By Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG®
Welcome to BCG’s blog! I serve as treasurer of BCG, probably because in a previous life I worked as a banker and a financial planning analyst. As a nascent genealogist during the 1990s I was working in isolation. There was no social media. I was so “green” that I did not know about the existing opportunities to meet other hard-core genealogists. I thought I was good at genealogy but worked alone, without the benefit of review by peers.
In March 1999 I applied to BCG. By seeking certification, I hoped to find out if my work was good enough for me to be a professional genealogist. If not, I wanted to know which skills I needed to strengthen. During the agonizing process of assembling my portfolio I found I had a great deal to learn, but I eventually mailed what I thought was the most perfect portfolio the world has ever seen. My application was not a slam-dunk and required arbitration. Fortunately, despite all the faults in that “perfect” portfolio, I was granted BCG’s Certified Genealogist credential.
I now work as a full-time professional researcher and conduct projects for government agencies, attorneys, authors, newspapers, heir-search firms, professional genealogists, and family researchers. My areas of expertise are Illinois, with a concentration in Cook County research, and heirship searches and forensic genealogy. I am also a lecturer, writer, and editor.
Since 1999 I have continued to grow as a genealogist, acquiring knowledge and skills through applying BCG’s standards. The standards are the invaluable, collected wisdom of those genealogists who came before us. The standards are not solely for BCG associates or for those who desire to be Board-certified. Any genealogist who follows the standards will save time, will make more efficient use of limited financial resources, and will avoid many brick walls.