Associates in Action

Associates in Action highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Career News

Among the BCG associates coordinating a course at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Athens, Georgia, July 23-28, 2017, is Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, who is coordinating “Genealogy as a Profession.” This unique course allows students to interact with working professionals and learn tips on how to create and maintain a successful genealogy business. Registration and information are found at http://www.ighr.gagensociety.org/ighr-2017/courses. Early bird registration is available until April 1st.

For those who cannot attend a full week-long course, Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, also has created two virtual recorded courses through the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research (VIGRgenealogy.com), each of which is six hours long. “Professional Genealogy I: Your Plan for a Genealogical Business” http://vigrgenealogy.com/store/powell-pro1/ and “Professional Genealogy II: Becoming a Better Professional Researcher” http://vigrgenealogy.com/store/powell-pro2/ are different from each other and complement the IGHR course.

Many BCG associates teach at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in each of its two weeks this summer. Among the eighteen instructors teaching June 25-30, 2017, are Harold Henderson, CG, Melissa Johnson, CG, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, Karen Mauer Jones, CG, Michael J. Leclerc, CG, Rev. David McDonald, CG, Angela McGhie, CG, Rhoda Miller, Ed.D., CG, Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, Pam Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, and Karen Stanbary, CG.

Among the fifteen instructors teaching at GRIP July 16-21 are Patti Hobbs, CG, Melissa Johnson, CG, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, Karen Mauer Jones, CG, Debra Mieszala, CG, David Rencher, AG, CG, Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, Karen Stanbary, CG, and Paula Stuart-Warren, CG. For more information on courses and registration, see http://www.gripitt.org.

Awards & Achievements

The Board for Certification of Genealogists congratulates the following associates on their successful credential renewals:

James Marion Baker, Ph.D., CG, Rocklin, California; initial certification 14 October 2011. jimb@starstream.net

Susan Farrell Bankhead, CG, Lehi, Utah; initial certification 17 January 2011. susanbankhead@msn.com ; http://www.brickwallgenealogist.com

Judy Kellar Fox, CG, Aloha, Oregon; initial certification 20 March 2007. foxkellarj@comcast.net

Harold Henderson, CG, La Porte, Indiana; initial certification 1 June 2012. librarytraveler@gmail.com

Sandra M. Hewlett, CG, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania; initial certification 30 August 2001.  shewlett@verizon.net

Jean Foster Kelley, CG, Tampa, Florida; initial certification 21 October 2006. twylah52@hotmail.com ; jean.foster.kelley@live.com

Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, Avenel, New Jersey; initial certification 24 February 2012. jgr.research@gmail.com

Associates in Action

Associates in Action highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Activities & Projects

Judith A. Herbert, CG, has joined the Editorial Board of The Record, the quarterly journal of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society.

Awards & Achievements

Harold Henderson, CG, has won first place in the Chicago Genealogical Society’s (CGS) writing contest.”One Family’s Nineteenth Century from New York to Chicago to Oregon: Joseph M. and Artamisia Ann (Talcott) Burdick,” will be published in CGS’s quarterly.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) honored several of its members for their achievements and service to the field of genealogy at its 2016 Professional Management Conference (PMC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. APG President Billie Stone Fogarty presented the awards:

Yvette Hoitink, CG, APGQ Excellence Award for her September 2015 article “Use Content Marketing to Grow Your Business.”

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, received the Grahame T. Smallwood, Jr., Award of Merit, which honors personal commitment and outstanding service to the APG. Holtz was an APG board member in 2010 and from 2013–2014 and served on APG’s Professional Development Committee for six years. She is a member of the APG North Carolina Chapter. She operates an international research firm that specializes in Italian genealogy, dual citizenship, and probate cases.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, was awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership for her contributions to APG and to the field of genealogy.

Eileen M. O’Duill, CG, received the APG Professional Achievement Award. The award, created in 2007, recognizes exceptional professional achievement and ethical behavior with contributions to the field of genealogy. O’Duill, who lives in Ireland, served on the APG Board from 1995–2000 and 2007–2012. She is a genealogist, writer, and lecturer on Irish genealogy topics and is a co-author of Irish Civil Registration—Where Do I Start?

Career News

Darlene Hunter, CG, has been selected to join the full-time staff of the Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center (RELIC), Prince William County Library’s specialized genealogy and local history center, in Manassas, Virginia. As RELIC’s Library Services Technician III, her responsibilities include reference services, maintenance of the collection, and supervision of volunteers.

Publications

Karen Stein Daniel, CG, World War I Era Alien Enemy Registrations for New Mexico, 1918 (New Mexico Genealogical Society, 2016). Karen’s new book extracts and compiles fourteen months of the U. S. Marshal Records held at the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections, University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque. It is available for purchase through Amazon.com.

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, “Resolving a Modern Genealogical Problem: What was Rainey Nelson’s Birth Name?” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 104 (September 2016):203-13. The article explains how indirect evidence placed in cultural context may support a conclusion where vital records disclosure restrictions hamper solving a modern genealogical problem.

Harold Henderson, CG, “The Family of John S. and Zerviah (Hawkins) Porter of Jefferson County and Points West,” [Part 1 of 3], New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 147 (April 2016): 129-43.

Harold Henderson, CG, “How Much Was $14 Worth in 1824?” Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly 31 (June 2016): 98-99.

 

Ten-Minute Methodology: How to Ask Good Research Questions

SpringBoard is pleased to present a guest post by Harold Henderson, CG, a Trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. 

Genealogists are often confused. It comes with the territory. We can’t always avoid it, but we would prefer not to wallow in it. Have you ever had a conversation (with yourself or someone else) that began something like this made-up one?

I would like to find out if Joseph born about 1785 who married “unknown” is my fifth great-grandfather, or sixth. Who did Joseph marry? Who were the children? When and where were they born? Is Joseph the father or grandfather of my Jerome J. Jenkins, and if Joseph is not his father then who? And what about Jemima living in Joseph’s household in 1850? Is she his wife?

To escape this confusion, we need to slow down. In particular, we need to ask one question at a time—and make that question specific.

A good research question does two things. First, it identifies a unique individual. (Sometimes it might be a group or an event, but let’s keep it simple for now.) Second, it specifies what we want to learn about that individual.[1]

We can improve the question by working from the known to the unknown and leave the suppositious Joseph on the shelf for now.  But even “Who is Jerome’s father?” doesn’t identify a unique individual. There are too many Jeromes. Better would be, “Who is the father of Jerome J. Jenkins who was born about 1832 in Kentucky and lived in Hamilton County, Ohio, in 1850?” This question identifies a specific individual (Jerome J. Jenkins) and the specific information we’re looking for (his father). It’s specific enough that we can measure a proposed answer against the Genealogical Proof Standard.[2]

Of course, as genealogists we really want to know all about Jerome, so this procedure may strike us as awfully narrow. But a specific question is a magical thing. By concentrating our attention we focus on the right person and learn more than we expected about him. For instance, we might

  • follow Jerome through later censuses and check to see if a possible sibling or a candidate father shows up in or near his household;
  • locate Jerome’s death record (Does it name a father or a county of birth?);
  • seek out a late second marriage record (Does it name a father or a county of birth?);
  • check for any appearance in county history “mug books” where he settled;
  • check his or his children’s marriage records for a church affiliation that might yield information; and
  • find what role Jerome played in the Civil War (If he served, did his muster roll name a county of birth? Did he or any dependents apply for a pension?).

If we find a possible birthplace and a candidate for a father and/or siblings, we can seek out their records, especially the candidate father’s probate. If looking forward doesn’t help, we might cast a wider net and

  • review the 1840 census for heads of Jenkins households in Kentucky containing boys aged 5–10; and
  • look for Jerome in Hamilton County land records and start building a list of friends, associates, and neighbors who might lead back to Kentucky.

And so forth, depending on what turns up in the process. Obviously any leads or contradictions (such as other census records saying he was born in Indiana instead of Kentucky) could redirect the search drastically.

Thorough research for Jerome’s father will inevitably pull in more than just that relationship. When we pursue the answer to this one question, we find ourselves gathering information that answers other questions and even starting to fulfill our original naïve wish to learn “everything” about Joseph.

And we’re sticking with our one question. We don’t start by googling a name and staring at dozens of probably irrelevant results. We follow a strategy that could provide a firm foundation for the next question we ask.

 Seek specifically, and ye shall find abundantly!

 



[1] Genealogy Standards: 50th Anniversary Edition (Nashville, Tenn.: Turner Publishing, 2014), Standard 10, “Effective Research Questions,” 11–12.
[2] “The Genealogical Proof Standard,” Board for Certification of Genealogists (http://www.bcgcertification.org/resources/standard.html : viewed 22 January 2016).

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

More BCG Webinars Available On Demand

The two most recent BCG webinars (October and November 2015) are now accessible on demand from Vimeo.com. Both are available for twenty-four-hour rental ($2.99 each) or for purchase of unlimited streaming and download ($12.99 each).

The new webinars are

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, “Applying the Standards to International Research,” and

Harold Henderson, CG, “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?”

Go to the BCG Webinars tab at the top of this page for free previews and links to Vimeo recordings of both.

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: “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?”

Tuesday, 17 November 2015, at 8:00 p.m. EDT, Harold Henderson, CG, will present “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?”

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

Like all professionals, good genealogists learn to take certain approaches and attitudes toward our work. For example, citing and questioning sources are among the many skills and practices we slowly and painfully learn. Once learned, they become automatic—and then it’s easy to forget that reflexes even exist, and that not everyone has developed them. In this talk, Harold will discuss several important reflexes genealogists need to cultivate for successful research using the standards set forth in the book Genealogy Standards. He will help audience members answer the question, “Am I ready to try for certification?”

Harold Henderson, CG, 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 serves as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. He has published articles in American Ancestors Journal (annual supplement to the New England Historical and Genealogical Register), the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and several state publications. His website, www.midwestroots.net, includes free resources and a link to his blog.

To register for Harold Henderson, CG, “Do You Have the Reflexes You Need to Become Certified?” on 17 November 2015, 8:00 p.m. EDT (7:00 CDT, 6:00 MDT, 5:00 PDT): https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5631969406323382786.

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

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

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says, “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to offer this new webinar as part of an ongoing series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. This webinar will address questions regarding the genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics the BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

The BCG is an independent certifying body and author of the 2014 Genealogy Standards.

Please visit SpringBoard‘s webinar page to learn about BCG’s previous webinars.

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.

Coming from OnBoard in September 2015

OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists is scheduled for publication in September 2015. We’re privileged to offer a preview of the content.

“Planning Effective Research”

Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, understands how some genealogists struggle with the idea of planning ahead in their research. If you are sometimes less efficient than you’d like in online searches or when visiting a repository, Laura has some practical advice for maximizing your effectiveness with advance preparation and sound research-plan design.

“Genealogy Experiments: Indirect Evidence Up Close”

If you’re stuck in your research with no apparent way over the brick wall, Harold Henderson, CG, may have an answer for you. He tells us how adopting an “experimental attitude” to genealogy might be the key to a breakthrough in a tough problem. His article dissects a case of migrating, common-surnamed individuals and describes how evidence mining and correlation led to identifying parents.

OnBoard is published in January, May, and September. A subscription is included in annual associate fees and for applicants “on the clock.” Subscriptions are also available to the general public for $15.00 a year (currently) through the BCG website. Issues back to 1995 can also be ordered online.

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.

Coming from OnBoard in May 2015

OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists is scheduled to publish in May 2015. We’re privileged to offer a preview of the content.

“Embrace the Negative: Recognizing and Applying Negative Evidence”

Stefani Evans, CG, shows us how negative evidence applies to a genealogical problem, how it can suggest a hypothesis and help direct research. Standard 40, evidence mining, says that genealogists “give equal attention to direct, indirect, and negative evidence.”[1] If negative evidence as useful seems counterintuitive, Stefani’s article will be enlightening.

“Anatomy of a Failure: What I Learned from My First Portfolio”

Fear of failure is a huge stumbling block for many applicants. Harold Henderson, CG, experienced the “insufficient for certification” evaluation on his first portfolio submission. In time he prepared a new, successful submission. Learn from Harold’s experience as he offers seven suggestions for new applicants.

OnBoard publishes three issues per year. A subscription is included in annual associate fees and for applicants “on the clock.” Subscriptions are also available to the general public for $15.00 a year (currently) through the BCG website, here. Issues back to 1995 can also be ordered online, here.

 [1] Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014), 24.


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.

 

Ten-Minute Methodology: Identity Proof in a List

We’ve seen in earlier posts what genealogical proofs look like in a narrative and a footnote. A list, bulleted or numbered, is another effective way of presenting the proof that supports a conclusion.

Proofs in list format are clean, concise, and easy to follow. All the data is assembled in one place, and the correlation is obvious.

Standard 53 (can’t escape it!) offers a list as one of the options for a proof summary when the evidence is direct and the conflicts minor. “Proof summaries . . . may appear in a broader context—for example, within an article or case study, a narrative family history or monograph, or a report for a client, court, or personal files.” [1]

Here’s one by Harold Henderson, CG, that appears as part of an article.[2]

The list correlates data from a number of sources to show that Elizabeth Porter of the Midwest was the same person as Elizabeth Bassett from a New York family record. Once Harold establishes Elizabeth’s identity, he continues his argument for her being the daughter of a man whose probate petition didn’t include her, but by law should have.

Each bullet point describes evidence of relationships between Elizabeth and her siblings (all named in a family Bible record) and between her children and extended family. Note 1, mentioned in footnote 7, below, refers to the Lewis Bassett family record as found in his wife’s Revolutionary War widow’s pension file.

The evidence is all direct. There are no conflicts. We can accept that Elizabeth of two different places was the same woman.

For another example of a list-style proof that incorporates explanatory narrative, see Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 61. The same list was first published in Thomas W. Jones, “Misleading Records Debunked: The Surprising Case of George Wellington Edison Jr.,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 100 (June 2012): 141–42.


[1] Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014), 32–33.

[2] Harold A. Henderson, “A Missing Heir: Reconnecting Elizabeth (Bassett) Porter to Her Parents, Lewis and Dorcas (Hoxie) Bassett,” The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 145 (July 2014): 165–84, on pp. 166–67. The article continues in subsequent issues. Reprinted with permission. Members of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society can access the article online or from the NYG&B home page > eLibrary Collections > The Record > Search “vol 145.”


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.