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Renewal Instructions and Tips

Your certification is valid for five years and expires on the anniversary date of the original certification. The Executive Director notifies certified persons ten to twelve months before their expiration date with a reminder that the renewal portfolio is due before the anniversary date. In order to ensure that their certification is renewed on time, certified persons should submit renewal portfolios at least four months prior to their expiration date.


Complete, detailed instructions for a renewal application can be found in the current edition of the BCG Application Guide.

Renewal applicants must demonstrate in their portfolio that their knowledge and ability have kept pace with genealogical standards, that they are still working to those standards, and that they have corrected any deficiencies noted in earlier certification applications.

Applicants who are also renewing a teaching-category certification must submit additional materials to demonstrate their teaching proficiency.


Through the years, BCG has asked our associates to help each other by offering renewal tips. Our thanks go to these certified persons for their insight and their willingness to share their personal renewal strategies:

From Joan Ferris Curran, CGSM, in OnBoard, Vol. 1 No. 3 (Sept. 1995), p 20-1.

  • Keep a file labeled "certification renewal." Place there a copy of work that especially pleases you; also keep a log of lectures, publications, and volunteer projects in the file.
  • Check the recommendations made by judges at the time of your last evaluation. Be sure that you have work samples to document improvements.
  • Document every work sample with proper and complete source citation.
  • Organize your materials so that your judges can easily see what you have included in your portfolio.
  • Limit what you submit: well-organized applications will not exceed the two-pound limit.

From Joseph Michael Barber, CGRSSM, in OnBoard, Vol. 6 No. 2 (May 2000), p. 12.

  • Chart previous judges' comments from your initial certification evaluations; prioritize your efforts and genealogical skillbuilding based on the judges' comments. Those suggestions common to all judges should be given the greatest consideration in planning for the renewal application.
  • After reviewing judges' comments, rewrite reports that were submitted with the original application, correcting any content, arrangement or visual deficiencies. Although you will not be able to resubmit these same reports, it is good practice!
  • Plan genealogical education based on the areas that judges noted

From Ruth Ann Hager, CGRSSM, in OnBoard, Vol. 6 No. 3 (September 2000), p. 20-21.

  • Prepare two folders, "Activities" and "Writings."
  • Place work samples and their permissions into the "Writings" folder and keep a log of the work you perform.
  • Track activities and awards on a list and place this list and accompanying documentation (conference brochures and articles) into the "Activities" folder.
  • Compile your portfolio by reviewing what you have placed into the two folders. Select a variety of work samples: for example, selecting one that is long and detailed, one that is complex in nature, and one that is short and simple.
  • Allow the portfolio to "age." Set it aside and revisit after a few days to notice any weaknesses.
  • Check your portfolio. Have you included the best examples of your work? Have all renewal requirements been met? Should anything be removed or added?
  • Look at the narrative portion of your portfolio one last time for grammar, spelling, and clarity.
  • Ask someone to proofread the narrative for you and make appropriate changes.
  • Make certain that the material is arranged in accordance with the Application Guide.
  • Weigh the portfolio.
  • Make necessary back-up copies in the event of a tragic loss in the mail.
  • Package the portfolio and choose an appropriate shipping method.

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