Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Peters’s “Proving Identity and Kinship Using the GPS”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 11 May 2017.

T201, Nancy A. Peters, CG, “Proving Identity and Kinship Using the GPS: Finding a Freedman’s Family”

Reviewed by Scott M. Wilds, CG

What do you get when you combine the challenges of resolving issues of identity and conflicting evidence with a fascinating case study and lessons in the GPS?  A practically perfect talk by Nancy Peters, that’s what.

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy addressed several elements of the GPS – reasonably exhaustive research, analysis and correlation, resolving conflicting information—in solving a challenging research question, the identity and origin in slavery of a freedman in Abbeville County, South Carolina.  Students of African-American genealogy and southern families in general will be mesmerized by the case itself, but all genealogists will gain from Nancy’s research planning and execution, and application of the GPS to reach a credible conclusion.

Nancy showed how expanding research beyond the low hanging fruit of federal population schedules produced evidence critical to resolving questions of identity and relationship.  South Carolina genealogists will appreciate and be reminded about the utility of state censuses and militia lists, as well as more obscure records like crop lien documents, found only in the county courthouse.  The correlation of names across multiple record sets led to the sorting out of various men with the same name.  Anyone who has tried to determine whether two people with the same name are actually one or two individuals, will benefit from seeing Nancy’s use of a table with cross tabs for record source and date, name, and identity elements.

This case study benefitted from Nancy’s deep understanding of the historical context for her subject, including, among other things, the possibility of multiple names for African Americans in the Reconstruction era, and the difference in records generated by men taking on crop liens for rent versus those to provide supplies for land they owned.  Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man told us that “you gotta know the territory,” and Nancy showed us why it matters.

This presentation also reminds us that using the GPS can prevent us from taking the wrong path in our research.  While reasonably exhaustive research will take us far from our computers, researching and understanding original records found at state and county archives and the courthouse will save us from making too hasty conclusions and errors.   This presentation is highly recommended to all who are looking for an actual case study that demonstrates “how it’s done” and is an entertaining, well-told, and satisfying research story as well.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

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.

BCG Education Fund Putting Skills to Work 2017 Workshop

The BCG Education Fund announces speakers and topics for the 2017 Putting Skills to Work workshop, scheduled for Tuesday, 9 May 2017, prior to the NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The workshops are designed to help all researchers perform more efficient and effective research, solve difficult problems, and present well-reasoned conclusions. Morning and afternoon sessions provide a full day of instruction that includes practical, hands-on exercises. The 2017 workshops will be presented by Nancy A. Peters, CG, and Sara Scribner, CG.

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Correlating Evidence to Solve Genealogical Problems.” Are you facing what seems like a brick wall in your research? Solutions to complex kinship and identity problems require skill in working with direct, indirect, and negative evidence. This session provides practical methods and hands-on experience in correlating evidence to recognize patterns, connections, and inconsistencies that will help you make your case. Prerequisite: working knowledge of core record types—census, probate, land, and vital records—which are used in classroom exercises.

 

Sara Scribner, CG

Sara Scribner, CG

Sara A. Scribner, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Constructing and Writing Proof Discussions.” You solved your brick wall problem. But can you prove your case in writing to the toughest critic? This session deconstructs creating a convincing proof. Session participants learn to resolve conflicting evidence and construct proof discussions ranging from the self-evident to the complex. The session covers logic used in genealogical proof, and useful structures for writing a proof. Hands-on practice includes dissecting proofs written by published authors, and creating a practice proof for a personal genealogical problem. Prerequisites: Come prepared to practice writing up a personal genealogical problem. Also, thoughtfully read a few articles from The American Genealogist, The Genealogist, The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register, or The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund, founded in 2000 as an independent non-profit charitable trust, advances the educational aims of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® by funding learning programs consistent with standards promulgated by the Board and by providing incentives for study and scholarly research in accordance with the Board’s standards. For more information, see BCG Education Fund (http://bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html).

The registration fee of $110 includes lunch, hands‐on exercises, syllabus, handouts and active class participation. NGS Conference registration is not required. Workshop registration is provided through the NGS Conference registration site at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/.

BCG Education Fund Trustees:

J.H. Fonkert, CG
Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG
Patricia Hackett Nicola, CG
Angela Packer McGhie, CG
Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

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

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, and Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, are presenting as part of Family Tree University’s Virtual Genealogy Conference in September. This is a valuable educational opportunity you can enjoy from your own home on your own schedule!

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, will present the BCG Education Fund Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, and at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2017 National Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her topic at the NGS Conference is “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Professional and Personal Genealogical Standard” and will consider how, as professional and personal genealogists, we can enrich our family histories, client bases, and collaborations with fellow researchers by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard. Her topic at the FGS Conference at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, continues the focus with “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Society and Corporate Genealogical Standard” and will consider how genealogical societies and companies can better grow their memberships, serve their constituencies, and increase their revenues by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard.

Nancy A. Peters, CG, and Sara A. Scribner, CG, will present the BCG Education Fund Putting Skills to Work workshop at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Nancy A. Peters, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Correlating Evidence to Solve Genealogical Problems.” Are you facing what seems like a brick wall in your research? Solutions to complex kinship and identity problems require skill in working with direct, indirect, and negative evidence. This session provides practical methods and hands-on experience in correlating evidence to recognize patterns, connections, and inconsistencies that will help you make your case.

Sara A. Scribner, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Constructing and Writing Proof Discussions.” You solved your brick wall problem. But can you prove your case in writing to the toughest critic? This session deconstructs creating a convincing proof. Session participants learn how to resolve conflicting evidence and construct proof discussions from the self-evident to the complex. The session covers logic used in genealogical proof, and useful structures for the written part. Hands-on practice includes dissecting proofs written by published authors, and creating a practice proof for a personal genealogical problem.

Publications

Darcie Hind Posz, CG, has published two new articles: “Tanaka (田中) and Ishihara (石原) Families of Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan and Papaaloa, Hilo, Hawaii,” The American Genealogist 88:2 (April 2016): 81-94; and “The Todd Family of Lawrence, Massachusetts: A Study of Thelma Todd’s Immigrant Parentage,” MASSOG: A Genealogical Magazine for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 40 (August 2016): 96-100.