Report on Day 1 of the 50th Anniversary Lectures

Copyright © 2013, Cathi Becker Wiest Desmarais, used with permission.

The 50th Anniversary Lectures take place yesterday and today in the auditorium of the LDS Church Museum Library on West Temple in Salt Lake City, just north of the Family History Library. For several years now, before the BCG Board’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, board members and associates present lectures to the staff of the Family History Library to give back to them in recognition of their support of genealogists worldwide. This is the first time these annual lectures have been made open to the public.

Thursday saw a BCG Certification Seminar, three lectures, and the Keynote Speech.

F. Warren Bittner, CGSM, and BCG President Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, presented the BCG Certification Seminar. They discussed the application process, from the preliminary application form to the final portfolio submission. Did you know you can download the BCG Application Guide for free here? The BCG website includes skillbuilding materials and descriptions of the application and judging process. From the How to Become Certified Page, you can navigate to a recorded version of an earlier presentation of this seminar here.

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CGSM, had the after-lunch spot for her lecture, “It Takes a Human: Genealogists and Writing.” Based in Chicago, she led us through several issues tackled by the Chicago Manual of Style. Jeanne also presented practical steps in writing, editing, and proofreading. She has shared with us her handout It Takes a Human Syllabus – May 2013.

Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CGSM, gave us pointers on analyzing sources in her lecture, “Should You Believe Your Eyes? Sizing Up Sources and Information.” She started with images of several records, asking if they were correct. No, every image had got its red X. Laura coached us to look askance at records until we have correlations.

Barbara Jean Mathews, CGSM, closed the late afternoon with her presentation, “Write While You Research: Let the Joy of Researching Infect Your Writing.” Barbara provided some practical steps to take in order to write your reports or genealogical narratives while you are in the library researching.

The Keynote Address was delivered that evening by Thomas W. Jones, CGSM, CGLSM, who tackled the topic “Kinship Determination.” He discussed the three Rs of proving kinship, Research, Reasoning, and ‘Riting. He pointed out that “no source is perfectly trustworthy,” and that “ancestral identification is rarely perfectly certain.” Tom offered rich examples of research and reasoning processes. For the writing section, Tom went over the structures of genealogical, lineage, and pedigree narratives.

Updated 11 Oct 2013, 10:51 a.m., with addition of Bloom syllabus.

Have You Heard of Dual- and Cross-Credentialing?

Hundreds of people have one of two genealogical credentials. Within this group of credentialed people, there are two smaller groups with impressive achievements.

  • There are the dual-credentialed people who hold both levels of credential from BCG: Certified GenealogistSM and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM. Search the BCG roster for the credential CGLSM. They total 16.
  • Then there are the cross-credentialed people who hold both types of credentials: AG® from the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPgen) and CGSM from the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). Search the BCG roster for the credential AG®. They total 13.

Jim Ison, AG®, CGSM, spoke to the ICAPgen conference in 2009 about how important credentials were to a working genealogist. This is the message that a credential gives your potential clients:

  • It shows a commitment to your field.
  • It demonstrates expertise beyond the norm.
  • It demonstrates adherence to approved standards
  • It shows that your skills and knowledge were independently verified.
  • It provides for an increased level of trust due to the Codes of Ethics.

In addition, Jim shared two graphics developed for this lecture. They are based on a study of the membership of the Association of Professional Genealogists in 2009 so the details may vary this year. They show that having a credential makes the professional genealogist stand out from the thousands of other genealogists working in the field.

© 2009 by Jim Ison. Shared with permission.

There were only thirteen cross-credentialed genealogists in 2009. The commitment to qualifying for a credential also involves a commitment to renewing each credential every five years. Both tasks take experience, hard work, and the courage to be measured against standards.

© 2009 by Jim Ison. Shared with permission.

If you want to understand more about either credential, consider attending Course 5 at the 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. For information, see our blog posting “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?” Online registration begins 1 June 2013 at 9:00 AM Mountain time and many courses fill within minutes.

 

Updated 3 June 2013 to correct number of course.

 

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 Skillbuilding at NGS: Certification Seminar

Post by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

It was with great pleasure that I, along with Warren Bittner, CG, and David McDonald, CG, presented a double-session for the certification seminar. The advantage of the sessions held at every national conference over the one-hour video on the BCG website is that attendees can ask questions. And what good questions they were!

Clarification between certification and a certificate program, and how to go about the various aspects of preparing a portfolio were all discussed. In addition those who are actively “on the clock” and getting their portfolios ready gathered for a photo (see below).

Attendees also heard from current BCG associates about their reasons and various pathways to certification from Michael Hait, CG, Craig Scott, CG, and Dawne Slater-Putt, CG.

The double session was audio recorded by JAMB-Inc.com and will appear for sale on their website under session T211 of the NGS 2013 conference.

BCG President Elissa Powell and Executive Director Nicki Birch flank preliminary applicants who are “on the clock”

NGS 2013: On-the-Clock Attendees at Putting Skills to Work

We caught seven people on-the-clock at the BCG Education Fund’s Putting Skills to Work preconference workshop yesterday in Las Vegas. The hardworking students were Tim Charmoli, Douglas Dunks, Tina Hollingsworth, Brenda Barker, Karen Stanbury, Melinda Henningfield, and Kathy Leibner.

 

Why Certify? Listen to What Rice, Fonkert, and Henderson Have to Say

Many people with decades of experience in genealogy waiver about applying for certification. The application process is daunting as we consider how many skills are required. Often we need to buff up a few skills, such as writing narratives or source citations.

Sitting on the fence about applying? There are as many reasons for applying as there are competent genealogists. We recently uploaded three more audio files on this topic. Go to http://www.bcgcertification.org/certification/why.html to listen to Jay Fonkert, CGSM, Beverly Rice, CGSM, and Harold Henderson, CGSM.

 

Exploring Reasons Why to Certify

New audio clips of associates giving candid remarks on their certification process are on the BCG website’s “Why Certification?” page. In addition to David McDonald, CGSM, Beth Stahr, CGSM, and Michael Hait, CGSM are three associates with widely different paths who were taped at the 2012 FGS conference. Eileen O’Duill, CGSM, from Ireland, gives her perspective as an international Board-certified genealogist. Warren Bittner, CGSM, from Utah, talks about what methods he used to gain experience before applying. Linda Woodward Geiger, CGSM, CGLSM, from Georgia, gives her reasons for seeking certification.

These short clips should resonate with a variety of people. Perhaps one of their reasons or paths is similar to yours?

Why Become Certified? Reasons Vary

“Why become certified?” is a question every person who has learned about BCG has asked. To help answer this, several Board-certified genealogists were asked at the 2012 FGS conference in Birmingham, Alabama, to record an audio clip on how they came to certification. The comments are unscripted and spontaneous–and totally inspiring. In the over dozen statements you will probably find a reason or approach that resonates with your own.

You can listen to the first three testimonial audio clips at http://www.bcgcertification.org/certification/why.html.

Dave McDonald, CG, states, “I first earned certification . . . because I had spent time around colleagues who had been certified and whose work I wanted to emulate.”

Beth Stahr, CG, observes, “In my mind there has always been a connection between librarianship and certification.”

Michael Hait, CG, advises, “I actually applied for certification twice and I had different motivations each time I applied.”

More audio tracks will be released periodically. Check back to this blog (or sign up for automatic email notifications of new blog posts).

If the audio controls are not visible on the webpage below the photographs, you may need a browser plugin or you can click on the MP3 files link to download the files.