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 11 May 2017.

T251, David Ouimette, CG®, CGL℠, “Silent Border Crossings: Tracing the Elusive Immigrant Who Left Only Breadcrumbs for Clues”

By Harold Henderson, CG®

In the BCG Skillbuilding Track presentation “Silent Border Crossings,” David Ouimette, CG, told two stories in one compact lecture: his own evolution from “looking for the perfect record” that would tell him exactly what he wanted to know, and his improved research process in identifying an elusive immigrant over the Vermont-Canadian border. Here are some of the keys:

  • He looked at whole families, not isolated individuals.
  • He looked closely at “evidence I’d had in hand for years.”
  • He looked at the broad cultural and historical context of the Lake Champlain basin.
  • He looked at the record creators. One relevant priest was an Irishman who knew no French, and who spelled them so creatively that some entries could not be deciphered at all.
  • He correlated census and church records along with knowledge of workaday English and French versions of the same name.

The result was a strong case for the identity of the desired head of household. But without looking at the big picture, and without studying the details, nothing would have been discovered.

This talk has appeal beyond the particular border areas where it is set, and Ouimette’s soft-spoken style may be especially good at inspiring those who want to do good research, but who have not quite “clicked” with other lectures about standards.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from 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.