Early Bird Registration Ends October 31st for SLIG 2014 – Course 5 – Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?

Last weekend in Salt Lake City we kicked-off celebrations of the 50th anniversaries of two credentials, those administered by the Board for Certification of Genealogists® and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional GenealogistsSM. The banquet in Salt Lake City heard speaker Judy G. Russell, JD, CGSM, CGLSM, discuss the instigating factors for the establishment of credentials as well as the developments in those organizations over the last 50 years.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

To continue the celebration in the “50th year of our age,” a track on accreditation and certification is included in SLIG 2014. Apryl Cox, AG®, Co-Chair of the Testing Committee of ICAPgen, and Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, President of BCG, will coordinate Course 5 in the upcoming Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, 13-17 January 2014. Course 5 is “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?”

Apryl Cox, AG    

The two called on great speakers to present topics in the week’s worth of classes. Their instructors include David Rencher, AG, CG; F. Warren Bittner, CG; Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL; Kelly Summers, AG; Linda Gulbrandsen, AG; Ray Clifford, AG; Raymon Naisbitt, AG; Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL; and Mark Lowe CG. Classes will cover the histories of the two organizations, their application processes, and how the applications are judged. Practical exercises will be part of the workshop experience. In the concluding lecture, David Rencher will ask, “How Many Credentials Should I Have?”

Early-bird registration ends of October 31st for the Utah Genealogical Society’s 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. There are still a few seats left in Course 5. For more information, click here.

Report from Day 2 of the 50th Anniversary Lectures

 

Sometimes you can’t prove parentage by citing a single document to a line on a pedigree chart. Copyright © 2013 Warren Bittner, used with permission.

The 50th Anniversary Lectures, Salt Lake City.

Day two started early with two presentations by F. Warren Bittner, CGSM. His first, “Complex Evidence: What It Is, How It Works, Why It Matters,” gave me my favorite quote of the lecture series:

It’s not the quality of the source (original, primary, direct); it is the comparison of the sources that leads to proof.

Warren was impassioned in his message “Proof Arguments: for the Next Generation.” He presented a complex evidence case in which no single record was sufficient to prove the parentage of Minnie. It took a network consisting of her death record, her marriage record, her baptism record, and her parents’ marriage record to supply all the data. But her name differed on every record. So did their names. They lived in different addresses in Greenwich Village, New York City, for every record. Could we be sure we had the right woman and her correct parents? A family group sheet supplies only birth, marriage, and death data spaces. A well-written proof argument for Minnie’s parents names gives much more satisfaction. Warren walked us through the construction of the proof argument.

Dave McDonald, CGSM, gave us a hands-on workshop for his presentation “Reach for the Power Tools: Record Transcription and Analysis.” His power-of-attorney document from the Wisconsin Historical Society was executed in Illinois by a man from Massachusetts. It appointed his brother to dispose of a one-seventh share in their mother’s dower rights. Attendees transcribed it, abstracted all the information, extracted important data, postulated a research question, and developed a research plan. It was a great discussion.

Judy G. Russell, CGSM, CGLSM, discussed “Bringing Josias Home: Using Circumstantial Evidence to Build a Family.” She took Josias from his residence in Texas to his origins in North Carolina. Her exhaustive research in Texas produced information that they had lived for a period in Indiana. In Indiana, carefully researching associated families, she found a record that suggested research in Burke County, North Carolina.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, presented “Baker’s Dozen Steps to Writing Research Reports.” After reviewing the elements needed in a report she brought us on a methodical walk through the report-writing process. Her practical approach made the process straightforward.

 

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.

Schedule of the 50th Anniversary Lecture Series, October 10th and 11th

BCG’s 50th Anniversary Lecture Series

Greetings from Salt Lake City. Today marks the start of the one-year celebration of BCG’s 50th anniversary. It starts with two days of lectures. The BCG board has presented lectures here in the past. Those lectures were open only to Family History Library staff. This is the first time we’ve been able to open them to the general public. They take place in the auditorium in the basement of the LDS Church History Museum immediately north of the library.

The program chair for this series is F. Warren Bittner, cgSM, cglSM, of Centerville, Utah. He issued a Call for Papers to BCG associates. He also elected to reprise few lectures that had been popular in the past in the small audiences.

Please come on by. If you are busy during work hours, remember that the Keynote takes place tonight, at 7:00 PM, in the museum auditorium.

 

 

President’s Message in OnBoard

OnBoard  has been BCG’s thrice-yearly newsletter since 1995. Currently edited by Will White, CG, each issue has valuable articles about doing good research, as well as news and a spotlight feature. Many of the individual articles are online and past issues are still available for sale.

Anyone may subscribe to OnBoard for $15 per year. Preliminary applicants and BCG associates already receive it as part of their yearly fees. To subscribe see: http://www.bcgcertification.org/catalog/bcgitems.html

You may see select articles at: http://www.bcgcertification.org/skillbuilders/index.html

The September 2013 issue’s “President’s Corner” by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL is reproduced below. Enjoy!

“What does it mean to be professional? The question is often asked in blogs, emails lists, and social gatherings. Does it mean someone who takes clients or someone who works at a certain advanced skill level? BCG, in the 50th year of its age, has long held that genealogical standards help us all do professional-level work that instills public confidence. The standards are not only for paid researchers or for credentialed genealogists, but for all genealogists.

Genealogical standards help us avoid “reinventing the wheel” by providing a framework for defining “good” genealogy. Many people can recognize “bad” genealogy when there are obvious errors such as a mother born after her last child. How do we recognize good genealogy when the errors are not as blatant? How do we know that a record for Silas Harnden is not for his same-named cousin, uncle, or nephew? How do we prove his parents when there is no document that gives their names?

Just as standards apply when driving a car (stopping for a red light or keeping to the right side of the road in North America), genealogical standards bring order and help prevent kinship “accidents,” such as attaching the wrong people to our family tree. The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) guides us and lets us know when we have done a good job. With the GPS we can be more confident that a relationship or identity is “proven.” By following standards we can assure our families, clients, patrons, colleagues, publishers, and all audiences, that what we say has a basis in fact and is reliable. Standards give credibility to our research and its publication.

Standards benefit everyone. Not just those who take clients but also those who don’t. Not just those who help patrons but those who are patrons. Not only those working “just for my family” but those who want to give their family the best. Our families deserve to have correct trees and accurate stories told about them. Every one of us has a family who “hooked” us on genealogy. No matter our level of expertise, we want to do good genealogy. We get angry when others publish bad genealogy, especially about our families!

Using standards as guidelines makes it easier to communicate our research results and family stories. Standards improve the reliability of our conclusions and tell future researchers just where the information came from, how we analyzed it, and whether or not we had all the puzzle pieces. When we communicate our findings, others can join in the process by offering their analyses or unique documents and information based on their research experience. This collaborative effort furthers the family history and makes it stronger.

Genealogical standards are for everyone. There is no excuse, such as “but I’m only doing this for my family” or “standards are just for paid professionals,” just as there is no exception that allows “blue cars [or only cars with my family in them] may go through red lights.” Only with the cooperation of all genealogists, no matter the experience level, can genealogy be collaborative and bring together the missing family Bible and the immigrant ancestor’s only photo. Sharing and communication of reliable findings create a firm foundation on which the family story is preserved for future generations to enjoy and expand upon.”

BCG Activities in Salt Lake City

BCG Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The BCG Trustees have traditionally met in Salt Lake City in October each year. Around that gathering will be a celebration to honor BCG’s 50th anniversary. Now is the time to make plans to join us in Salt Lake City in October if you haven’t already. A banquet and free lectures are all open to the public.

Open to the entire genealogical community is the all-you-can-eat buffet banquet on Saturday, October 12, at 7 p.m. (social hour at 6 p.m.) at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. Co-sponsored by ASG, BCG, and FamilySearch, this celebration of 50 years of genealogical standards is very appropriate. Judy Russell, CG, CGL, (aka “The Legal Genealogist”) will be the banquet speaker and promises to have us laughing and reflecting over 50-year history of our field with the following topic:

“We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” — Standards for the 21st Century
From no formal standards to the Genealogical Proof Standard, the field of genealogy has come a long way in establishing criteria by which excellence can be measured. And we face a long and perhaps even more daunting road ahead as we consider the 21st century challenges posed by technology, DNA and more.

The cost for the banquet is $40 and parking will be free for those who drive. Checks may be made out to “ASG” and sent to the ASG treasurer, Myrtle Hyde, FASG,  3628 Iowa Avenue, Ogden, UT 84403.

A series of free lectures from Board-certified genealogists are being planned for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11, 2013, in the Church Museum Auditorium next to the Family History Library, to which the public is invited. More details will become available on the BCG blog as they become known.

SLIG Course: “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?”

BCG and ICAPGen will again offer a joint course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, January 13-17, 2014. Both organizations’ credentials were founded in 1964, and this is a fitting way to celebrate credentialing while providing detailed requirement and application information. While two of the twenty sessions are jointly given, each organization has nine sessions to present, discuss and utilize exercises in their credentialing process. BCG’s instructors are Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, (co-coordinator with Apryl Cox, AG), F. Warren Bittner, CG, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, J. Mark Lowe, CG, and Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL. David Rencher, CG, AG will speak on cross-credentialing. For more information including a detailed schedule, see the “Tracks” menu item at http://www.infouga.org/aem.php?eid=8. The course is open to anyone who would like more information on credentialing processes.

BCG Application Portfolios at Jamboree and IGHR; FGS Early Bird Deadline

Posting by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL
President, BCG

This week is quite busy for those attending the Southern California Jamboree and the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and for those attending both!

For those who cannot make these events, please check out the new audio clips at the bottom of http://www.bcgcertification.org/certification/why.html. Thank you, Joan Hunter, CG, Alvie Davidson, CG, and Kathy Hinckley, CG, for telling us about your individual pathway to certification.

It is with pleasure that I can say that BCG will have a presence at both Jamboree and IGHR and be able to have available successful portfolio applications for attendees to browse on a limited basis. At Jamboree, look for the BCG table on Friday, June 7 (only) from noon to 6 pm. There you will meet some of our associates. We thank Stefani Evans, CG, for spearheading this volunteer effort.

In addition look for the Jamboree speakers who are Board-certified including: Jean Hibben, CG, Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL, Craig R. Scott, CG, Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, and Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL. They may be able to answer your certification question or point you in the right direction.

On the Samford University campus, where ten courses will be occurring simultaneously all next week, the BCG portfolio applications will be in the classroom of course 6, “Genealogy as a Profession” in Ralph W. Beeson University Center Annex, room 212. Anyone may come and look at the portfolios in the classroom during break times. IGHR attendees can also attend the Tuesday evening lecture (6 p.m.) on the why and how of getting certified given by Elissa Powell, CG, CGL, and Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL.

With BCG being a sponsor of IGHR for the past several decades, it is no surprise that nine of the eleven course coordinators are Board-certified and that six out of seventeen instructors are also certified. You may see them all at http://www4.samford.edu/schools/ighr/IGHR_faculty.html.

The next national conference is the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, August 21-25. See www.FGS.org to sign up for the early bird registration before July 1. BCG will have a luncheon, a booth, and two sessions (not overlapping) on how and why to be come certified. Genealogical education is important to achieve if you want to become certified or just learn “cool stuff.”

See you there!

Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?

Beach tug of war at Southport, Queensland, Australia, 1917. From the collection of the State Library of Queensland. No known copyright restrictions.

Apryl Cox, AG®, and Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, are coordinators of Course 5 at the 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. The track is “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?” Apryl will coordinate presentations about the credentialing process used by the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPgen) and Elissa will coordinate presenters for BCG.

The institute will run 13-17 January 2014 at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City. SLIG registration opens June 1 at 9:00 AM Mountain time (11:00 AM Eastern time). Registration must be done online. At that time, a registration button will appear on the website of the sponsoring society, the Utah Genealogical Association. Many popular courses sell out within minutes.

The credentials of both organizations mark their 50th anniversary in 2014. BCG was started by the American Society of Genealogists. That society elects life members based on their “published genealogical accomplishments.”[1] Successful BCG candidates submit a portfolio of work that meets standards.

The Accredited Genealogist credential originated in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to replace the functions of the Research Service, an in-house group of volunteers and library staff performing research and reporting for patrons.[2] Successful ICAPGen candidates submit a research report and pass a proctored written exam.



[1]  “Significant Contributions,” American Society of Genealogists; www.fasg.org : viewed 29 May 2013.

[2] Jill N. Crandell, “A Brief History of the Accreditation Program,” Kory L. Meyerink, Tristan L. Tolman, and Linda K. Gulbrandsen, editors, Becoming an Excellent Genealogist (Utah: ICAPgen, 2012), 214.

Updated 3 June 2013 to correct number of track at SLIG to 5.

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”

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.