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.)

Our Newest Associate: Cheryl Brown Abernathy, CG

Cheryl Brown Abernathy

Cheryl Brown Abernathy of Fredericksburg, Ohio, became a Board-certified genealogist on 9 April 2014. She is the owner of The Past Lane where her professional work focuses on Wayne County, Ohio, and nine nearby counties. She does in-depth research, records look-up, and lineage society applications. Living in the north central Ohio region to which her ancestors migrated more than a century ago has given her the skills and experience she uses in her business. She volunteers as chair of the Settlers and Builders of Ohio, one of the lineage societies of the Ohio Genealogical Society.

Cheryl’s top genealogy hero is her grandmother, Mary Belle (Wear) Martin, who developed and nourished her interest in genealogy. In her family genealogy website, in its coverage of Mary Belle, Cheryl provides a great example of melding facts and source citations. Today her friends Donna Gruber and Elissa Scalise Powell give her encouragement.

For Cheryl, preparation for the submission of her BCG portfolio including attending an impressive selection of institute courses:

  • Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University
    • Course Two, Intermediate Genealogy & Historical Studies – 2009
    • Course Four, Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis – 2011
  • Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) at La Roche College
    • Beneath the Home Page, Problem–Solving with Online Repositories – 2012
    • Advanced Land Research: Locating, Analyzing, Mapping – 2013

Her advice to others interested in becoming Board-certified is that they “take all the coursework you can, whether it’s a ProGen study group, IGHR, GRIP, SLIG, Boston University or any of the numerous opportunities available.” Asked if she would do anything differently, Cheryl said that she’d start attending institutes earlier in her career. In five years, she sees herself as still learning, researching, and honing her skills.

Welcome, Cheryl!

Introducing: Eric Siess

Associate Eric Siess of Rancho Palos Verdes is a member of the BCG Class of 2013, having received his Certified GenealogistSM credential last year.

Eric Siess

Eric has 30 years of personal and professional experience in family history research, lecturing and teaching. His lectures throughout Southern California include emigration records, the GPS, German immigration, Civil War genealogy, lineage society applications, the 1940 census, and tips for better genealogy. He has successfully helped many clients find their European ancestors and has determined his own lineage into 17th century Alsace and Sweden.

Eric taught beginning and intermediate Genealogy at the South Bay Adult school for several years and one of his courses, “Solving the Ultimate Puzzle: Family History” was the 2011 LiveWell class for Intellectual Health. He has a Ph.D. in Engineering, is the President of the South Bay Cities Genealogical Society and is a member of NGS, APG and the Ohio Genealogical Society.

Eric’s advice to those considering certification is: “Commit yourself to preparing your portfolio starting now – you have everything to gain and you will grow immensely by doing so. Don’t create time pressure for yourself though, apply for certification when your portfolio is ready (I didn’t say perfect!).”

His genealogical heroes?

Elizabeth Shown Mills, who through her writing, taught me not to fear source citations; Thomas Jones, whose ability to find and communicate the simplest logical essence is inspirational; and the late John T. Humphrey who became an instant hero the first time I heard him speak in Ohio.

And one thing he’s still working on is efficiency. “Maybe some people have it innately,” he notes. “I’m learning those skills from my colleagues.”

His five-year plan includes transitioning from his first career to that of a full-time genealogical researcher and speaker.

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

Welcome to New Board-Certified Genealogist Clarise Soper

Clarise Soper

Clarise Soper of Heidelberg, Mississippi, became a Board-certified genealogist on 21 February 2014. She is an expert in Mississippi genealogy and loves working on families from the Civil War era.

A graduate of ProGen 14, Clarise says, “The program is invaluable because of the unbiased, constructive critiques you receive from fellow group members and guidance from the mentor—a Board-certified genealogist.” She recommends ProGen study to those who are thinking about becoming certified. Clarise is giving back to this study organization; she is now the Coordinator for ProGen 22.

Her genealogical heroes are Marcia Rice, her sister Beverly Rice, and Michael Grant Hait, Jr., CGSM, all of whom pushed her to think more analytically. It was Marcia she met first, in the food line. Clarise remembers lively discussions, nearly debates, with all three at the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research. Clarise also appreciates the support and coaching she got from Linda Woodward Geiger, CGSM, CGLSM, the Mentor for ProGen 14.

At the current time Clarise mixes both volunteer and paid work in genealogy. If there was one thing she would change, she would find more time for pro bono speaking engagements for the rural genealogical societies in Mississippi.

Clarise’s advice to those considering certification is this:

I probably hold the record for being “on the clock” the longest. I extended each time to keep my personal goal in the forefront while my life centered on being caregiver to my Mother who had Alzheimer’s. That five-year journey taught me patience and perseverance, attributes that helped me complete my portfolio. Don’t give up when life gets in the way of your dream!

 

 

Class of 2013: Melinda Daffin Henningfield

Melinda Daffin Henningfield

Among those earning the credential of Certified GenealogistSM in 2013 is Melinda Daffin Henningfield of Oregon, a retired nurse practitioner, who holds a B.A. in history education and B.S. and M.S. degrees in nursing.

Melinda began her interest in genealogy at an early age. Her mother and grandmother regaled her almost daily with family lore. Armed with tall tales, a mourning pin from the 1700s, and an undocumented, undated, and anonymous pedigree chart outlining her Daffin ancestors to William the Conqueror, Melinda began her studies in genealogy.

After the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course, ProGen 13, the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), the British Institute, and numerous courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Melinda is slowly unraveling her family legends and separating fact from fiction. And, she adds, “The process of preparing a portfolio is a learning experience that exceeds any I have had.”

Melinda’s advice for those thinking about pursuing certification is straightforward: “Explore the website of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The website contains everything needed for those thinking about certification.”

Her genealogical heroes include three former presidents of the Board for Certification of Genealogists: lecturer-educators Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, and Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, who were among those she heard at her first NGS conference in 2008, and “have dedicated much of their lives to teaching others lessons they have learned about genealogy and genealogical methods,” and Connie Miller Lenzen, CG, who was the “list Mom” for Melinda’s NGS Home Study Course and who “has taught … through her example the importance of giving back to the genealogical community.”

Asked where she sees herself in five years, Melinda says she hopes to be puzzling over her Confederado ancestors and their life in Brazil.

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