Thank you to everyone who attended the Board for Certification of Genealogists events at the recent Federation of Genealogical Society conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. BCG kicked off the celebration of the “50th year of its age” with a luncheon presentation by David McDonald, CG, who spoke about families—our own, our ancestors’ and our genealogical community family. Family dynamics have influences that provide insight for our research and into past and present interpersonal relationships. Thanks, David, for your insight!

The BCG Certification Seminar at FGS was a forum for the exchange of information and a great question-and-answer platform. A common question is, “How do-able is it to become a Board-certified genealogist?” Statistically, 40 percent of first-time applicants were successful last year. BCG determined that the rate of success improves for applicants who get involved in genealogy educational opportunities, such as attending conferences, institutes and the BCG Certification Seminar. Another success indicator is experience in analyzing evidence and problem solving. Adhering to the Standards delineated in the Genealogical Standards Manual is a must, and being familiar with the evaluation rubrics used for feedback–online at–also tends to increase success. Along with these tools, successful portfolios displayed at conference exhibit halls in the BCG booths help make for a transparent process.

Are you ready to submit your application? On the genealogy learning continuum line from earliest beginner to most advanced, there is a place where the measure called “Standards” is set. For most people “Standards” always seem to be above our heads, even when we grow past that measure on the learning continuum line. Whether your research, evidence analysis skills and writing meet these Standards is what you are asking BCG to tell you when you submit your portfolio.

Is it possible to achieve? Yes, absolutely, with the requisite experience, attention to detail and appropriate work samples. Does it take time? Yes, your experience, education, and adherence to Standards take time to develop as well as the particular work samples. Will your first portfolio be successful? That depends. All portfolios submitted receive valuable feedback from the three independent evaluators who reviewed your portfolio pointing out specific areas where your work needs additional experience and improvement. Those whose first portfolios are “premature” are in good company. Recently several Board-certified genealogists have told their experiences of being unsuccessful with their first portfolio, but successful with their second attempt, and what a learning experience the process was!

Our greatest hope is that you may be able to join more than 1,600 Board-certified genealogists who have achieved this personal and/or professional milestone over the last fifty years.

For more information, including the evaluation rubrics and a video explanation of the certification process, see