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.

 

Eric Hedrick Receives 2013 Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Virginia Research

Announcement from the BCG Education Fund:

Eric Hedrick is the winner of the 2013 Donald Mosher Memorial Award for his digital publication Historical Documents from Augusta County, Virginia: Judgments. Sixth in his series on digitization of the county’s documents, it is expected to be available by 1 July 2013. The annual $500 Mosher Award rewards and funds scholarly colonial Virginia research. It is funded by Merrill Hill Mosher, CGSM, in honor of her late husband. Award criteria is available here. The annual deadline is 31 December. It is not too soon for interested genealogists to consider preparing a submission.

Upon being notified of his winning entry, Eric responded, “I’m thrilled beyond words. I really enjoy digitizing historic records, and being chosen to receive the Mosher Award validates my feelings of the work’s importance.”

Eric has published more than twenty-seven other CD-ROMs of historical document images, making available sources that traditionally are obscure and difficult to access. A thirty-year resident of Virginia, Eric’s research efforts focus on Virginia and West Virginia resources. Other works in progress are a Hedrick genealogy and a compilation of Virginia and West Virginia signature images. He recently discovered 1865 vital records of Pendleton County, West Virginia, and offers free viewing at his website. Eric serves as webmaster of the Pendleton County Historical Society and has instructed guitar and piano students for more than twenty years.

The BCG Education Fund, founded in 2000 as an independent non-profit charitable trust, advances the educational aims of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® by funding learning programs consistent with standards promulgated by the Board and by providing incentives for study and scholarly research in accordance with the Board’s standards.

BCG Education Fund Workshop: Putting Historical Context and Migration into Your Family History

Yesterday saw the successful completion of another full-day, preconference workshop sponsored by the BCG Education Fund. The Putting Skills to Work event focuses on sound genealogical methodology. Each day consists of six hours of genealogical workshops in which students have the opportunity to interact with teachers and each other, and to perform hands-on learning.

The National Genealogical Society’s conference blog covered the event. You can see photos by going to the blog at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/2013/05/bcg-education-fund-workshop-big-hit.html. Thanks for the coverage, NGS!

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Elizabeth Shown Mills to present Leary Distinguished Lecture at NGS 2013

The BCG Education Fund announced that the 2013 Leary Distinguished Lecturer at the NGS Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, is Elizabeth Shown Mills, CGSM, CGLSM, FASG, NGS, FUGA, who poses a provocative question: “Can Trousers, Beds, and Other ‘Trivial Details’ Solve Genealogical Problems?” Her answer is, Yes! All can create solutions to brickwall problems. She will present the lecture at 9:30 AM on Friday, May 10th.

Elizabeth Mills, who has emphasized research methodology and evidence analysis throughout her long career, is a master at drawing clues from seemingly trivial details. In the 2013 Leary Distinguished Lecture, she presents a series of brick wall problems involving identity and parentage. For each, she demonstrates ways to develop solutions from minutiae found in everyday records, including black domestics and tacks, housekeeping bills, trousers, beds, and more.

Mills is a historical researcher and writer who has spent her life studying American culture and the relationships between people—emotional as well as genetic. A popular lecturer and past president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the international Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth is the author, editor, and translator of thirteen books and over 500 journal and magazine articles in genealogy, history, literature, and sociology. Aside from her 2004 reality-based historical novel, Isle of Canes (which Historical Novels Review called a “masterpiece” and other reviews dubbed “a cross between Roots and Gone with the Wind”), Mills is best known for Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (a Library Journal “Best Reference 2007”) and the textbook Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers & Librarians. Interviews with Elizabeth Mills are featured in the National Genealogical Society’s popular video series “Paths To Your Past” at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.

The Leary lecture series, initiated in 2007, honors Helen F.M. Leary of North Carolina, Certified Genealogist Emeritus and a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, known for her richly informative and entertaining lectures on methodology, law, writing, and the art of lecturing.

Throughout her distinguished career, Helen F.M. Leary has worked to educate all serious genealogists. Helen embodies personal and professional work standards that the BCG Education Fund seeks to emulate and to instill in those practicing the art and science of genealogy.

Graphic courtesy of the National Genealogical Society.

BCG Ed Fund Workshop, Part 3

Connie Lenzen, CGSM, “Walk in Your Ancestor’s Footsteps”

Connie Lenzen’s genealogical career began when her grandmother brought some old diaries down from the attic. The question, “Have you seen what is in Grandpa’s diary?” opened up a world of mystery and intrigue as she pieced together the family stories. It led her to discover the fascination of placing ancestors in time and place. It made history into a real entity because her people were surrounded by that history.

Connie is certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and a past trustee and president of that organization. She is a member of the BCG Outreach Committee and list administrator for the BCG ACTION mail list.

Connie has served as a National Genealogical Society Director, and lead editor and writer of the NGS Home Study Course. She authored the NGS Research in the States guide, “Research in Oregon, ” and has written articles for the award-winning NGS Quarterly. Her articles are analyzed and discussed by several online study groups who are in training to become board-certified genealogists.

Connie has served on the boards of local and state genealogical societies and has provided volunteer service for many other societies. She operates a genealogical research company, Lenzen Research. Her favorite projects are those where the people are placed in historical context.

BCG Ed Fund Workshop, Part 2

Beverly Rice, CGSM, “The Path To Change And A Better Life—Migration”

Beverly Rice will lead a session on “The Path To Change And A Better Life—Migration.” Migration is more than a trail and the lives of a family; it is the growth of a country, the settling of a nation, and the creating of history. It is a whole package, not just one element. Without historical context, a life account is barren with only names, dates, and locations; the history is there for us to discover.

Beverly Rice is a teacher and lecturer in historical and genealogical topics with a special interest in western migration, women’s experiences in the West, and research methodology with an emphasis on breaking down brick walls by getting the most from each record. She received her bachelor’s degree from Portland State University in social science with an emphasis on women’s studies and United States history.

In her first career, Beverly was associated with the banking industry. She currently serves on the board of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), as the Director of American Studies and Director of Curriculum Development for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, and as volunteer liaison and coordinator of the Mosher Award under the aegis of the BCG Education Fund. Beverly is a popular lecturer in the APG’s webinar series Discussion Group Meetings. Additionally, she teaches genealogy and banking courses at a local community college on a part-time basis and beginning in 1981, continues to serve as a volunteer librarian for the Coos Bay Family History Center. She is a former trustee and treasurer for the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She qualified as a board-certified genealogist in 1998. In Beverly’s shadow life, she and her husband, Gary Goodson, own and operate the Pancake Mill Restaurant on the beautiful Oregon Coast.

Historical Context Takes Center Stage at 2013 BCG Ed Fund Workshop, Part 1

 

Putting Skills To Work is a unique full-day, hands-on workshop limited to sixty participants. The focus is skills needed by anyone practicing serious genealogical research whether as a family historian, librarian, dedicated hobbyist, or writer. The sessions are geared to intermediate and advanced practitioners and advocate professional standards.

Putting Skills To Work sessions occur the day prior to the opening of the National Genealogical Society Conference. It is not necessary to register for the entire NGS Conference to participate. The $110 registration fee includes two in-depth presentations, hands-on exercises, syllabus, handouts, and lunch. Sessions typically book to capacity before the NGS Conference’s Early Bird registration deadline.

The 2013 Putting Skills To Work is scheduled for 8:00 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 7 May, at Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2013 Putting Skills To Work is led by Beverly Rice, CGSM, and Connie Lenzen, CGSM.The two sessions, discussed in follow-up posts, will consider historical context and migration stories.

Standard 24 of the BCG Standards Manual will form the framework for the day. Within the Evidence Evaluation genealogical standards, Standard 24 focuses on context, an essential element to understanding documents.[1] The workshop will help attendees to find and integrate historical topics and transcontinental migration into their family histories.

The NGS online brochure discusses the workshop at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/bcgfund_workshop. Early bird registration ends March 19th.

The BCG Education Fund is a Massachusetts charitable trust that operates independently of BCG itself. The Fund creates educational opportunities for all genealogists.

Photograph courtesy of Microsoft Office.


[1] The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2000), p. 10.

Debbie Parker Wayne now a Board-certified genealogical lecturer

Debbie Parker Wayne received the Certified GenealogistSM credential in 2010 and the Certified Genealogical LecturerSM credential in 2013. Debbie is a full-time genealogist experienced in using laws and DNA analysis, as well as more traditional techniques, for genealogical research. She previously worked in the computer industry doing support, training, programming, and Web design. Those skills are especially useful when analyzing a client’s DNA test results, but also help when doing traditional research in this technical age.

When she first attended the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) in 2003, Debbie knew she wanted to do professional-level research, but hadn’t yet decided whether she wanted to become certified or start a research business. Experiences on that trip, her first exposure to the world of professional genealogists, the techniques learned in Elizabeth Shown Mills’s Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis course, and discussions with credentialed genealogists convinced Debbie to work towards this goal. She started with pro bono clients and accepted paying clients as her knowledge increased due to self-study, institutes, and conference sessions.

Debbie’s business includes research clients, DNA clients, speaking engagements, and writing projects. She won two writing awards in 2012 for articles that were based on research done for her BCG portfolio. She was invited to present “Forensic Techniques for Genetic Genealogy” at the Forensic Genealogy Institute (FGI). In 2013 she will be presenting sessions at the NGS and FGS conferences, “Genetic Genealogy for Clients” at IGHR’s Genealogy as a Profession course, and continuing her presentations for FGI and local societies.

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