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.

 

Report on Day 1 of the 50th Anniversary Lectures

Copyright © 2013, Cathi Becker Wiest Desmarais, used with permission.

The 50th Anniversary Lectures take place yesterday and today in the auditorium of the LDS Church Museum Library on West Temple in Salt Lake City, just north of the Family History Library. For several years now, before the BCG Board’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, board members and associates present lectures to the staff of the Family History Library to give back to them in recognition of their support of genealogists worldwide. This is the first time these annual lectures have been made open to the public.

Thursday saw a BCG Certification Seminar, three lectures, and the Keynote Speech.

F. Warren Bittner, CGSM, and BCG President Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, presented the BCG Certification Seminar. They discussed the application process, from the preliminary application form to the final portfolio submission. Did you know you can download the BCG Application Guide for free here? The BCG website includes skillbuilding materials and descriptions of the application and judging process. From the How to Become Certified Page, you can navigate to a recorded version of an earlier presentation of this seminar here.

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CGSM, had the after-lunch spot for her lecture, “It Takes a Human: Genealogists and Writing.” Based in Chicago, she led us through several issues tackled by the Chicago Manual of Style. Jeanne also presented practical steps in writing, editing, and proofreading. She has shared with us her handout It Takes a Human Syllabus – May 2013.

Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CGSM, gave us pointers on analyzing sources in her lecture, “Should You Believe Your Eyes? Sizing Up Sources and Information.” She started with images of several records, asking if they were correct. No, every image had got its red X. Laura coached us to look askance at records until we have correlations.

Barbara Jean Mathews, CGSM, closed the late afternoon with her presentation, “Write While You Research: Let the Joy of Researching Infect Your Writing.” Barbara provided some practical steps to take in order to write your reports or genealogical narratives while you are in the library researching.

The Keynote Address was delivered that evening by Thomas W. Jones, CGSM, CGLSM, who tackled the topic “Kinship Determination.” He discussed the three Rs of proving kinship, Research, Reasoning, and ‘Riting. He pointed out that “no source is perfectly trustworthy,” and that “ancestral identification is rarely perfectly certain.” Tom offered rich examples of research and reasoning processes. For the writing section, Tom went over the structures of genealogical, lineage, and pedigree narratives.

Updated 11 Oct 2013, 10:51 a.m., with addition of Bloom syllabus.

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 Activities in Salt Lake City

BCG Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The BCG Trustees have traditionally met in Salt Lake City in October each year. Around that gathering will be a celebration to honor BCG’s 50th anniversary. Now is the time to make plans to join us in Salt Lake City in October if you haven’t already. A banquet and free lectures are all open to the public.

Open to the entire genealogical community is the all-you-can-eat buffet banquet on Saturday, October 12, at 7 p.m. (social hour at 6 p.m.) at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. Co-sponsored by ASG, BCG, and FamilySearch, this celebration of 50 years of genealogical standards is very appropriate. Judy Russell, CG, CGL, (aka “The Legal Genealogist”) will be the banquet speaker and promises to have us laughing and reflecting over 50-year history of our field with the following topic:

“We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” — Standards for the 21st Century
From no formal standards to the Genealogical Proof Standard, the field of genealogy has come a long way in establishing criteria by which excellence can be measured. And we face a long and perhaps even more daunting road ahead as we consider the 21st century challenges posed by technology, DNA and more.

The cost for the banquet is $40 and parking will be free for those who drive. Checks may be made out to “ASG” and sent to the ASG treasurer, Myrtle Hyde, FASG,  3628 Iowa Avenue, Ogden, UT 84403.

A series of free lectures from Board-certified genealogists are being planned for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11, 2013, in the Church Museum Auditorium next to the Family History Library, to which the public is invited. More details will become available on the BCG blog as they become known.

SLIG Course: “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?”

BCG and ICAPGen will again offer a joint course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, January 13-17, 2014. Both organizations’ credentials were founded in 1964, and this is a fitting way to celebrate credentialing while providing detailed requirement and application information. While two of the twenty sessions are jointly given, each organization has nine sessions to present, discuss and utilize exercises in their credentialing process. BCG’s instructors are Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, (co-coordinator with Apryl Cox, AG), F. Warren Bittner, CG, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, J. Mark Lowe, CG, and Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL. David Rencher, CG, AG will speak on cross-credentialing. For more information including a detailed schedule, see the “Tracks” menu item at http://www.infouga.org/aem.php?eid=8. The course is open to anyone who would like more information on credentialing processes.

BCG Skillbuilding at NGS: Certification Seminar

Post by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

It was with great pleasure that I, along with Warren Bittner, CG, and David McDonald, CG, presented a double-session for the certification seminar. The advantage of the sessions held at every national conference over the one-hour video on the BCG website is that attendees can ask questions. And what good questions they were!

Clarification between certification and a certificate program, and how to go about the various aspects of preparing a portfolio were all discussed. In addition those who are actively “on the clock” and getting their portfolios ready gathered for a photo (see below).

Attendees also heard from current BCG associates about their reasons and various pathways to certification from Michael Hait, CG, Craig Scott, CG, and Dawne Slater-Putt, CG.

The double session was audio recorded by JAMB-Inc.com and will appear for sale on their website under session T211 of the NGS 2013 conference.

BCG President Elissa Powell and Executive Director Nicki Birch flank preliminary applicants who are “on the clock”

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.

 

 


2013 Call for Nominations

Under BCG Bylaws, one-third of the trustees are elected each year to serve three-year terms. The 2013 nominating committee requests suggestions for candidates to place on this year’s slate. Suggestions must be received by 1 May 2013.

Nominees placed on the ballot will be associates whose standards of work are exemplary and who contribute balance to the Board’s composition, geographically and administratively. The most commonly needed auxiliary skills include accounting, database management, editing, law, marketing, and writing. Individuals suggested to serve on the committee must be willing to fulfill the duties expected of all trustees, specifically:

  • To serve for three years and participate in a  wide range of Board activities involving many volunteer hours;
  • To attend the Board’s midyear meeting held at the annual National Genealogical Society conference in the spring; and
  • To attend the annual meeting of the Board, generally held in October in Salt Lake City.

Trustees serve without compensation and are expected to pay their own travel and related meeting expenses.

The five trustees whose terms expire at the end of the 2013 annual meeting are CindyLee Butler Banks, AG, CGSM, of Nebraska, Warren Bittner, CGSM, of Utah (finishing out the term of Christine Rose, CGSM, CGLSM, FASG, of California), Dawne Slater-Putt, CGSM, of Indiana, Michael S. Ramage, CGSM, of Pennsylvania, and Victor S. Dunn, CGSM, of Virginia.

Suggestions for candidates, with a short description of their special skills, should be made by 1 May 2013 to Elizabeth Shown Mills at eshown@comcast.net.

THE COMMITTEE:
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CGSM, CGLSM, FASG, Chair
Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGSM
J. Mark Lowe, CGSM

 

Exploring Reasons Why to Certify

New audio clips of associates giving candid remarks on their certification process are on the BCG website’s “Why Certification?” page. In addition to David McDonald, CGSM, Beth Stahr, CGSM, and Michael Hait, CGSM are three associates with widely different paths who were taped at the 2012 FGS conference. Eileen O’Duill, CGSM, from Ireland, gives her perspective as an international Board-certified genealogist. Warren Bittner, CGSM, from Utah, talks about what methods he used to gain experience before applying. Linda Woodward Geiger, CGSM, CGLSM, from Georgia, gives her reasons for seeking certification.

These short clips should resonate with a variety of people. Perhaps one of their reasons or paths is similar to yours?

Using Established Patterns (and Records Access) to Find Answers

Established Patterns

The Editors’ Corner points out that the December 2012 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly has a theme, Six Degrees of Separation. Editors Melinde Lutz Byrne, CGSM, and Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CGSM, CGLSM, discuss using established patterns and networks to find not only relationships but also records. Burned courthouse? Remember that attorneys using that courthouse also kept records. Lost vital records books? Remember that midwives, ministers, and gravestone carvers also kept records.

The last issue of the 100th volume is rounded out by contributions from other Board-certified genealogists:

  • Michael Hait, CGSM, “In the Shadow of Rebellions: Maryland Ridgelys in Slavery and Freedom”
  • George Findlen, Ph.D., CGSM, “Resolving Duplicate Roman Catholic Parish Register Entries: French Canadian Examples”
  • Allen R. Peterson, CGSM, “Living on the Edge: A Hyde Family of Cheshire and Derbyshire, England”
  • James W. Petty, AG, CGSM, “Black Slavery Emancipation Research in the Northern States”

Michael blogged about the genesis of his article, which tied as a winner of the 2011 NGS Family History Writing Contest. Read his story here.[1] His co-winner was F. Warren Bittner, CGSM, “Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Büttner Family from Bavaria to New York,” published in the previous NGSQ issue.

Records Access

Melinde and Tom remind us that records — including workarounds for missing records — are only part of problem resolution. Access to those records is also critical.

Identifying active nexuses is not enough to complete the workaround. The archivist, descendant, institution, or government that preserves records is the final component. Without repositories in every sense, activities that greater nexuses chronicle might as well never have happened.[2]

Budget issues regarding the Georgia Archives and high-tech solutions to accessibility at the National Archives were highlighted in social media this week.

  • The Records Access and Preservation Committee reminds us that the Georgia Archives is a budget line item and attention from genealogists is still needed on this issue. RPAC wrote directly to Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia about the need to preserve the historical record.[3]
  • David Ferreiro, Archivist of the United States, was interviewed about NARA’s evolving use of digitization. The post and a sequence of short videos can be found here.
  • Pamela Wright, NARA’s Chief Information Officer, appeared at the 2013 Summit: Advancing Citizen Engagement, which was part of Social Media Week 2013. A blog posting NARA’s use of social media to create better records access is available here.

[1] Michael Hait, “Writing the Ridgeleys,” Planting the Seeds, posted 17 Feb 2013; http://michaelhait.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/writing-ridgelys/: viewed 22 Feb 2013.

[2] Melinde Lutz Byrne and Thomas W. Jones, “Editor’s Corner: Six Degrees of Separation,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 100 (Dec 2012): 243.

[3] Fred Moss, “Georgia Archives — RPAC Letter to Gov. Deal,” Records Preservation and Access Committee, posted 3 Feb 2013; http://www.fgs.org/rpac/2013/02/03/georgia-archives-rpac-letter-to-governor-deal/ : viewed 22 Feb 2013. The letter to Gov. Deal, signed by Janet Alpert, the RPAC chair, can be viewed at http://www.fgs.org/rpac/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/GeorgiaArchives-28-Jan-2013.pdf .