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.

 

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.

 

 

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!

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: Warren Bittner on “Proof Arguments: How and Why?”

Please welcome guest blogger Judy G. Russell, CGSM, CGLSM 

If we fail to establish identity and prove relationships, then — says F. Warren Bittner, CG — “all other family history goals and activities are a waste.” And if this critical goal is met, then the genealogist “owes it to herself and future generations to write down the reasoning that led to that conclusion.”

In his presentation “Proof Arguments: How And Why” in the BCG Skillbuilding track, Warren explained that the reasoning that ties people together by identity and relationships is set out in a proof argument, that key written summary of our evidentiary conclusions that allows us to complete the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Reviewing in passing the various formats in which a proof conclusion may be written, he concentrated on how to write a proof argument — the steps that can be used as a model to guide us through to a competent written presentation, and a checklist of questions we need to answer.

The evidence-based conclusion, he warns, must include our analyses and correlations of evidence and our resolutions of conflicting evidence. “These arguments tie life events together and allow us to establish relationships through the evidence, and set out our mental processes as to why we believe the conclusions follow from that evidence,” he explains.

A proof argument can be as short as a single sentence and as long as it needs to be depending on the complexity of the evidence. But without it, we doom future generations to repeat the research again and again.

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 S421 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

Judy’s website provides the following about her:

A Certified GenealogistSM and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM with a law degree, The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law.

 

 


BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Harold Henderson on “Are We There Yet? Proof and the Genealogy Police”

Please welcome guest blogger Judy G. Russell, CGSM, CGLSM 

Harold Henderson, CG, an Indiana-based professional genealogist, used a case study involving a disappearing husband from Chicago to drive home seven lessons of the story that work just as well as landmarks of research.

In his presentation “Are We There Yet? Proof and the Genealogy Police,” Henderson traced Blanche Chilcote’s Husband Early 1900s Chicago to find his origins. Harold emphasized these principles:

1. Start with what you know, where you know it.
2. Get the most out of every record.
3. Learn the records landscape.
4. Stay indecisive! (Know when to take a flying leap.
5. Don’t be afraid to look twice at the same record.
6. Don’t knock off work too early.
7. Remember: the past always leaves a trace.

It’s a mark of how well Harold told the story that drove home his points that even with the room audio fading in and out, the audience was riveted from start to finish. We won’t give away what happened to Blanche’s husband, since the audio taping wasn’t affected by the room audio issues.

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 F351 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

 

Judy’s website provides the following about her:

A Certified GenealogistSM and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM with a law degree, The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law.

BCG Luncheon at NGS 2013: Judy Russell on “Blackguards and Black Sheep: The Lighter Side of the Law”

Please welcome guest blogger Diane Gravel, CGSM.

Inviting the audience to take a moment to think about the police and court records we are creating now, Judy challenged us to consider how those records might be viewed by genealogists one hundred years from now, exploring us as their ancestors . . . a rather daunting prospect. Present-day examples of intellectually-challenged criminals posting their illegal deeds on social media sites lent stark contrast to the records created by our own “blackguard and black sheep” ancestors.

“Law brings out the mischief-makers!” she declared. And so began the journey through our nation’s legal records, rich with tales of scoundrels and mayhem. A typical story was that of an 1889 case from the Supreme Court of California in which an appeal was filed based, in part, on the intoxication of the jury. The Attorney General contended that the alleged misconduct was not sufficient to reverse the verdict because the wine was “California claret,” and the cognac was used as a “flavoring for coffee.” Then there was the 1823 North Carolina case of a father who petitioned the legislature for a divorce for his son, who had married a prostitute! That had come as news to the minister at whose home that 14-year-old wife had originally been a boarder.

This was a delightful, lighthearted invitation into the wealth of records produced by our Blackguard and Black Sheep ancestors, as well as a cautionary tale for those of us who might be creating our own records that may someday emerge at the hands of our descendants.

This session was not taped.

 

 

Judy G. Russell Adds Certified Genealogical Lecturer(SM)

Board-certified genealogist Judy G. Russell of New Jersey added the CGLSM credential on 18 March 2013.

Judy’s background includes work as a newspaper reporter, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, and legal editor. In addition to genealogy, Judy still works full-time as a law editor and teaches part-time on the adjunct faculty at Rutgers Law Schools. In the world of genealogy, Judy is best known as The Legal Genealogist. Her blog at http://legalgenealogist.com is designed “to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history.”[1]

Popular topics in her blog include a series on the Terms of Service for several online research sites, and information explaining copyright issues as they apply to genealogy. She lectures regularly, both at conferences and online.[2] The CGLSM designation was a natural next step for her.

 

____

[1] Judy G. Russell, “Welcome to the Legal Genealogist,” The Legal Genealogist; http://legalgenealogist.com/biography : viewed 24 March 2013.

[2] Judy G. Russell, “Facts, Photos and Fair Use: Copyright Law for Genealogists,” Professional Development, Association of Professional Genealogists, membership and password required; http://www.apgen.org/members/professionaldev/webinars/copyright.html : viewed 24 March 2013.

IGHR Registration Opens Tuesday

BCG has had a long-standing relationship with the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) held for one week in June each year at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama. As a co-sponsor of IGHR, Board-certified genealogists have taught many of the courses throughout the years and have provided a certification seminar in IGHR’s evening track. The banquet program reserves a place for greetings from BCG which acknowledges this relationship.

Board-certified genealogists coordinating this year’s ten courses held June 9-14 include Warren Bittner, CG; Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL; Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG; J. Mark Lowe, CG; Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG; Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL; Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG; Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL; and Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL.

Course instructors are asked by coordinators to teach topics in their area of expertise. Board-certified genealogists teaching at IGHR this year include Claire Mire Bettag, CG; Alvie Davidson, CG; Michael Hait, CG; Rachel Mills Lennon, CG; Judy G. Russell, CG; Craig Roberts Scott, CG: and Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL.

Registration for the June courses opens on Tuesday, January 22. Because of the extreme popularity of the limited number of seats in each course, registration opening times are staggered throughout the morning. Courses can, and do, sell out within minutes of “the opening bell.” For more information about registration and contents of each course, please see http://www4.samford.edu/schools/ighr/IGHR_courses.html. Click on course titles to see the course lecture schedule and instructors.

BCG’s long-standing tradition of encouraging genealogical education is showcased in this institute which has been offering such courses since the 1960s under the auspices of the Samford University Library.