New President Announcement and News from BCG Trustees’ Meeting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

17 October 2014

BOARD FOR CERTIFICATION OF GENEALOGISTS DISCUSSES CERTIFICATION, WELCOMES JEANNE LARZALERE BLOOM, CG, AS NEW PRESIDENT

Genealogists seeking board certification will have a clearer idea of portfolio requirements following the October 12 meeting of the trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists in Salt Lake City. The Board also welcomed a new executive committee and two new members. Several trustees volunteered for a newly enlarged marketing committee. Trustee Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, made a generous donation to fund a full year of BCG’s new free public instructional webinars.

To emphasize the fact that not all who apply for certification take clients, the fifth required item in an application portfolio will now be called “Research Report Prepared for Another” rather than “Research Report Prepared for a Client.” The item’s requirements remain the same: research and report on a genealogical problem authorized by someone else that does not involve the applicant’s family, showing “analysis of the problem, in-depth and skillful use of a range of sources, and recommendations for further work based on your findings.”

At the end of Sunday’s trustee meeting the presidential gavel passed from Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, to Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. In her final report as president, Powell commented on many changes, including the publication of revised standards and rubrics, BCG’s increased social-media presence, the new webinar series, as well as the 50th anniversary celebrations. Bloom responded, “On behalf of the associates and the trustees of BCG, I would like to thank Elissa for her capable leadership as BCG’s president these past two years.”

Other members of the new executive committee are Stefani Evans, CG, (vice-president), Michael S. Ramage, J.D., CG (treasurer), Dawne Slater-Putt, CG (secretary), and Russell (member at large). As past president, Powell will also serve on the executive committee in an advisory capacity. Newly re-elected trustees are David McDonald, CG, Evans, and Bloom, joined by newcomers Nancy A. Peters, CG, and Harold Henderson, CG.

Retiring trustees Laura A. DeGrazia, CG, and Thomas W. Jones Ph.D, CG, CGL, were thanked for their long terms of service and for the significant advancements of BCG that occurred under their leadership. DeGrazia served 2005–2014, and as president 2008–2010. Jones served 1997–2007, 2011–2014, and as president 1999–2002.

Sunday’s meeting was preceded by a day of BCG-sponsored lectures offering problem-solving tools from associates Powell, Russell, Evans, and Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, hosted by the Family History Library. The lectures were streamed into two additional rooms when the main meeting room filled.

For questions or more information contact: Nicki Birch, CG, office@BCGcertification.org.

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

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Congratulations to Barbara Mathews, CG, FASG

The Board for Certification of Genealogists extends its heartiest congratulations to Board-certified genealogist Barbara Jean Mathews of Massachusetts on her election as a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists (ASG).

Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, FASG

As noted on the ASG website, “Election as a Fellow of the ASG is dependent on nomination by current Fellows…. The central criterion is the quality of a genealogist’s published work. Emphasis is upon compiled genealogies and published works that demonstrate an ability to use primary source material; to evaluate and analyze data; to properly document evidence; and to reach sound, logical conclusions presented in a clear and proper manner.”

Barbara’s work includes the 2013 publication of The Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut and his Wife, Alice Tomes, Volume 1, 2nd edition (Wethersfield, CT: Welles Family Association, 2013), which has just been selected as the ASG’s 2014 winner of the prestigious Donald Lines Jacobus Award. That award is “presented to a model genealogical work published within the previous five years.” She is also the author of Philo Hodge (1756-1842) of Roxbury, Connecticut (Baltimore, Md. : Gateway Press, 1992) and the editor of The Descendants of Thomas Lamkin of the Northern Neck of Virginia (Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2001).

She has many published articles in The American Genealogist (TAG) and has also written for the National Genealogical Society NewsMagazine, the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ), The Connecticut Nutmegger, and The Essex Genealogist. Her book reviews have appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, TAG, the National Genealogy Society Quarterly, and APGQ.

Barbara is a professional genealogist who specializes in the families of colonial Connecticut and Massachusetts who currently serves on the board of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council. She has served as a BCG trustee and officer, and as an officer of the Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council. Her blog, The Demanding Genealogist, explores issues of quality in genealogical work.

Most of all, though, Barbara loves to teach. She lectures at local, regional, and national conferences and has mentored groups in the ProGen Study Groups program.

Barbara joins Board-certified genealogists Melinde Lutz Byrne of Massachusetts, Frederick C. Hart Jr. of Connecticut, Ronald Ames Hill of Idaho, Helen Hinchliff of British Columbia, Canada, Henry B. Hoff of Virginia, Thomas W. Jones of Virginia, Roger D. Joslyn of New York, Elizabeth Shown Mills of Tennessee, Christine Rose of California, William Bart Saxbe Jr. of Massachusetts, Clifford L. Stott of Utah, and Helen S. Ullman of Massachusetts, as well as BCG emeritus associates John Frederick Dorman of Virginia and Helen F. M. Leary of North Carolina, in the ranks of the ASG Fellows.

Our heartiest congratulations to Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, FASG!


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.

Introducing Jane Beal, CG

Jane Beal, CG

Jane Beal has become the ninth Missourian to currently hold the credential of Certified Genealogist from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Jane’s first genealogical mentor remains her most powerful motivating force: her grandfather Richard Dolbeare “entrusted to a teenager many years ago the family papers and photos, obviously seeing in [her] younger self someone who cares about the family history.”

His enthusiasm and his trust started Jane on a journey that began with her New England ancestors and ultimately led her to pursue her genealogical goals and, in 2014, to becoming a Board-certified genealogist.

A registered nurse with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing, Jane explains that she has worked “in a wide variety of jobs as a nurse,” and continues to work full-time as one “although it is a desk job, not patient care.”

She lives east of Kansas City with her husband of 30 years: “We have a small farm, lots of children and grandchildren.” And, she adds, “All these activities keep me very busy, but the family knows my passion is genealogy.”

Jane started following that passion as a teenager, after getting those precious papers and photos from her grandfather, whom she credits first and foremost as her genealogical hero. Though the time she has had to devote to her passion has varied, over the years she has worked on her own family history, her husband’s, and those of three of her sons-in-law — and that doesn’t include the many others she has helped and the many local projects she’s worked on.

“I take every opportunity I can to attend genealogical conferences, learn the local history, and expand my knowledge base,” she said. “I particularly love doing research in courthouses, and of course the nearby Midwest Genealogy Center [a wonderful place].” But, Jane notes, even though she started as a teenager, she wishes she had started earlier to “focus more on the stories, history and people, rather than just getting a lot of names and dates. I think most people start off that way, I know I did.”

Today, she said, she is “passionate about the stories and history behind the names and dates, to understand what happened and why in their lives.” Her favorite project now is the ‘brick wall’ case, “particularly if they revolve around women whose history has been lost, due to either an early death or lack of a known maiden name. I like to give them back their identity.”

Jane’s advice to those considering certification is to “download and read the BCG Application Guide, outline what projects need to be done for one’s portfolio [maybe an individual has a project they have recently worked on that would fit with some tweaking or could be used with an in-depth effort], and at least start on the bigger parts of the portfolio prior to beginning the ‘clock’.” She added that it’s necessary to “stay on focus during that year, and if at all possible avoid an extension. I think you start to second guess yourself the longer it takes you.”

Besides her grandfather Richard Dolbeare, Jane considered Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas Jones as her role models and genealogical heroes. “During my journey to completing my portfolio, I absorbed much knowledge from their presentations [I listened to a lot of CDs from past conferences, and listened over and over again], as well as from their books and articles,” she explained. “I felt they brought me to a higher level and expectation of myself and my work.”

She hopes to have her own genealogy research business in the future, mainly focused in individual clients, and looks forward to contributing articles on genealogy to various publications.


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.

October 11, 2014, BCG-Sponsored Lectures in Salt Lake City Are Free and Open to All

            Top genealogists Elissa Scalise Powell, Judy G. Russell, Elizabeth Shown Mills, and Stefani Evans will present six lectures at the Family History Library’s Floor B2 classroom in Salt Lake City Saturday, October 11, between 9 am and 4:45 pm. The lectures are free and open to the public, sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The board is an independent certifying body and author of the updated 2014 Genealogy Standards.

            Topics and speakers:

            9 – “BCG Certification Seminar,” Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

            9:45 – “Shootout at the Rhododendron Lodge: Reconstructing Life-Changing Events,” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

            11 – “From the White Lion to the Emancipation Proclamation – Slavery and the Law before the Civil War,” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

            1:15 – “Using Evidence Creatively: Spotting Clues in Run-of-the-Mill Records,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

            2:30 – “Oh, The Things You Can Map: Mapping Data, Memory, and Historical Context,” Stefani Evans, CG

            3:45 – “Trousers, Black Domestic, Tacks & Housekeeping Bills: Trivial Details Can Solve Research Problems,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

“Whether you stop in for one lecture or all six, you will learn more about how to apply good methodology to your own family research,” said President Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Educating all family historians of every level is part of this mission.”

You can see the poster here:
2014 Board for Certification of Genealogists free lectures   

For questions or more information contact: Nicki Birch, CG, office@BCGcertification.org.

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluations. The board name is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.

ACTION: Mutual Support for Those Assembling Application Portfolios

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office

BCG established a mutual support network for applicants, called ACTION. Here is how our Certification FAQ describes this list:

BCG invites preliminary applicants to subscribe to an email mentoring group called ACTION (Aids to Certification Testing: Interactive Online Networking). This list does not provide educational preparation; it will not teach applicants about sources, citations, analysis, or any other aspect of research. It does, however, provide a supportive forum where applicants can meet other applicants, and BCG trustees and members of BCG’s Outreach Committee are available to answer questions about the certification process and requirements.

What is it like? Don’t forget that all current Board-certified genealogists have already gone through the process of assembling a portfolio and can relate to the emotional and intellectual issues involved. Several have volunteered to participate in ACTION.

In an ACTION conversation on May 15th of this year.  BCG President Elissa Scalise Powell wrote at 8:04 pm, “So how does … our sense of perfection affect our portfolio process? Does it affect the work sample selections? Does it affect the inability to submit until we find that one last perfect record or case?”

Then at 8:36 pm, Patti Hobbs came back with a story to which we all can relate.

I, too, since I started the clock, am just trying to finish up stuff I’ve been working on for many years. I returned to a courthouse I’d visited about 8 years ago because I hadn’t developed my system for photographing book covers that I now have implemented, and I didn’t have exact titles to use for citations. I also made a trip to Wisconsin just to look for a tombstone that was not on Find-A-Grave and no cemetery book exists outside of the town where the cemetery is located. And the library will not do look-ups because of staffing problems. But without it, I had no proof of one person’s death. Thank goodness she actually had a tombstone!

My first issue was deciding which family to use for my KDP. I worked on two, and then decided not to use either. All totally different. One was a Pennsylvania family, one was a Virginia to Indiana to Iowa family, and the one I settled on is a New England to New York to the Midwest and to-many-parts west.

Then since I had not done “client” work, I did several projects, two of which were very time-consuming, for other people to find a good client case to use. (I do not lack for people to help with their genealogy since I work in a library.)  I rejected using cases I had not solved even though I know that’s permissible.  And even now I don’t think the one I’ve chosen is necessarily the best I could do because I’d prefer to do something more challenging. But as it is no one “out there” had the answer, and I found the answer. Although by the time I submit my portfolio relatives of the now-deceased “client” (pro-bono) may get it out there.

Then I spent a very long time tracking collaterals for the KDP, and probably doing much more than is necessary for the portfolio. But in that process, I found that I really enjoyed doing that. I felt that what I learned from fleshing out all the collaterals, who did not move en masse to the same areas, was very interesting for learning about migration. So I have more biographical detail on the collaterals than is needed. I also did an extra generation because there’s a facet that is in the first generation I wanted included, and there’s a facet to the fourth generation I wanted included. I also wanted the KDP to be enjoyable and informative for other family and not necessarily just those in my direct line.

For me, I had too many other things in my life that were more important in the grand scheme of things than submitting my portfolio for me to make it a priority. That has now changed. And a big motivator for me is I really want to get to work on some other families that are just dangling around waiting to be written up.

Thank you, Patti, for sharing your process for choosing portfolio elements.

To all our readers, once you are on-the-clock, you can participate in ACTION. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

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: 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: Elizabeth Mills on “Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management, and Analysis”

Please welcome guest blogger Harold Henderson, CGSM

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

More often than we like to admit, we attend conference lectures and leave with a feeling of enjoyment or illumination … but it does not necessarily carry over when we return the following week to all the neglected tasks of real genealogical life. Elizabeth Shown Mills’s Thursday afternoon presentation is one that I will be checking back to repeatedly.

As the author of Evidence Explained (both book and instructional web site), BCG past president, and current trustee, she needs no introduction or advertisement, but she was in great form at NGS Las Vegas speaking on “Information Overload?” Those of us who struggle not just with information overload in general, but with a wealth of information about research targets’ friends, associates, and neighbors, would benefit from her clear thoughts and detailed suggestions. (Was I just more ready for it, or are the suggestions more detailed than ever?) One way to look at the key problem: since genealogy software focuses on one individual at a time, how do we study groups, especially since that is what we often end up doing? Examples of her solutions are available in the work samples section of the BCG web site.

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 T241 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

 

Harold Henderson, CGSM, 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 and at midwestroots.net.  See Harold’s new work Finding Ancestors in Fort Wayne: The Genealogist’s Unofficial One-Stop Guide to the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center viewable online as a pdf here.

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.