Gale Williams Bamman, Certified Genealogist Emeritus

In May 2015 Gale Williams Bamman of Cross Plains, Tennessee, was granted BCG’s honorary designation Certified Genealogist Emeritus, in recognition of more than forty years of noteworthy involvement with BCG. First certified in 1972 as Genealogical Record Searcher (GRS), Gale earned three additional BCG credentials: Certified American Lineage Specialist in 1977, Certified Genealogist in 1982, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer in 1995. She served as BCG trustee and president. At the time of receiving Certified Genealogist Emeritus, she was the longest actively-credentialed associate.

Gale Williams Bamman, Certified Genealogist Emeritus

When Gale began taking clients for research, she was hesitant to call herself a professional genealogist. “I didn’t consider that a title I could just assume. I felt I needed approval from some authority, and the fairly newly-organized Board for Certification of Genealogists (1964) seemed the perfect avenue for that,” she said. “The instructions I received in 1972 were daunting, because of my general lack of education in the field and my being somewhat self-taught. . . . There was no BCG application guide, no seminars or local speakers, and no national conferences. How-to guides were some years down the pike, other than Gilbert Doane’s Searching for Your Ancestors, first published in 1960, and which I’d consumed.”

Her application for GRS was approved. Receiving word of her success, Gale said, “was one of my happiest moments; and it proved to be a momentous move upward in my career. . . .  I could then say I was a professional, but I’d add—as I continue to do today—that I still had much to learn. I should here state what is obvious: that no one today could pass BCG’s certification requirements based on the limited knowledge I had in 1972; and with the myriad forms of instruction and study available now, it would be counter-productive, anyway, to limit oneself to basically one’s own experiences in genealogical research.”

Gale has seen the field grow and change over the years. She is excited about FamilySearch’s initiative to digitize and index their holdings, and is gratified to see the increasing recognition of genealogy’s importance to fields such as history, medicine, and genetics. On the other hand, she is concerned about some of the information found online—trees without proper documentation or proofs, and the transitory nature of some websites and records.

Like the field in general, BCG continues to evolve. “Over the forty-plus years that I have held BCG credentials,” Gale remarked, “BCG’s influence has grown significantly, and the certification process has received extensive deliberation and refining. More-specific requirements and stronger qualifications are increasingly required. None of the eight application and renewal portfolios I submitted were easy to prepare. Each required careful consideration as to which of my client reports or journal articles would best reflect my knowledge and abilities as a researcher. I mailed each and every one with sweaty palms and fluttering heartbeat.”

Associates facing their first renewal often question how best to prepare. Gale advises, “It’s very important that you address all points discussed by your judges as ones needing improvement or correction, and demonstrate in your submissions as to how you’ve improved. During the five years prior to your renewal, continue your studies and attendance at seminars and conferences, or avail yourself of tapes from those. Consider attending a genealogical institute. Conferences and seminars are ideal for networking and for learning about myriad topics; but there’s much to be absorbed, to the point that sometimes attendees can return home with a certain amount of information-overload. Institutes offer structured classes that can help you retain what you learn.”

Gale suggests that those contemplating an initial application for certification “have sufficient research background and education so that you understand the application’s requirements. If you don’t grasp what is required of you, it will be quite difficult to present submissions that will meet with the judges’ approval.”  She suggests genealogists hold off filing preliminary applications until they feel they are ready “or are very close.” Gale continues, “Sample, but actual, BCG portfolios are available at national conferences, where you can study approved submissions. You can have an edge up if you avail yourselves of those. And, by all means, study Genealogy Standards, by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2014); Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace  (Third Edition, 2015), by Elizabeth Shown Mills; and Mastering Genealogical Proof (2013), by Tom Jones—to name the top guide books—until the principles in those  become second-nature to you.”

Now retired from professional research, Gale has taken on a project as a fundraiser for the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society: an in-depth book on the history of Nashville, Tennessee’s earliest charitable organizations. “I’ve always enjoyed learning more about social and historical aspects— something clients expected me to know about each of their locations. I couldn’t spend their time learning that, but had to apply myself to learning, when and as I could,” she revealed. Gale’s desire to keep learning—after spending more than four decades gaining knowledge and improving her skills—is only one of the things that set her apart.

On behalf of BCG and the genealogical community, thank you, Gale, for sharing your time, your energy, your expertise, and your viewpoints to help the rest of us grow.


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. Certified Genealogist Emeritus is also a service mark of BCG, offered to Board-certified genealogists who have had long and distinguished careers with BCG and who are retired from research for clients and from the profession of genealogy for more than incidental monetary gain. The board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Free BCG Webinar: Manuscript Gems with Shellee A. Morehead

Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 8:00 p.m. EDT, Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D., CG, will present “Diamonds in the Rough: Finding and Using Manuscript Collections.”

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

Unique, unpublished materials can be valuable resources for solving those pesky genealogical problems and adding insight and flavor to our family histories. Research is not complete without looking through unusual and one-of-a-kind materials that may be available for the time and place our ancestors lived. Diaries, letters, journals, scrapbooks, and other ephemera can be found in a variety of repositories across the United States. A genealogical society, public or private library, historical society, university, or other entity may have that one piece of paper that illuminates our family’s history. But how can we  find it?

Shellee Morehead, Ph.D., CG

This lecture describes the types of collections that may be hiding in plain sight and how to access them online and in person. Materials that may be found in manuscript collections include maps, photographs, genealogists’ research notes, unpublished histories, business ledgers, journals, and vertical files. Shellee gives examples of how these materials provide insight into our families’ lives and neighborhoods and provides suggestions on where to find the “diamonds in the rough.”

Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D. (evolutionary ecology), CG, researches, writes, and lectures on family history. Recently she has written about using DNA to reveal the Ulster origins of Thomas Hamilton, progenitor of a colonial American family. She has spoken at The Genealogy Event in New York and at various local societies. She also appeared in a 2010 episode of the Danish television adaptation of Who Do You Think You Are?

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

To register for Shellee A. Morehead, Ph.D., CG, “Diamonds in the Rough: Finding and Using Manuscript Collections” on 21 July 2015, 8:00 p.m. EDT (7:00 CDT, 6:00 MDT, 5:00 PDT): https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1093371223246598658.

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

BCG Webinars will be on vacation in August 2015. We will resume broadcast in September 2015.

CG and Certified Genealogist 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.

Harold Henderson, CG: Analyze or Else!

SpringBoard is pleased to offer a post by guest blogger Harold Henderson, CG. Harold has been a professional writer since 1979, a professional genealogist since 2009, and a Board-certified genealogist since June 2012. He lives and works in northwest Indiana, serves as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and has published in National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), New England Historical and Genealogical Register, New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and elsewhere. His website is midwestroots.net.

Analyze or Else! by Harold Henderson, CG

Genealogists who meet standards do so in part by asking pointed, even impolite, questions about every document and piece of information they see. It’s called analysis. Genealogists who don’t meet standards do so by trusting everything they see, and not asking questions. And anyone who is still this trusting is not ready to apply for certification.

As ambitious genealogists, we need to know how to analyze sources. We need to do it all the time—and we need to feel queasy when we don’t. The example that follows involves no difficult problem, requires no unusual skill, and would not normally appear in a peer-reviewed genealogy journal. It shows the pitfalls of trusting the first source we find and the benefits of carefully analyzing all information from all sources.

Eliphas Thrall gravestone, courtesy of Jennifer Alford

Recently I wanted to document Eliphas Thrall’s birth date. His grave marker in Ohio gives his death date (19 March 1834) and his age at death (65 years, 8 months, 19 days).[1] This information does not determine a single definite birth date. Different methods of subtracting produce slightly different birth dates for Eliphas, between 28 and 30 June 1768.[2]

Case closed? No. I did not ask myself, “Is this true or false?” And if I had it wouldn’t have helped much. Sometimes grave markers and statements of age are mistaken, and sometimes they aren’t. I had to get down to a deeper level and consider the factors that would make the birth date more likely to be one or the other.

Whoever provided the information for the marker probably was not present for Eliphas’s birth in New England, and probably knew Eliphas’s birth date only by hearsay. That person might also have taken Eliphas’s supposed birth date and gone through a complex calculation, filled with chances of error, to figure his age at death. Could I find a way to get information about the birth that is closer in time to the event, more likely to come from an eyewitness?

I knew the family came from Connecticut and had lived in western Massachusetts. The published vital records of Granville, Massachusetts, give Eliphas’s birth date as 23 June 1767—more than a year earlier than the calculated dates from the grave marker.[3]

Case closed? Not. The book was published in 1914. Some conscientious twentieth-century person read through the Granville birth records (or a copy), and summarized them. Then they were typeset. That leaves plenty of chances for mistakes. So this handy, easily read published list is a derivative source. What do I do with a derivative source? Try to find what it’s derived from.

Do the original birth records for Granville survive from around 1767? Not only do they survive, they’re on line.[4]

The 1914 summarizer didn’t make any mistakes that I can see, but some information was lost in the process. The original lists the children in chronological order with a note in the middle making it easier to see that Eliphas was the last child born in Windsor, Connecticut, and his brother, two years later, was the first in the family to be born in Granville, Massachusetts. The handwriting also enables me to see that the entire list down to James was written in the same hand and with the same pen, no doubt at the same time—after the birth of Mary in 1775 and before the birth of James in 1778, which is in a different hand. So now I know that Eliphas’s birth date was written down, perhaps at the dictation of his father, between those two dates, before Eliphas had grown up.

Looking at the adjoining pages suggests that some of the top-of-page entries like the Thralls’ may have been made in sequence in the 1770s, with space left on the lower part of each page for additional children. Evidently in time a clerk went back and saved paper by filling the blank spaces with later entries.

What did my questions get me? Higher-quality evidence than I would have had if I had settled for the grave marker or the 1914 publication. The Granville record is not contemporaneous with Eliphas’s birth, but it is as close as I have been able to come so far. The Granville informant was much more likely to have been around when Eliphas was born than the tombstone informant. So unless and until new evidence appears to corroborate either 28–30 June 1768 or 23 June 1767 (and it may appear as I follow Eliphas to Vermont and Ohio), the chance of the 1768 date being wrong is greater.

This chase would have been worthwhile even if all three sources agreed right down to the day. The point is to look as hard as we can—and in genealogy that does not mean staring at the page until our eyes cross. It means recognizing that there are more questions to be asked and often more and better records to find.

Analysis is not a frill—and not always this straightforward. It is at the heart of what we do.


[1] Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 10 June 2015), memorial 19,659,389, Eliphas Thrall (d. 1834), Old Colony Burying Ground, Granville, Licking County, Ohio.

[2] RootsMagic and timeanddate.com give 28 June; calculator.net gives 30 June. The late lamented Master Genealogist program always indicated the result was approximate. A very full explanation is Barbara Levergood, “Calculating and Using Dates and Date Ranges,” NGSQ 102 (March 2014): 51–73. The inevitable variance is discussed on p. 52.

[3] Vital Records of Granville, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1914), 85; Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/cu31924028820609 : viewed 10 June 2015).

[4]  Town of Granville (Massachusetts), Town Records, Births, Marriages, Deaths 1751-1786, Samuel Thrall family, p. 114; digital image, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11883-59149-92?cc : viewed 10 June 2015).

CG and Certified Genealogist 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.

Skillbuilding: Mills on Using the FAN Club with the GPS and DNA

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2015 NGS Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this Skillbuilding lecture, presented Friday, 15 May 2015:

F311: Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver’s Great Trifecta,” reviewed by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL.

This lecture’s program brochure description reads, “Can you really ‘prove’ a maternal line when, for four straight generations, absolutely no document identifies a parent or sibling? This session shows you how.” And does it ever!

Mills begins with an explanation of the acronyms in her lecture title and their concepts:

  • Studying a woman’s FAN (friends, associates, and neighbors) club requires following the males in her life and involves anyone within her lifetime contacts.
  • The GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) includes reasonably extensive research—not just searching for a document that may not exist. Careful and targeted research should pull together bits and pieces to form the larger puzzle picture. Careful recording and skilled analysis are integral to the GPS, as are resolution of any conflicts and a written proof argument to explain the analysis and conclusion.
  • Y-line, mitochondrial, autosomal, and X-chromosome DNA-test results enable the genealogist to scientifically assess the conclusions reached on the basis of the FAN club research and the GPS.

With her audience understanding the tools, Mills builds a case using them. First she relates some of the missteps of her earlier genealogical years, such as ignoring records from those in the subject’s FAN club. Who would have thought that the key to breaking the case was an orphan’s sister’s husband’s stepmother’s sister’s father’s second wife?  Mills also gives tips for working in burned counties, such as reading every page of surviving and reconstructed records—even those for the time period after the family moved away.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

As the story of the research unfolds and the wonderful charts are presented and explained, readers of National Genealogical Society Quarterly hear a ring of familiarity. Part of Mills’s story was published there and in multiple research reports on Mills’s Historic Pathways website.[1]  The reports lay out the FAN-club research that could not be included in the published article. After years of research, only two of the four generations of Mills’s reconstruction met the GPS, in her view. At this point DNA evidence was needed.

After running tests on herself and her brother, Mills proceeded to contact all DNA and surname matches. Through her research, she identified descendants of a suspected sister in each hypothetical generation and asked each to do mitochondrial and autosomal DNA tests. The descendants matched on all defined markers. The resulting triangulation of multiple lines of descent supported the reconstructed lineage through four generations of women, even though paper research can prove only Mills’s connection to her grandmother.

In the end it took FAN + GPS + DNA to make a solid case: FAN to find the massive amounts of data; GPS to test the theories; and DNA evidence to add scientific confidence to the conclusions. Laid out in understandable terms and with the visual diagrams needed to track the research progress, Mills hit the trifecta of giving her audience an understandable case study in proof, evidence, and techniques.

“FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver’s Great Trifecta,” session F311, was recorded by Jamb Tapes, Inc.

In addition, this lecture is part of Track 2, “Methodology Techniques,” of the NGS On-demand Live-streaming package. It can be purchased at: http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/, with access through 10 August 2015.


[1] Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Testing the FAN Principle against DNA: Zilphy (Watts) Price Cooksey Cooksey of Georgia and Mississippi,” NGSQ 102 (June 2014): 129–52. For the eight underlying reports that have been posted, see Elizabeth Shown Mills, Historic Pathways (http://www.historicpathways.com), “Research” tab, “Genealogical Reports: Cooksey.”

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.

Skillbuilding: Ann Fleming’s Cast of Characters

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2015 NGS Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this Skillbuilding lecture, presented Friday, 15 May 2015:

F301: Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS, “Problem Solving: Using a Cast of Characters,” reviewed by Melissa A. Johnson, CG.

In her problem-solving lecture, Ann Carter Fleming demonstrates how genealogists can use Elizabeth Shown Mills’s “FAN” principle to learn more about their ancestors.

She emphasizes that all researchers—not just professionals—should put this concept into practice to break down brick walls. She also notes the importance of reasonably exhaustive research, and that this approach should be used for difficult problems that cannot be solved with direct evidence. “If it’s easy, don’t bother with this,” she tells the audience.

Ann likens her research subject’s FAN club (friends, associates, and neighbors) to John Wayne’s “cast of characters”—the bartender, hotel owner, and sheriff, to name a few. She believes that every research subject has a cast of characters—the group of people who surrounds him or her. She encourages her listeners to discover who these people are and to study them in depth. “Research unrelated people . . . as vigorously as you do your own,” she says.

Ann goes through her step-by-step process for discovering and researching an ancestor’s “cast of characters.” She covers the initial research phase, how to gather facts, different ways to organize information, and, of course, citing sources. She uses examples from several families to illustrate her points. Ann also warns researchers that this process may take time, but looking at an ancestor’s “cast of characters” will lead to records that otherwise may have been undiscovered. Thank you, Ann, for sharing your expertise through this informative lecture.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Jamb Tapes, Inc.

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.

Skillbuilding: Dunn on Indirect Evidence

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2015 NGS Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this Skillbuilding lecture, presented Saturday, 16 May 2015:

S442: Victor S. “Vic” Dunn, CG, “Beating the Odds: Using Indirect Evidence in Problem Solving,” reviewed by Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG

Vic Dunn, CG

Vic Dunn’s informative lecture focuses on using indirect evidence to solve genealogical problems. Evidence, “a tentative answer to a research question,” may be accurate or incorrect and it may be direct or indirect. Direct evidence is information that states the answer to a research question, while indirect evidence must be combined with at least one other piece of information to answer the question at hand. Vic reminds us that negative evidence—the absence of what we expect to see under a given set of circumstances—may be important in solving a genealogical problem. For example, if a man is not listed in a certain tax list, it might indicate that he moved away from the area.

Vic walks through five examples of problems that were solved using indirect evidence. The examples include cases where relationship linkages were used and cases where relationship linkages were not available. In the latter, research focuses on the subject’s associates. Vic also presents an example where direct evidence is available, but was obtained from questionable derivative sources.

The talk concludes with a reminder that to correctly solve a problem, all relevant evidence must be correlated; source citations must be complete and accurate; conflicting evidence must be resolved; and a sound conclusion must be written. These are the last four criteria of the Genealogical Proof Standard. The first is to conduct a reasonably exhaustive search, and it appears that Vic has done just that in his examples. Thank you, Vic, for this instructive presentation.

A recording of this lecture may be purchased through Jamb Tapes, Inc.

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.

Skillbuilding: Hare on Building Better Citations

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2015 NGS Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this Skillbuilding lecture, presented Thursday, 14 May 2015:

T241: Alison Hare, CG, “Building Better Citations,” reviewed by Michael Ramage, J.D., CG

Alison Hare, CG, presented a most insightful session on the art of constructing citations.

The emphasis of this talk is reference notes, as they are oft used in genealogy. From creation of notes to the placement of citations in writings, it is covered here. She starts out with an image of an ancient Inukshuk, which Alison shows us is analogous to the use of citations: the columns should have the strength to hold up the manuscript.

After going through the must-have books (Genealogy Standards, Evidence Explained, and Mastering Genealogical Proof), Alison provides useful “basic principles” in a very clear, concise manner. She presents the parts and common elements of citations, and provides visuals that add to the learning experience. For example, her slide “Internet citations: the core” breaks down the subject matter to its most understandable elements.

All of the major aspects of citations are covered in this talk. A discussion on source quality gets to the proper methods to express the reliability of various sources.

Editorial tools, common elements, convention and logic, layers, consistency, and precision: they are all covered here. Thank you, Alison.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Jamb Tapes, Inc.

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.

Skillbuilding: Miller on the Anatomy of a Military Pension

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2015 NGS Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this skillbuilding lecture, presented Wednesday, 13 May 2015:

W141: Julie Miller, CG, “Anatomy of a Military Pension,” reviewed by Darcie Hind Posz, CG

Julie Miller is organized and methodical. Her lecture on evaluating a military pension file takes the listener step by step through the process of acquiring the file, then arranging, processing, organizing, and analyzing its contents. She tells us how to acquire a copy of the file and helps us to understand what information is in the pension file.

Miller provides tips, such as how arranging the documents chronologically and separating the pensioner’s file from the widow’s file can organize the data. She reminds us to place a citation *somewhere* on the document, to number each document (in brackets) at the beginning of the citation, and to cite each document (in addition to the general citation).

Miller guides us to create an inventory, an itemized list of documents. She provides a great inventory template in the NGS Conference Syllabus. (The template would also be pretty amazing for large probate packets and court records, and I plan to use it for that purpose in the future.) This wonderful spreadsheet in expanded format is available for free at her website.

The next steps of the review process are to

  • read each document several times, including the boilerplate, until the purpose of each is understood,
  • transcribe each record (because transcribing is the “foundation of thorough analysis” and will help us catch nuances),
  • create an abstract.

As we analyze and evaluate, we consider each document’s purpose, the source type, and the reliability of the information it provides. If we are working on a specific research question, we consider what evidence the information offers. Additional resources we might review include pension acts and laws.

The subject examples are well illustrated and described for both in-person attendees and audio recordings. This lecture is available from Jamb Tapes, Inc. It enhances learning about transcribing and abstracting records.

 

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.

Skillbuilding: Little on Lesser-Known Documents

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2015 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this Skillbuilding lecture, presented Wednesday, 13 May 2015.

W121: Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, “But I’ve Looked Everywhere!”
Reviewed by Darcie Hind Posz, CG

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS

We create a lot of our own brick walls by making assumptions. We consult the usual sources, such as censuses, vital records, and wills. Each supplies information that may apply to what we are researching. Censuses document family members, ages, relationships, and places of residence and birth. Vital records furnish ages for civil and military service. Wills can sprout numerous other records that grow into new information. Barbara Vines Little’s lecture makes researchers think beyond what is originally known, to branch out from that point. The records and resources described give listeners a list of items to obtain, consult, and apply to their own research questions. Little provides examples for each type of record discussed.

What if we have looked everywhere and evidence either does not exist or does not answer what we want to know? We can find alternate sources by following an event, document, or person. An event may not be reported in a particular record, but Little offers several workarounds. For example, a deed may identify a tract or owner. Tracking people on adjacent lands may turn up additional records for all.

Consider the unusual, and read other people’s research. Check what they looked at, what they found, and whether you could apply the approach to your research. Collect state, regional, and local histories while looking for unique records, and check out the sources used by the authors of those histories.

Remember that documents can show up in random places, either far from where they were created or nearby but hidden. When located, these documents can be abstracted or transcribed for others to use.

Re-evaluate your conclusions. Why did you decide they were so?

Little recommends broad research. This approach’s effectiveness is demonstrated in lectures and complex case studies, such as those in the NGS Quarterly. There is no silver bullet when it comes to solving genealogical puzzles, but this lecture provides tangible examples that make us ponder the common problems and brick walls we face with our own ancestors.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Jamb Tapes, Inc.

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

Free BCG Webinar: James M. Baker on Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles

James M. Baker, PhD, CG

On Tuesday, 17 March, James M. Baker, PhD, CG, will present “Elementary, My Dear Watson!  Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have.”

What can a genealogist do when key direct evidence is missing or inadequate? The Board for Certification of Genealogists will present a webinar on this question free to the public at 8 p.m. EDT 17 March 2015.  James M. Baker, PhD, CG, will offer step-by-step approaches for using inferential and analytic thinking to solve these challenging genealogy problems, including the use of naming patterns, birth/marriage witness data, inheritance data, sibling research, timelines, and family migrations.

Mr. Baker, an active genealogist for the past fifteen years, completed the requirements to become a BCG associate in 2011. He specializes in German, Midwest U.S., and early American research. He was an officer of the Sacramento German Genealogy Society (SGGS) and has contributed numerous articles to its quarterly, Der Blumenbaum. He also has written articles for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Magazine and the NGS Quarterly.  He is a member of NGS and SGGS. For the past ten years, he has volunteered at the Sacramento FamilySearch Library. In 2014, he presented ten different webinars at the library that were webcast to other libraries throughout northern California; he also presented a recent webinar for the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree community.  He has given more than 100 genealogy presentations during the past three years at local, regional, and national events.

Mr. Baker earned a PhD in sociology and social psychology from the University of Utah. He is retired from an aerospace and business management career in which he consulted for many large companies, including AT&T, Boeing, Cessna, Fiat, General Electric, Honeywell, Lockheed-Martin, Magnavox, Raytheon, and Unisys. He has been an adjunct professor of sociology at UCLA and USC. His most fun job was being the “piano-man” at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor.

There is no charge for the webinar, but space is limited. To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2391757013757559042

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact: Nicki Birch, CG, office@BCGcertification.org.


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.