BCG Announces New Webinar Series!

The Board for Certification of Genealogists believes in education and would like to share with the public some of the expertise represented in BCG through a series of webinars.

Open to everyone who wants to improve their skills, these live webinars are set for 8 pm Eastern for the following dates:

Monday, September 22, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, will present “Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories.” Updated, retitled, and reorganized, genealogy standards first published in 2000 are now available in a new edition. The webinar will describe the changes and what they mean for all family historians. Dr. Jones teaches at three genealogy institutes, co-edits the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and is the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof.

To register for the September 22 webinar, please use this link:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8699013103252043265

On Wednesday, October 15, Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, will explain “Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation.” Requirement 7 of the BCG certification application asks for a Kinship Determination Project in which the applicant writes a three-generation narrative and explains how the relationships are documented. All genealogists do this regularly while placing relatives with their appropriate connections in the family tree. A familiar speaker at conferences across the country, Judy will coordinate the Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis course at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research in 2015.

To register for the October 15 webinar, please use this link:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4535381371678485505

Look for future announcements on other upcoming webinars on this blog. You may sign up on the sidebar for email notifications when a new post is written.

New Skillbuilding Documents and Audio Added to Website

Two new additions have been made to the BCGcertification.org website.

NEW DOCUMENT EXERCISES

Three documents have been posted on the Skillbuilding page so that they may be used to practice transcription and abstraction skills which are part of the requirements for certification. These are basic skills that every genealogist needs in order to read and understand old handwriting. Without being able to read the words and understand the archaic meanings, any analysis or further research may be faulty.

The answers to the documents are also posted, but don’t peek until you have tried the exercises yourself! Thank you, Nancy Peters, CG, and Kathy Sullivan, CG, for creating these examples at http://www.bcgcertification.org/skillbuilders/index.html.

NEW AUDIO TALKS

The last four audio recordings captured at the 2012 FGS conference have been uploaded. The BCG luncheon lecture by Pam Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, compares genealogy to skiing. Listen to her amusing talk at http://www.bcgcertification.org/certification/why.html and don’t miss her short audio clip at the bottom of the same page where she declares “I think I did it a little backwards though.”

Visit our Application Strategies webpage to hear Michael Hait, CG, and Harold Henderson, CG, as they each talk about their unsuccessful first application to BCG and the lessons they learned from it.

BCG is here to help the public understand standards and promote skillbuilding in all levels of genealogy. We hope these website improvements help further these goals.

New Books at NGS 2013: Jones on GPS and DeGrazia on NYC

The National Genealogical Society announced two new books at the conference in Las Vegas two weeks ago.

© 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

 

The National Genealogical Society announced publication of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, CGSM, CGLSM. It is a workbook for learning to use the Genealogical Proof Standard in our work. It can be ordered here.

Two types of online study groups have sprung up for those of us planning to use the book. Pat Richley-Erickson of DearMYRTLE fame established a group which uses Google+ Hangouts on Air to record to YouTube. It is all explained here. Angela McGhie of ProGen Study Group fame established small groups in a private setting. The GenProof groups are explained here, and in Angela’s blog.

 

 

 

 

© 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

 

Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CGSM, authored Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County, a new book in the NGS Research in the States Series. As Laura states in her introduction, 62% of the state’s population resides in this area. Settled in 1624, its deep history and large population make for a significantly complex research environment. Laura’s book is a clear explanation of the types of records available and how to find them.

Soon this book can be ordered here.

 

Certification: It’s Not All About Writing and Citing

Please welcome guest blogger Elizabeth Shown Mills, CGSM, CGLSM

© 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

Certification: A Measure of Our APR

Today’s hot topic seems to be Board certification and what it represents. Some opine that ‘it’s all about writing and citing, as opposed to sources.’

I see it differently. BCG certification is ‘all about’ analysis and problem resolution. It’s about

  1. our ability to analyze a research problem;
  2. our ability to analyze and interpret the relevant records we find; and
  3. our ability to analyze the body of evidence we’ve accumulated and reliably determine when and whether it resolves a difficult problem.

Of course, none of this is possible without a solid knowledge of sources for each problem. Of course, writing is the tool we use to explain our analyses. Of course, citations are needed to identify our evidence. However, as with our financial investments, the bottom line for our genealogical offerings is always our APR—our skills at analysis and problem resolution—and the level of security it represents. That is what a BCG credential represents.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG
Board-certified since 1976

BCG Ed Fund Leary Distinguished Lecture: Elizabeth Mills on “Can Trousers, Beds, and Other ‘Trivial Details’ Solve Genealogical Problems?”

Please welcome guest blogger Diane Gravel, CGSM.

As genealogical researchers, we routinely pore through records in pursuit of elusive ancestors, grabbing at apparent minutia, anything that might give us the answers we seek. But are we really gleaning all of the information and clues that lie buried in each document before moving on to the next record?

As interpreters of facts, nitpickers of every detail, innovators of new ways to understand records and apply data, we must spend the majority of our time analyzing every document we retrieve. The careful eye scrutinizes each scrap of paper in an estate accounting, noting the date of an order of velvet and fine pants, recognizing it as a likely death record. The careful eye scrutinizes tax rolls for clues of kinship among the neighbors. These are only a few of the examples used by Mills in demonstrating the fine art of record analysis.

This lecture, used with the syllabus material, easily stands alone as a course in evidence analysis. It’s one of those presentations that will be played and replayed, each time inspiring the listener to take another look at their own brick walls, in search of all those missed clues!

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session F312 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

From Diane’s profile at APG:

Diane is a full-time professional genealogist and lecturer, with emphasis on New Hampshire research. She is a graduate (with honors) of NGS’s American Genealogy: A Basic Course, and attended both the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (Advanced Methodology and Military Records) at Samford University and the National Institute on Genealogical Research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

 

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Richard Sayre on “Genealogical Applications of Historical Geographical Information Systems”

Putting historical context into our family stories is impossible until we know the geography of their lives. Over what paths did they migrate? Where did they live? The term “geographical information system” is daunting, but Rick Sayre shepherded us through the details. He showed us that we don’t have to be GIS professionals to use these tools in our research.

Google Earth is a tool geared to the non-GIS professional. Rick showed us several examples in which historic maps were linked to the Google mapping system. That was just one of more than a half dozen such systems Rick demonstrated. One beautiful use of GIS is the Arlington National Cemetery’s system, available for browsers and smartphones at http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/GravesiteLocator/GravesiteLocator.aspx.

Once we look at visual mapping of geography, there are a myriad of resources. You don’t have to create GIS from scratch. Rick’s syllabus material included three pages listing websites to help us map ancestors around the world. The tools and techniques that Rick shared were just the thing for my family stories.

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session F321 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

 

 

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Pamela Boyer Sayre on “Enough is Enough! Or Is It?”

Pam Sayre’s lecture took place in the last time slot of the last day of the convention. The title certainly fit the time slot although she asserted that it was created long before the schedule was made. Pam’s sense of humor lifted our spirits after four intense days of learning.

The lecture covered three topic areas. Pam made sure that we understood the fundamental concepts of document analysis. She stepped us through the process of writing about what we find as soon as we find it. She also brought us on her trip of discovery, showing us how to make a research plan and revise it as we find documents.

What resonated in Pam’s presentation was the tenacity and will to keep on researching when the first few tries come up empty. Just because a county is burned doesn’t mean that there aren’t records. Just because a person was dishonorably discharged doesn’t mean there isn’t a pension application record. Just because there is no gravestone doesn’t mean there are no funeral home records. With every disappointment, Pam showed us how to re-engage with our research.

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session S451 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Barbara Mathews on “Not Quite Right: Recognizing Errors”

© 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

Please welcome guest blogger ____, CGSM

No, that welcome message is not a mistake. I put out two email calls to Board-certified genealogists requesting guest bloggers. Instantly many people stepped forward and scooped up speeches by Tom Jones, Judy Russell, and Elizabeth Shown Mills. My own presentation waited and waited … {{shaking head in embarrassment}}.

It’s not quite fair for me to review my presentation. I’m not unbiased, am I? I thought about putting a third frantic request out to the Board-certified associates, but then I decided to blog about what it is like to give a speech at a big genealogy conference. It seemed a better route to take than to risk a third rejection.

The process began more than a year earlier, when I answered the Call for Proposals from NGS. I used the “console” to enter the required data, from my contact information, biography, and experience as a speaker to the title, an outline, and a brief description of the speech itself. I then waited until I was contacted by the Program Chair several months later. I had to sign a contract. I also decided to approve having the sessions recorded by JAMB-Inc.

There were two more milestones. About three months before the conference, I had to send in my handout/syllabus material. I made sure to format it as required to fit properly in the syllabus, and to email a pdf version. That gave me time to polish my speeches using PowerPoint software.

The final milestone was to show up and deliver the speeches. This meant packing my own projector and computer, including lugging them through airport security and stuffing them into storage bins on the packed airplane. I made my own flight booking, but NGS booked two room nights for me. I extended that booking to include the full conference. I invested in flight costs and five nights at the hotel. The trip meant adding on other costs, such as parking in Boston, taxis to and from the Las Vegas hotel, and meals. On the plus side, my convention registration was gratis and I got a check for both speeches. In total, I will have to spend more money that I take in, but the overall conference costs are reduced because my speeches were accepted for the program.

Butterflies in my stomach? Totally. I used the nervous energy to go over the PowerPoint slides and to reread the speeches — as well as to arrive in plenty of time for each speech. I set up my projector, set up my computer, and used the convention center’s built-in cabling to connect them. The Las Vegas Hotel Convention Center supplied an A/V specialist who checked in with me before each speech to ensure that all was in working order. In addition, JAMB-Inc sent a man to double-check the recording device and put in a fresh CD. Once I got the thumbs-up from him, I was free to begin.

The errors speech needed tuning up the week of the convention. I wanted to make sure that the discussion of sources, information, and evidence was in parallel with a newly published book on genealogical proof.[1] There were about 50 or 60 people there to hear the lecture. They took notes earnestly, so I felt that the revision effort was well worth it. Once it was over, I packed as quickly as I could so that the next presenter could set up.

My speech on recognizing errors is meant for those beginning to work with the terminology used for sources, information, and evidence. I went over the various terms carefully, explaining what each meant and how it is useful to document analysis and evidence evaluation.

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session S441 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

 

[1] Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013). It can be ordered online http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/mastering_genealogical_proof from the National Genealogical Society. It is a workbook. You read a chapter on a topic and then work on the questions at the end of the chapter. The topics I discussed are in Chapter 2.

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Julie Miller on “Using Emigrant Guides for Genealogical Research”

Today Julie Miller, CGSM, opened my eyes to a whole group of sources that I had missed in documenting my family’s westward migration, the Emigrant Guides. They could be published in English or in the immigrant’s original language. Often steamship companies published the guides. There are guides for people contemplating moving to the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. There are reverse guides as well, for people in the British Commonwealth contemplating moving to the U.K.

When my mother and I planned our trip to Sweden and Denmark in 1978, we asked Grandma Anderson where the family came from. She said Minnesota. Inspired by Julie, I located an early Minnesota Emigrant Guide. Many of the great information Julie discussed is there. Chapter 16 discusses why people move to the “northwest.” Chapters 17 and 18 are about buying land there. I guess I have some reading planned after I get home.

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session S411 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Elissa Scalise Powell on “Baker’s Dozen Steps to Writing Research Reports”

Who should be writing research reports? Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, gave the audience four choices:

  1. Professional genealogists?
  2. Family historians?
  3. Hobbyists?
  4. All of the above!

And the answer is “All of us!” By putting the documents we find into a logical structure, they make it more likely that the discoveries we have made will be understood by researchers in the generations to come.

Elissa gave us not one but two baker’s dozens of delightful sweets. She showed us the thirteen elements that comprise a complete research report. Then she took us through thirteen steps to complete that report. She advocates combining writing and researching as-you-go and showed us why this worked so well for professionals in particular.

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session S401 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.