Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Jones’s “Converting a Bunch of Information into a Credible Conclusion”

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 12 May 2017.

F351, Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA “Converting a Bunch of Information into a Credible Conclusion”

Reviewed by Mary O’Brien Vidlak, CG

Many genealogists are good at collecting “bunches of information” to answer a research question but then struggle to organize and assemble the material to know whether or not a feasible conclusion has been reached. Tom Jones’s BCG Skillbuilding lecture “Converting a Bunch of Information into a Credible Conclusion” focuses on a strategy to assemble this collected information to understand whether you have a viable conclusion or not. If you have a conclusion, you will then be able to see what that conclusion is.

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

The presentation introduced the term assemblage, which is defined as “a grouping of evidence items giving tentative answers to a genealogical research question.” Although this is a new word in the genealogical world, it describes something genealogists have been doing for decades.

Assemblages can be either evidence based or event based. Tom shared examples of both kinds of assemblages. The first example of an evidence based assemblage used eighteen sources spanning eight years to answer the question of when a man was born. He then demonstrated how resolution of this birthdate question and the same sources were used in an event based assemblage to resolve an identity question for the same individual.

Tom discussed the three types of evidence assemblage formats: a mental assemblage, text or graphically arranged writing, and a documented graphic. He used various examples to show when each is desirable, and how they can be put together to solve complex cases.

In addition to revealing whether or not you have a conclusion, assemblages can also uncover conflicts in evidence; can expose strengths and weaknesses in conclusions; and may provide ideas for further research.

Tom concluded his lecture on a cautionary note. He reminded his audience to be careful about assembling evidence as soon as it is collected. A conclusion reached from the assemblage before the research is complete can lead to bias.

Assemblage is essential to ensuring work meets the Genealogical Proof Standard. It must meet the standard of reasonably exhaustive research to be complete. The concept of putting evidence into an assemblage corresponds to the correlation part of the GPS. Finally, the fifth step of the GPS—a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion—cannot be reached without assembling the collected evidence in some way.

Information on purchasing this lecture can be found at 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.

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

BCG Webinars for 2017

The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to announce its webinar line-up for 2017. All webinars will be broadcast by Legacy Webinars, and held on the third Tuesday of the month at 8pm Eastern. The webinar schedule is as follows:

– 17 January – Michael Leclerc, CG, “Writing up your Research”
– 21 February – Karen Stanbary, CG, “Weaving DNA Test Results into a
Proof Argument”
– 21 March – Rebecca Koford, CG, “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same
Name”
– 18 April – Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, “The Genealogy in Government Documents”
– 16 May – Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, “MAXY DNA: Correlating mt-at-X-Y DNA
with the GPS”
– 20 June – Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, “Beating the Bushes: Using the
GPS to Find Jacob Bush’s Father”
– 18 July – Angela Packer McGhie, CG, “Analyzing Documents Sparks Ideas
for Further Research”
– 15 August – LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, CG, “Analyzing Probate Records of
Slaveholders to Identify Enslaved Ancestors”
– 19 September – Tom Jones, PhD, CG, CGL,”When Does Newfound Evidence
Overturn a Proved Conclusion?”
– 17 October, David Ouimette, CG, CGL,“Databases, Search Engines, and the
Genealogical Proof Standard”
– 21 November – Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG, “Research in Federal Records:
Some Assembly Required”
– 19 December – Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, “The Law and the Reasonably
Exhaustive (Re)Search”

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

To register for any of these webinars, please visit our page at Legacy Family Tree Webinars: http://familytreewebinars.com/BCG.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact:
office@BCGcertification.org.

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at http://familytreewebinars.com/BCG and http://BCGcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars. For more information on BCG’s education opportunities, please visit:
http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

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.

Skillbuilding, NGS 2016: Jones on DNA and Brick Walls

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2016 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 6 May 2016.

F321, Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “Systematically Using Autosomal DNA Test Results to Help Break Through Genealogical Brick Walls”

Reviewed by Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG

Dr. Thomas W. Jones suggests autosomal DNA (atDNA) as another puzzle piece in helping family historians identify their ancestors. DNA should be employed along with traditional genealogical methods. He emphasizes that using DNA does not relieve the genealogist from adhering to the Genealogical Proof Standard.[1]

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
Courtesy of Scott Stewart Photography

Most genealogists are not geneticists and may be baffled at how to begin using atDNA in their research. Utilizing a case study, Jones provides a framework to assist in employing this tool.[2] He steps through traditional research that brought him to specific and unanswered questions of identity. These were recognized as questions that might be answered using DNA. He discusses challenges in using DNA as a tool and outlines specific steps that can be followed to use it effectively.

Identifying ancestors for whom few traditional records exist is a constant challenge for family historians. Genealogists can now employ atDNA as an additional tool for identifying ancestors, but the large number of results makes it confusing to many. Jones gives a blueprint which clarifies how to begin this process. This lecture will assist beginning-to-advanced genealogists wanting to use this tool. The use of atDNA, accompanied by skillful use of traditional genealogical methods, can help family historians identify those elusive ancestors and break down those brick walls.

 


[1] Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, imprint of Turner Publishing, 2014), 1–3.
[2] Thomas W. Jones, “Too Few Sources to Solve a Family Mystery? Some Greenfields in Central and Western New York,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 103 (June 2015): 85–103.

Click for more information.

A recording of this lecture may be previewed and ordered from PlaybackNow.

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.

Coming from OnBoard, May 2016

OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists is scheduled to publish in May 2016. We’re pleased to offer a preview of some of its content.

“When Does Newfound Evidence Overturn a Proved Conclusion?”

Most serious genealogists are aware of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) and its five elements that guide us to reliable conclusions in matters of kinship and identity. Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, explains a paradox inherent in the GPS—a conclusion can meet the GPS and yet allow “documents left unexamined.” What happens if we later find new evidence relevant to our research?

“Reporting Research in Progress”

Whether working on simple or complex genealogical problems, research reports are fundamental tools that help us to keep track of and organize our findings. Michael Grant Hait Jr., CG, shows us how following genealogy standards for reporting is critical to overall research continuity and success.

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

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.

SpringBoard Brings you Skillbuilding from NGS 2016

SpringBoard is an official blogger of the NGS 2016 Family History Conference to be held 4–7 May in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and we’re poised to bring you the BCG from the conference.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists will again co-sponsor the Skillbuilding Track. In sixteen lectures over four days BCG associates will educate all levels of genealogists about resources and methodologies to make our research the best it can be.

For those who are unable to attend the conference or who have too many lectures to attend at the same time, SpringBoard’s guest bloggers will present summaries of all BCG Skillbuilding lectures. Watch for them beginning a couple days after the conference begins. All the Skillbuilding lectures will be recorded and available for purchase through PlaybackNow, which will also offer two-minute teasers of each lecture recorded. Watch the SpringBoard posts for links to the individual recordings.

Three of BCG’s Skillbuilding lectures will be streamed live Friday, 6 May, as part of Day Two: Methods for Success:

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “Reasonably Exhaustive Research: The First Criteria for Genealogical Proof

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “Systematically Using Autosomal DNA Test Results to Help Break Through Genealogical Brick Walls

Stefani Evans, CG, “Doughnut Holes and Family Skeletons: Meeting the GPS Through Negative and Indirect Evidence”

The live streaming will include five more lectures by BCG associates. So there are many ways to learn from this conference even if you can’t be there. SpringBoard will keep you posted.

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.

NGS 2016 Live Streaming Signup Deadline April 22

Can’t make it to Ft. Lauderdale for the 2016 NGS Conference? You can still take advantage of ten lectures streamed to you live. They will also be accessible for three months after the conference closes. Several lectures from the BCG Skillbuilding track are included in “Day Two: Methods for Success.”

The signup deadline is approaching, so be quick if you want access to these lectures.

The live streaming signup deadline is midnight, Friday, 22 April 2016. Register here.

Live-streamed BCG Skillbuilding lectures, Friday, 6 May, 2016

Jeanne L. Bloom, CG, “Sharing With Others: How to Convey Evidence”

Techniques to construct and arrange genealogical reasoning so that our research is useful to future generations and facilitates effective collaboration with other genealogists.

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL,  “Systematically Using Autosomal DNA Test Results to Help Break Through Genealogical Brick Walls”

A case study set in the early 1800s demonstrates methodology for using autosomal DNA test results to help solve longstanding genealogical problems.

Stefani Evans, CG, “Doughnut Holes and Family Skeletons: Meeting the GPS through Negative and Indirect Evidence”

When one Matteson family branch shunned its prominent renegade, it created a doughnut-hole pattern of negative evidence that, ironically, helps strengthen the case for connection.

 

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.

Welcome, LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, CG!

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson focuses on African American families with roots in the South, primarily the Carolinas, and she gets a great deal of personal satisfaction from helping families with slave ancestors to recover their lost histories. As a result she considers herself a genealogist with a mission: to research, write, and lecture to inspire descendants of African American slaves to document their family histories, and to raise the consciousness of all Americans about the contributions of these ancestors.

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, CG

To ensure that she had the skills and the knowledge to do this critical and difficult work the right way, she decided to work towards the Certified Genealogist credential, a goal she achieved just a few weeks ago.

LaBrenda is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and holds both a law degree and a Master of Laws degree from New York University. She spent most of her 35-year legal career as a corporate tax attorney, including five years on the staff of the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress.

No newcomer to genealogy, she had authored and privately published three editions of her family history (The Source: The Garrett, Neely, and Sullivan Families) and was the principal writer and editor of two church histories documenting their founding African American families while still in active law practice. But, LaBrenda said, even with her legal training, she made many of the mistakes of a novice genealogist. While her background gave her the needed analytical and writing skills, she didn’t fully realize just how much she had to learn about genealogy until she enrolled in the online certificate in genealogical research program offered by Boston University.

After completing the Boston University program, she immersed herself in genealogy, beginning with ProGen Study Group 13. That’s where she came into contact with her genealogy hero: Sandra MacLean Clunies, CG, who served as the mentor of that group during and even after the group’s 18-month study program. It was Sandy’s encouragement that led LaBrenda to enter the 2013 International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) Excellence-in-Writing Competition, where she took first place for unpublished material by published authors. Her winning article, “Searching for the Slave Owners of Isaac Garrett: Expanding Research Beyond Online Sources,” was published in the June 2014 issue of the ISFHWE quarterly, Columns.

She also attended the 2012 session of the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), and joined the GenProof 25 study group to gain a solid grounding in basic genealogical methodology. In addition to formal courses of study, she joined genealogical organizations that offer online tutorials and/or journals or newsletters, and attended national and local conferences where she could ask questions of established experts, and she noted how impressed she was with “how extraordinarily generous members of the community are with their time and knowledge.” She singled out Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, whom she first met through the Boston University program, and noted that the speakers at the annual National Genealogy Society conference were uniformly excellent: “Elizabeth Shown Mills, Judy Russell, Michael Hait, and Reginald Washington have never disappointed.”

She found conferences valuable to network with other genealogists, and learn more about her area of interest. When she started thinking about certification, LaBrenda made sure to attend online and in-person sessions that discussed the BCG requirements. Along the way, she picked up one of the best pieces of advice for anyone looking to achieve certification: “use your own family for the kinship determination project.”

She also turned again to her mentor Sandy Clunies, and it was Sandy’s feedback that proved invaluable in helping decide she was ready to begin the BCG certification process. LaBrenda emphasizes, though, that being ready to do the work and being ready to start the BCG clock can be two different things. While she’d reviewed the projects she wanted to include in her portfolio before filing her preliminary application, she hadn’t done any of the work and found herself pressed for time as the one-year deadline approached. So a key piece of advice for others is not to take that one-year time frame too literally: “It’s better to do as much preparation in advance as you reasonably can,” she said. “Limiting myself to that one year time frame wasn’t realistic, and certainly made the process harder than it needed to be.”

That experience doesn’t change her overall view however: “the certification process itself was worth doing because it sharpened my skills, particularly my facility with the citation forms and numbering system.”

She hopes to use those newly-honed skills to publish scholarly articles and lecture in her area of interest and to prepare to renew her credential in five years.

LaBrenda divides her time between Washington, D.C., where she has lived since 1982, and Laurens, S.C., where she maintains a residence on land that was once part of her Garrett great-grandfather’s farm. She is married to Paul Nelson, an ordained Baptist minister, and is the mother of a daughter who works as a journalist in New York City. In her “spare time,” she serves as a member of the board of trustees of the John Jay College Foundation in New York.

Congratulations and welcome, LaBrenda!


Photo courtesy of Raza-Ry Photography.

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.

Recordings of BCG-Family History Library Lectures

If you were unable to attend the lectures sponsored by BCG and the Family History Library yesterday, you may access recordings of all for a small fee each. For many of us that’s a lot cheaper than a trip to Salt Lake City!

NOTE: Jamb Tapes has gone out of business, so the recordings referred to below are no longer available through them. They may be archived in genealogical libraries.–October 2016

Michael Hait, CG, “What Is ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Research’?” Jamb Tapes May 2015, F351

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, “The Art of Negative Space Research: Women,” Jamb Tapes May 2015, S451

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, “After the Courthouse Burns: Rekindling Family History Through DNA,” 2014 International Genetic Genealogy Conference

Michael Ramage, JD, CG, “Forensic Genealogy Meets the Genealogical Proof Standard,” Jamb Tapes May 2015, F342

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “Margaret’s Baby’s Father and the Lessons He Taught Me (about Illegitimacy, Footloose Males, Burned Counties & More),” an earlier version at Jamb Tapes 2008, F-144

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “When Does Newfound Evidence Overturn a Proved Conclusion?” Jamb Tapes May 2015, F321

 

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 Lectures in Salt Lake City, 9 October 2015

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will offer a day of free skillbuilding genealogy lectures at the LDS Church History Museum, Salt Lake City, 9 October 2015. 

Renowned genealogists Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, Michael Hait, Thomas W. Jones, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Michael Ramage, and Judy G. Russell will present six one-hour skillbuilding lectures. The annual lectures, co-sponsored by BCG and the Family History Library, are free and open to the public. Anyone in Salt Lake City on that day is welcome to attend. The lectures will be presented live.

Friday, October 9, 2015, Church History Museum Auditorium (on West Temple next to the Family History Library)

9:00 a.m. – “What Is ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Research’?” Michael Hait, CG

10:15 a.m. – “The Art of Negative Space Research: Women,” Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

11:30 a.m. – “After the Courthouse Burns: Rekindling Family History Through DNA,” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

12:30 p.m. – One hour break

1:30 p.m. – “Forensic Genealogy Meets the Genealogical Proof Standard,” Michael Ramage, JD, CG

2:45 p.m. – “Margaret’s Baby’s Father and the Lessons He Taught Me (about Illegitimacy, Footloose Males, Burned Counties & More),” Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

4:00 – “When Does Newfound Evidence Overturn a Proved Conclusion?” Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

“Whether you attend one skillbuilding lecture or all six, you will learn more about how to apply sound methodology to your genealogical research,” said BCG President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Education is part of this mission.”

For questions or more information contact 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-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.