Associates in Action

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

Activities and Projects

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD , LLM, CG, will present “Including African American Genealogy in the American Mosaic” at the National Institute on Genealogical Research Alumni Association (NIGRAA) Annual Banquet, 15 July 2016.

Trish Hackett Nicola, CG, was featured in the Chinese Oregon Speaker Series in March and April. She spoke at the Oregon Historical Society and the Multnomah County Central Library in Portland and gave four presentations for the Southern Oregon Historical Society in Ashland, Medford, Klamath Falls, and Grants Pass. Her final lecture for the series will be on 24 August at the Washington County Museum, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Judith A. Herbert, CG has relocated from Maine to New York’s Capital District. New York represents the lion’s share of her genealogical research efforts. The move affords closer access to the Albany and Greater New York records and the luxury of being able to get to Hartford, Boston, and the New York City area for same-day research.

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, has two courses available at Ancestry Academy: The Lure of the Train Whistle: Researching Railroad Workers and Native American Ancestry: Steps to Learn More.

Paula also has a new blog exclusively for Lyfmap, a new free website. Lyfmap began this spring as a website for sharing memories, photos, stories, businesses and family history related to Saint Paul, Minnesota. Shared materials are saved at the location and date in history when they actually happened! Post a picture or memory and pin it to a specific street address then read the genealogy blog to learn more about researching family history.

Awards and Achievements

Trish Hackett Nicola, CG, has received the Weidman Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, presented during the 16th Annual Archivist’s Award Ceremony of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes exemplary diligence in making records more accessible. Trish worked to create a database of 60,000 Chinese Exclusion Act case files at National Archives-Seattle Branch.

Trish’s mentor, Loretta Chin, another National Archives volunteer, worked on the index for many years until her retirement. Recently a team of four other volunteers joined Trish on the project. The basic index should be finished by December 2016. Trish has started a blog on interesting cases found in the files at the facility in Seattle:

Julie Miller, CG, FNGS, was honored with the award of Fellow by the National Genealogical Society at their annual banquet on 6 May 2016.


Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, and Blaine T. Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., have co-authored a new book: Genetic Genealogy in Practice (Washington, DC: National Genealogical Society, 2016), to be released in August. Part of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Special Topics Series, this is the first genetic genealogy workbook. The book covers biological basics, types of DNA testing that are useful for genealogy, and analysis techniques needed for successful genetic genealogy. No matter which company a person tested at or which tools are used for data collection and analysis, this book will help researchers incorporate DNA evidence into their family study.

Debbie is also the author of the NGS online course Continuing Genealogical Studies: Autosomal DNA, This intermediate course focuses on concepts and techniques for genetic genealogy. The concepts taught in this course cover the analysis of the data no matter how the data was accessed.

Sandra M. Hewlett, CG, “English Origins and First Wife of Samuel Winsley of Salisbury, Massachusetts,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register: The Journal of American Genealogy 170 (Spring 2016): 121–27.

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, “In the County of Cumberland and the Province of New York: Clarifying Josiah Burton’s Identity, Relationships, and Activities,” The New York Genealogical And Biographical Record 147 (April 2016): 85–102.

Harold A. Henderson, CG, The Family of John S. and Zerviah (Hawkins) Porter of Jefferson County and Points West,” The New York Genealogical And Biographical Record 147 (April 2016): 129–43.

Jeanne Larzelere Bloom, CG, “The Child Left Behind: Henry Larzelere of the Town Of Jerusalem, Yates County, New York” (continued), The New York Genealogical And Biographical Record 147 (July 2016): 144–55.


Skillbuilding: Miller on the Anatomy of a Military Pension

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2015 NGS Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this skillbuilding lecture, presented Wednesday, 13 May 2015:

W141: Julie Miller, CG, “Anatomy of a Military Pension,” reviewed by Darcie Hind Posz, CG

Julie Miller is organized and methodical. Her lecture on evaluating a military pension file takes the listener step by step through the process of acquiring the file, then arranging, processing, organizing, and analyzing its contents. She tells us how to acquire a copy of the file and helps us to understand what information is in the pension file.

Miller provides tips, such as how arranging the documents chronologically and separating the pensioner’s file from the widow’s file can organize the data. She reminds us to place a citation *somewhere* on the document, to number each document (in brackets) at the beginning of the citation, and to cite each document (in addition to the general citation).

Miller guides us to create an inventory, an itemized list of documents. She provides a great inventory template in the NGS Conference Syllabus. (The template would also be pretty amazing for large probate packets and court records, and I plan to use it for that purpose in the future.) This wonderful spreadsheet in expanded format is available for free at her website.

The next steps of the review process are to

  • read each document several times, including the boilerplate, until the purpose of each is understood,
  • transcribe each record (because transcribing is the “foundation of thorough analysis” and will help us catch nuances),
  • create an abstract.

As we analyze and evaluate, we consider each document’s purpose, the source type, and the reliability of the information it provides. If we are working on a specific research question, we consider what evidence the information offers. Additional resources we might review include pension acts and laws.

The subject examples are well illustrated and described for both in-person attendees and audio recordings. This lecture is available from Jamb Tapes, Inc. It enhances learning about transcribing and abstracting records.


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.

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS 2013: Julie Miller on “Using Emigrant Guides for Genealogical Research”

Today Julie Miller, CGSM, opened my eyes to a whole group of sources that I had missed in documenting my family’s westward migration, the Emigrant Guides. They could be published in English or in the immigrant’s original language. Often steamship companies published the guides. There are guides for people contemplating moving to the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. There are reverse guides as well, for people in the British Commonwealth contemplating moving to the U.K.

When my mother and I planned our trip to Sweden and Denmark in 1978, we asked Grandma Anderson where the family came from. She said Minnesota. Inspired by Julie, I located an early Minnesota Emigrant Guide. Many of the great information Julie discussed is there. Chapter 16 discusses why people move to the “northwest.” Chapters 17 and 18 are about buying land there. I guess I have some reading planned after I get home.

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 This is session S411 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.