with decades of experience—has encouraged and welcomed this new kid on the block. In particular, I want to thank Claire Bettag, CG, for keeping me afloat with her encouragement and friendship.”

Malissa and her husband, John Odell, live in Baltimore, as do their two daughters, their daughters’ husbands, and their granddaughter, Jane.

by Judy G. Russell, 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.

Welcome Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Please Welcome John D. Beatty, CG

 

John Beatty, CG, in the stacks of the Allen County Public Library. Photograph by Dawne Slater-Putt, CG. Used with permission.

This post was contributed by Dawne Slater-Putt, CG:

            John D. Beatty, CG, of Fort Wayne recently became one of five Board-certified genealogists in Indiana. He is a reference librarian at The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library (ACPL), an institution well-known for its second-largest genealogical research collection in the United States. John also serves The Genealogy Center as its bibliographer. He is the author of numerous genealogical articles and books, including Protestant Women’s Narratives of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, published by Four Courts Press of Dublin; and the two-volume James Beaty and Ann Bennett of Ballycanew, County Wexford, Ireland, and More than Two Centuries of Their American Descendants, which he self-published in 2010 and considers his magnum opus. He was also the editor and major contributor to volume 1 of the two-volume History of Fort Wayne & Allen County, Indiana, 1700-2005.

            Through his work as bibliographer for The Genealogy Center since the 1990s, John has comprised a database of more than 65,000 titles ordered – but he was ordering books before the advent of that record, so he cannot cite the total number of volumes he has been responsible for adding to this great collection. His other duties include Continue reading

Welcome Shannon Terwedo, CG, of Shingle Springs, California

Shannon Terwedo brings to her genealogy work the problem-solving and organizational skills honed in her career as a healthcare business owner. A background in microbiology sharpened other valued skills: attention to detail, hypothesis-testing, and technical writing. A full-time businesswoman, Shannon also makes time for client projects, although no more than two at a time and with no deadlines. She explains, “Genealogy work is my go-to passion when my healthcare career slides into the regulatory nightmare it can occasionally be.” That passion takes her research into records of the California gold-rush era, the American Midwest and South, the British Isles, and northern Europe. Shannon plans for a full-time profession in genealogy, but only after her retirement from healthcare management.

With a laugh, Shannon comments that while other families returned from their vacations with scenery photos, her pictures show her children in the cemeteries they visited. When juggling career, family, and portfolio sometimes left Shannon ready to abandon certification, her husband encouraged her to keep working at it. He valued how important it was to her. Now that she is a BCG Associate, she is repaying her husband’s support by teaching herself Polish language and history so she can research his Polish ancestry.

Shannon mentions three people who inspired her genealogical pursuits:
• “Abigail Quigley McCarthy, wife of Senator Eugene McCarthy and my 1st cousin once removed answered my phone call back in 1996 to discuss our family history. She was so excited to talk to a family member who was…interested in our family genealogy. She invited me to her Washington, D.C. home and loaned me original, late 19th and early 20th century correspondence between her grandfather and her mother.” Abigail asked if Shannon had genealogy career goals. With enthusiasm and encouragement, she relayed information from a recently certified friend.
• A family history writing course brought Shannon into contact with Will White, PhD, CG. “There was just something about his demeanor that said this guy knows what he’s doing….In his quiet, easy going style, he explained why he valued the expertise of experienced genealogists and he felt it improved his work by being peer reviewed. I remembered thinking that if Will thought the process had value, I should follow his lead.”
• Shannon met Melinde Lutz Byrne in 2007. Melinde was not yet a BCG Associate, and Shannon did not know her reputation. “We just connected and had dinner together. That she was clearly an accomplished and experienced genealogist was evident from our conversation. We talked about certification…our lives and science careers, children, spouses, etc. She happened to mention that she would be coming on as a new editor for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. I realized I was talking to one of genealogy’s great talents. She had a lasting impression on me as someone whose genealogical scholarship I would hope to aspire to.”

Asked about her most intriguing brick wall, Shannon immediately described her great-great-grandfather, the most distant known ancestor of her southern family. John “Thomas” Richardson was born in South Carolina, migrated to and married in Alabama, then moved to Texas after the Civil War. He died in Bell County, Texas in 1886. If readers have a clue about this Thomas Richardson, contact Shannon at shan1057@hotmail.com, or just give a warm welcome to this new BCG Associate.


Image courtesy of Bob Darling Photography, Placerville, California.

(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.)

Introducing Jane Beal, CG

Jane Beal, CG

Jane Beal has become the ninth Missourian to currently hold the credential of Certified Genealogist from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Jane’s first genealogical mentor remains her most powerful motivating force: her grandfather Richard Dolbeare “entrusted to a teenager many years ago the family papers and photos, obviously seeing in [her] younger self someone who cares about the family history.”

His enthusiasm and his trust started Jane on a journey that began with her New England ancestors and ultimately led her to pursue her genealogical goals and, in 2014, to becoming a Board-certified genealogist.

A registered nurse with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing, Jane explains that she has worked “in a wide variety of jobs as a nurse,” and continues to work full-time as one “although it is a desk job, not patient care.”

She lives east of Kansas City with her husband of 30 years: “We have a small farm, lots of children and grandchildren.” And, she adds, “All these activities keep me very busy, but the family knows my passion is genealogy.”

Jane started following that passion as a teenager, after getting those precious papers and photos from her grandfather, whom she credits first and foremost as her genealogical hero. Though the time she has had to devote to her passion has varied, over the years she has worked on her own family history, her husband’s, and those of three of her sons-in-law — and that doesn’t include the many others she has helped and the many local projects she’s worked on.

“I take every opportunity I can to attend genealogical conferences, learn the local history, and expand my knowledge base,” she said. “I particularly love doing research in courthouses, and of course the nearby Midwest Genealogy Center [a wonderful place].” But, Jane notes, even though she started as a teenager, she wishes she had started earlier to “focus more on the stories, history and people, rather than just getting a lot of names and dates. I think most people start off that way, I know I did.”

Today, she said, she is “passionate about the stories and history behind the names and dates, to understand what happened and why in their lives.” Her favorite project now is the ‘brick wall’ case, “particularly if they revolve around women whose history has been lost, due to either an early death or lack of a known maiden name. I like to give them back their identity.”

Jane’s advice to those considering certification is to “download and read the BCG Application Guide, outline what projects need to be done for one’s portfolio [maybe an individual has a project they have recently worked on that would fit with some tweaking or could be used with an in-depth effort], and at least start on the bigger parts of the portfolio prior to beginning the ‘clock’.” She added that it’s necessary to “stay on focus during that year, and if at all possible avoid an extension. I think you start to second guess yourself the longer it takes you.”

Besides her grandfather Richard Dolbeare, Jane considered Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas Jones as her role models and genealogical heroes. “During my journey to completing my portfolio, I absorbed much knowledge from their presentations [I listened to a lot of CDs from past conferences, and listened over and over again], as well as from their books and articles,” she explained. “I felt they brought me to a higher level and expectation of myself and my work.”

She hopes to have her own genealogy research business in the future, mainly focused in individual clients, and looks forward to contributing articles on genealogy to various publications.


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.

Please Welcome Cynthia Turk, CG

Cynthia Turk, CG

Cynthia Turk is a northern Ohio powerhouse, a go-to gal for genealogical research in the Cleveland-area counties of Lake, Cuyahoga, and Geauga. Currently president of both the Lake County Genealogical Society and the NorthEast Ohio Computer-Aided Genealogy Society (NEOCAG), Cynthia is also the principal of Geneal Pursuits and a strong volunteer.

Cynthia laughs that she has “an elbow problem” that causes her “hand to just shoot up in the air” when volunteer help is needed. In addition to client work, she is webmaster for four genealogy sites, works as president with the boards of two societies, and indexes for FamilySearch when procrastinating. Over 200,000 records to her credit show a lot of procrastinating!

Her local librarian spurred Cynthia to take clients: “[She] was gentle, kind, and persistent when I started, pointing out, and insisting, that name spellings are not always what you expect, for instance. As I became more knowledgeable, she requested I do genealogy for pay so the library would have an outside referral. And so I began two decades ago.” Cynthia’s client work includes arranging and leading genealogy tours to both local and major genealogy research sites.

Although the certification process offered Cynthia no surprises, she credits her mentor Jean Hoffman, CG, with offering encouragement at times when the task seemed overwhelming. Certified since May, Cynthia joins Jean as the eighth Ohio certificant.

Cynthia can be reached through her website Geneal Pursuits (http://genealpursuits.com) or via email (Cynthia@GenealPursuits.com). She signs her emails aptly, “Genially, Cynthia.” You’ll find her this December at her fourteenth Salt Lake Christmas Tour and other times at Ohio Genealogical Society events. Welcome, Cynthia!


Image courtesy of Richard McPeak of Mentor, Ohio.

(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.)

Please Welcome Christy Stringfield, CG

Christy Stringfield

Christy Stringfield is a full-time fifth grade teacher. She recently returned to her childhood love of genealogy. She remembers being 8 years old and sitting at the kitchen table watching as her Great Aunt filled out an application to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Throughout high school and college she interviewed family members and collected and transcribed artifacts. All that was set aside as her children grew and she started her teaching career. When Christy returned to genealogy, the field had changed and she was able to use computers and online resources.

Already working in a field with strict certification requirements, Christy looked to the Board for Certification of Genealogists as a way to perfect her skills. “I read every professional book I could get my hands on to prepare myself for certification, all the while working on items for my own files that I could use in my portfolio,” Christy remembers. Finally she joined the DAR herself, where she volunteered in genealogical research for the trickier applications, not long thereafter becoming the chapter’s Registrar.

Christy specializes in New England and Mid-Western genealogy and lineage applications. At this time, she only take paid clients who are working on Supplemental applications to the DAR.

Her advice to anyone considering applying to BCG is “Do it! But complete as much as you can -- at least through a first or second draft – before you officially become on-the-clock. I had everything ‘finished’ before I sent in my application. Then I used the advice on the message boards to modify, revise, and rewrite some sections before sending in the final portfolio.”

This teacher’s advice to applicants is to know how they learn best. If they are visual learners, read books, study genealogical journals, and visual genealogical proof maps. For auditory learners, attend seminars, conferences, and lectures. Kinesthetic learners can find mentors, gets hands-on experience in libraries, archives, and courthouses, and learn to write things down and cite them properly.

Looking towards the future, Christy often sets new goals for herself. She is working to establish at least ten new Patriot lines that are not yet in the DAR database, and she is developing presentations for genealogy workshops. She feels that Board-certification will give her more confidence in moving forward and in contributing to the broad genealogical community.


(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.)

 

Introducing: Sharon Hoyt, CG

Sharon Hoyt, who received her Certified Genealogist credential earlier this year, is a genealogy researcher and lecturer from California’s Silicon Valley.

Sharon Hoyt, CG

She became interested in genealogy after her husband’s research on his Mayflower ancestors made her curious about her own family origins. What began as a hobby quickly became a passion, and in 2002, she traded a career as an information architect managing intranet content and search tools for large technology companies to focus on genealogy research.

As a native Californian whose family has lived in the state since the 1880s, she enjoys helping clients trace their ancestors’ paths to the Golden State. Her areas of interest include New England, New York, and the Midwest, with a particular focus on Civil War research. In addition to her client research, she serves as a consultant to Ancestry.com. She is a member of APG, NGS, NEHGS, and the Southern California Genealogical Society.

Sharon’s key advice to those thinking about certification is this: “Don’t be afraid to apply – the application process is a great learning experience!”

She notes that her own preparation was broad-based, but in addition to seminars, webinars, conferences and institutes (NIGR and SLIG), she found the graded NGS American Genealogy Home Study Course particularly helpful in preparing her application. “The experience of working through lessons on my own and receiving written feedback was very similar to the BCG certification process.”

Sharon credits her cousin, Pauline Love, who was 92 years young when they met, as her genealogy muse: “The stories she shared made our ancestors’ lives real to me, and her endless curiosity and excitement about family history encouraged me to seek out new sources to answer her many questions. She inspired me to dig deeper to find the stories behind the basic facts.”

Her genealogical heroes? “The thousands of people who volunteer their time to collect, preserve, index, and share records to help others find their families. I’ve learned so much from volunteers in local genealogical and historical societies, and appreciate their willingness to share their time and expertise.”

And, she adds, “I’m grateful to my husband for introducing me to a dream career, and for his patience and willingness to visit archives, libraries, and cemeteries on every vacation trip.”


(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.)

Introducing: Karlene Howell Ferguson, CG

Colorado’s Karlene Howell Ferguson, who received her Certified GenealogistSM credential in early 2014, describes herself as a “life-long history student who always tries to put the person of interest in historical context.”

Karlene Howell Ferguson, CG

She began doing family research roughly 10 years ago: “I did not start until I retired from a career in public human resources management, so I have been trying to make up for lost time.”

Her genealogical education includes attending the National Genealogical Society conference every other year, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in the off year. She has also attended the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and the NEHGS research week in Washington, D.C. and the research week in Orange County, New York. She is currently participating in Gen Proof 29 (the course built around Thomas W. Jones’ new Mastering Genealogical Proof) and is looking forward to the NEHGS trip to Albany, New York, in July.

Karlene’s advice to those considering certification is that “preparing the portfolio is very, very time consuming. In order to make the most of your application year, try to have as many of the decisions (e.g. kinship project, case study, client report) made prior to your preliminary application.” If she had one thing to do over in her own preparation, it would be to “spend more time learning from others. Attending institutes, conferences and research weeks are very educational, but you need the chance to reflect on actual written products, your own and others.”

She adds that while she learned a tremendous amount about family research in preparing her application portfolio, she realized in that process that she had “just scratched the surface. So much to learn; so little time.”

Her heroes in her quest for certification include Carol Darrow, CG, “who taught many of the classes at the Denver Public Library that got me started on the right track”; “all of the county clerks, court clerks and local librarians who graciously took the time to help me find the records I was seeking”; and her husband, Jerry, “who has been totally supportive of my family research even though he is not very interested in it. He is, however, the best person to help with a cemetery search!”

Some of Karlene’s genealogical goals for the next five years are:

• “to write the story of my Swedish immigrant family, who came to the U.S. in 1921. My plan is to self-publish so that the written story will be available to cousins.”

• “to learn about DNA so that I can add that tool to my family research tools.”

• “to determine a way to share my family stories with other researchers, so they do not have to repeat my mistakes.”

We’re pleased to have this opportunity to introduce Karlene to the BCG community!


(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.)