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Sample Work Products


As examples of quality work products, BCG offers a sampling of materials prepared by board-certified genealogists. Click any link below to download a PDF version for your personal reference.

The genealogies and proof arguments presented here have been published by peer-reviewed journals and are used with their permission. All works are copyrighted by their authors. At your own website, if you wish, you may provide links to these models. However, the authors' copyrights do not permit their work to be copied for reproduction elsewhere.

Please note also: Every journal has a house style that reflects its tradition. While these published articles provide excellent models of genealogies and proof arguments, Genealogy Standards recommends, for consistency, the following style guides:

WRITING STYLE: Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).
CITATIONS: Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, second edition revised (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2012). A digital version is available from Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation, and Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com), via "Book Store."

Case Studies and Proof Arguments

Thorough research often results in a significant body of relevant material that may or may not directly resolve the problem. You may have accumulated multiple pieces of direct evidence that conflict with each other. Or you may have substantial indirect evidence that, when assembled properly, reveals the answer to the research problem even though no one document states the answer explicitly. In such cases, you will want to prepare a "proof argument"—that is, a detailed discussion of the problem, the evidence, and the resolution of the problem.

Proof arguments, when published in genealogical journals, are typically referred to as case studies. As a rule, they demonstrate how to resolve problems of identity or kinship, a skill that BCG tests under Application Requirement 6. Proof arguments may also be incorporated into client reports (Application Requirement 4) and narrative genealogies or narrative lineages (Application Requirement 7).

By clicking the links below, you will find PDF versions of several excellent models that meet the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Mills, Elizabeth Shown, CG, CGL, FASG. “Which Marie Louise is ‘Mariotte’? Sorting Slaves of Common Names.National Genealogical Society Quarterly 94 (September 2006): 183-204. As a case study, this article (like those above) serves as an example for Application Requirement 6. Additionally, its genealogical summary, with two embedded proof arguments, serves as an example of a narrative genealogy for BCG Application Requirement 7.

Genealogies

Families may be assembled in many ways. Common formats include lineages, studies of all descendants of a single family, all ancestors of an individual, or a combination of these. You may prefer to tell your family story in some historical context (a "narrative genealogy") or you may prefer a more traditional "compiled genealogy." The most critical element is your choice of a numbering system that enables other users of your work to correctly interpret the relationships between individuals. The two standard numbering systems are those developed by the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. The links below provide three examples of quality work.

Lenzen, Connie, CG. "The Maternal Line of Elizabeth (Niesz) Titus." (2007). An example of a narrative lineage for Requirement 7; Kinship-Determination Project.

Research Reports

At the close of every research project or assignment, thorough researchers prepare a research report for their clients or their family files. That report summarizes what was done within the project and lays the groundwork for the next stage of research. Its format may vary according to the type of project. For very simple research requests, a "letter report" may suffice. For most research efforts, a more formal report is needed. In general terms, a formal report covers the following:

BACKGROUND:

  • It identifies the problem that was researched and the parties involved;
  • It identifies the materials used in this project and their location, with full citations;
  • It identifies limitations placed upon the project that may have affected the results.

BODY OF REPORT:

  • It presents all findings, with fully-documented abstracts, transcripts, or other forms of research notes, and with appropriate interpretation and analysis;
  • It clearly separates all analyses and conclusions of the researcher from the detail of the records being abstrated or transcribed;
  • It may include proof arguments, when and where necessary;
  • It provides a summary analysis of what was accomplished in the project;
  • It suggests future work based on current results.

APPENDIXES:

As attachments, it may include other items - for example:

  • Photocopies of pertinent records with full documentation supplied in the margin of the face of the document;
  • A compiled genealogy to summarize the family that is being reconstructed.

Four examples are available in PDF form by clicking on the links below. Other sample research reports, covering other types of research assignments, will be periodically added.

Client Agreements

If you are a professional researcher, it is important to have a written agreement between you and your client. Click the following links to download PDF versions of sample client agreements for your personal reference. They should be used only as a springboard for analyzing your own needs. You should consult an attorney for assistance in drafting your own contracts.

 



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