Ten-Minute Methodology: Identity Proof in a List

We’ve seen in earlier posts what genealogical proofs look like in a narrative and a footnote. A list, bulleted or numbered, is another effective way of presenting the proof that supports a conclusion.

Proofs in list format are clean, concise, and easy to follow. All the data is assembled in one place, and the correlation is obvious.

Standard 53 (can’t escape it!) offers a list as one of the options for a proof summary when the evidence is direct and the conflicts minor. “Proof summaries . . . may appear in a broader context—for example, within an article or case study, a narrative family history or monograph, or a report for a client, court, or personal files.” [1]

Here’s one by Harold Henderson, CG, that appears as part of an article.[2]

The list correlates data from a number of sources to show that Elizabeth Porter of the Midwest was the same person as Elizabeth Bassett from a New York family record. Once Harold establishes Elizabeth’s identity, he continues his argument for her being the daughter of a man whose probate petition didn’t include her, but by law should have.

Each bullet point describes evidence of relationships between Elizabeth and her siblings (all named in a family Bible record) and between her children and extended family. Note 1, mentioned in footnote 7, below, refers to the Lewis Bassett family record as found in his wife’s Revolutionary War widow’s pension file.

The evidence is all direct. There are no conflicts. We can accept that Elizabeth of two different places was the same woman.

For another example of a list-style proof that incorporates explanatory narrative, see Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 61. The same list was first published in Thomas W. Jones, “Misleading Records Debunked: The Surprising Case of George Wellington Edison Jr.,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 100 (June 2012): 141–42.


[1] Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014), 32–33.

[2] Harold A. Henderson, “A Missing Heir: Reconnecting Elizabeth (Bassett) Porter to Her Parents, Lewis and Dorcas (Hoxie) Bassett,” The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 145 (July 2014): 165–84, on pp. 166–67. The article continues in subsequent issues. Reprinted with permission. Members of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society can access the article online or from the NYG&B home page > eLibrary Collections > The Record > Search “vol 145.”


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

Free BCG Webinar: Jean Wilcox Hibben on Why to Certify

Tuesday, 21 April 2015, Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG, will present “Certified or Certifiable? Why a Genealogist Would Go Through All that Trouble.”

Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG

It’s no secret that becoming Board-certified is a great deal of work. There is no guarantee that an applicant will attain that goal on the first (or even second) attempt. So why do genealogists seek certification? What are the benefits of becoming Board-certified? What does it mean to do genealogical work to a higher standard? How can the effort to prepare an application reap rewards (personal and financial)?

The Board for Certification of Genealogists will present a webinar on this subject free to the public on Tuesday, 21 April 2015, at 8pm EDT. Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG, will offer some answers to these questions and some suggestions for how to prepare before “starting the clock.”

Jean has been involved in family research for over thirty-five years. She is the director of the Corona, California, Family History Center and a director of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She served as lead researcher on the PBS television program Genealogy Roadshow in 2013. Jean is also on the boards of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors, the California State Genealogical Alliance, and the Corona Genealogical Society. She maintains a website at www.circlemending.org, and has been known to call square dances and play the guitar. A native of the Chicago suburbs and retired college professor, she writes frequently for various genealogy publications and is nationally recognized for her informative and entertaining presentations.

Seating is limited for this free webinar. Register early and sign in early to avoid the disappointment of finding all the seats already taken. Registration by itself does not guarantee a seat; it only assures access to the link to sign in.

To register for Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG, “Certified or Certifiable? Why a Genealogist Would Go Through All that Trouble,” to be presented on 21 April 2015, at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT, 6pm MDT, 5pm PDT), go to 
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1789799687151712001.


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

NGS Conference Seminar: Measuring Yourself Against Standards

“Certification: Measuring Yourself Against Standards” is an interactive forum with three current BCG trustees. If you’ve been curious about what goes into preparation for BCG certification, here’s where you can ask questions and receive input about the process.

Thursday, 14 May 2015, 9:30am-12:00pm, Session T211

Successful candidates for certification often say that their attendance at certification seminars at national conferences was an integral part of preparing for their accomplishment. Yes, the seminars are taped and can be purchased and listened to later.  However, the supportive environment of a live audience with speakers allows participants to ask questions and get answers on the spot. BCG wants candidates to succeed! This double session demystifies the process and requirements by addressing concerns one by one.

The three trustees have a wide range of experiences among them. Two take clients, and one does not. Two had previous careers in the judicial system, and one did not. Two hold BCG’s Certified Genealogical Lecturer credential, and one does not. All became certified to test their work products against standards and learn ways to improve. All are dedicated to helping attendees answer the questions, “Am I ready?” and “Can I do this?” Come explore certification for yourself to better understand what is required to earn the post- nominal title of Certified Genealogist.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

Michael Ramage, J.D., CG

Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, Michael Ramage, J.D., CG, and Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Welcome, Cari Taplin, CG

Cari Taplin, CG

Cari Taplin, CG, tweeted her new BCG-associate status the day she learned about it: “I just learned I got my CG! @BCGenealogists Thank you! #genealogy.” She had already blogged about the portfolio preparation process when, with great relief, she turned hers in (“BCG Portfolio Madness”). To acknowledge the support of all those who helped her on her application journey, she blogged again, “Great News: I did it!” Cari loves to write, and her engaging personal style comes through in her blog with the unique, clever name, Genealogy Pants. Her published work also includes “Electronic Resources: Organize and Publish a Family Tree,” a course for the National Institute of Genealogical Studies; articles for the NGS Magazine; and six Legacy QuickGuides. She enjoys writing genealogies, so the portfolio’s Kinship-Determination Project was a breeze for her.

Cari writes, and she lectures, too: “I guess if I had to pick one thing that really makes my day it is lecturing and seeing people be genuinely interested in learning how to do something or genuinely enjoying the story I’m telling. I love helping people figure out a different way to work at a research problem.” To date she has made many presentations to local groups, and she’s aiming for the national stage.

Even while preparing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting, Cari was drawn to research. “In any class where we were assigned a research paper, I was secretly happy while everyone else groaned.” The step from art to genealogy followed the fun stories Cari’s grandparents told. One hinted at a family connection to cowboy actor Roy Rogers. Cari worked briefly as a receptionist for a firm with a high-speed internet connection. She spent free time between incoming calls researching the story online. Then she began searching obituaries, which led to interviewing older relatives, and finally she joined her local genealogical society. (She discovered along the way that the story was a myth.)

Among all the folks who befriended and mentored Cari on her certification journey, she especially recognizes the late Birdie Monk Holsclaw. “I owe so much to her. She took me under her wing; we met at least monthly to work on projects and discuss genealogy in general. She was the person who told me I should become a speaker, and so I did. She was the first person who encouraged me to write an article and helped me proof it. She told me I should seek certification and so I did. She was such a wonderful person and I owe nearly all of this to her.”

But Genealogy Pants? It is, Cari explains, her quirky sense of humor: “’Genealogy Pants’ [is like] calling someone ‘smarty pants’ or ‘fancy pants.’ I just got tired of hearing the same old words in people’s businesses ‘tree,’ ‘roots,’ ‘ancestor,’ ‘ancestry,’ ‘branch,’ and so on. I like to stand out in a quirky way.” She will now stand out as a Board-certified genealogist. She of course works from home dressed in her pajama pants.

Cari prepared her BCG portfolio in the midst of moving her family from Colorado to Texas. If she can do that, she can do anything. She alerts us in her blog, “I’m so excited to start this next part of the genealogical journey, watch out!”

Cari can be reached at cataplin@gmail.com. Check out Genealogy Pants, or follow her on Twitter, @cataplin. Welcome, Cari!


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

Discussion of BCG Certification for APG Members

Members of the Association of Professional Genealogists have an opportunity tonight, Wednesday, 18 March, to discuss BCG certification with BCG past president Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. Elissa explains, ”With only twenty-five APG members allowed to be in attendance on a first-come, first-logged-in basis, we will have an intimate chat about certification, how to prepare, and what it takes to be successful.” This is a great opportunity to learn about certification and ask questions of someone who has been Board-certified for twenty years. Access information is available on the Members page of the APG website.

18 March 2015, 9:00 p.m. (EST/EDT): “Certification: Process, Requirements, and Readiness” by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

The meeting room will open fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled starting time and holds a maximum of twenty-five attendees. Access will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

This is meant to be a discussion on a particular topic, not a lecture or a webinar. It is through the give and take of these discussions that the best learning experiences will occur. Please come prepared with your questions.

If you have any questions, please contact Melanie D. Holtz, CG, at Melanie@holtzresearch.com.

We hope you enjoy the meetings!

APG Professional Development Committee


CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer, are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Webinar Wow!

The response to BCG’s webinar series has been terrific. We apologize that many who registered have been unable to participate. Registration for a webinar only assures access to the link to sign in. Since there are only 500 “seats” at each webinar, “first come, first served” determines who participates. It seems that a half hour before the scheduled start is not too early to sign in.

Eventually all webinars will be accessible from BCG’s website for a fee. SpringBoard will advise when they are available.

The next webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT/EST). Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG, will present, “Certified or Certifiable? Why a Genealogist Would Go Through All that Trouble.” SpringBoard will post the link for registration when it becomes available.

Thanks for your interest in this series.


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

Free BCG Webinar: James M. Baker on Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles

James M. Baker, PhD, CG

On Tuesday, 17 March, James M. Baker, PhD, CG, will present “Elementary, My Dear Watson!  Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have.”

What can a genealogist do when key direct evidence is missing or inadequate? The Board for Certification of Genealogists will present a webinar on this question free to the public at 8 p.m. EDT 17 March 2015.  James M. Baker, PhD, CG, will offer step-by-step approaches for using inferential and analytic thinking to solve these challenging genealogy problems, including the use of naming patterns, birth/marriage witness data, inheritance data, sibling research, timelines, and family migrations.

Mr. Baker, an active genealogist for the past fifteen years, completed the requirements to become a BCG associate in 2011. He specializes in German, Midwest U.S., and early American research. He was an officer of the Sacramento German Genealogy Society (SGGS) and has contributed numerous articles to its quarterly, Der Blumenbaum. He also has written articles for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Magazine and the NGS Quarterly.  He is a member of NGS and SGGS. For the past ten years, he has volunteered at the Sacramento FamilySearch Library. In 2014, he presented ten different webinars at the library that were webcast to other libraries throughout northern California; he also presented a recent webinar for the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree community.  He has given more than 100 genealogy presentations during the past three years at local, regional, and national events.

Mr. Baker earned a PhD in sociology and social psychology from the University of Utah. He is retired from an aerospace and business management career in which he consulted for many large companies, including AT&T, Boeing, Cessna, Fiat, General Electric, Honeywell, Lockheed-Martin, Magnavox, Raytheon, and Unisys. He has been an adjunct professor of sociology at UCLA and USC. His most fun job was being the “piano-man” at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor.

There is no charge for the webinar, but space is limited. To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2391757013757559042

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact: Nicki Birch, CG, office@BCGcertification.org.


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

SpringBoard Brings You BCG at the 2015 NGS Conference

SpringBoard has been chosen an official blogger of the NGS 2015 Family History Conference to be held 13–16 May in St. Charles, Missouri. BCG will have a big presence at the conference, and SpringBoard will keep you posted on what’s happening.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists will again co-sponsor the Skillbuilding Track. In sixteen lectures over four days BCG associates will educate all levels of genealogists about resources and methodologies to make our research the best it can be. Two of these Skillbuilding lectures will be streamed live Wednesday, 15 May, as part of Day Two: Methodology Techniques:

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “The Problem-Solver’s Great Trifecta: GPS+FAN+DNA”

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, “When Does Newfound Evidence Overturn a Proved Conclusion?”

In addition to the Skillbuilding Track, an interactive forum on Thursday will feature three experienced associates discussing the certification process and fielding questions from prospective applicants. The BCG Education Fund will also present a skill- and standards-based workshop on Tuesday, the day before the conference proper. SpringBoard will present summaries of all BCG Skillbuilding lectures for those who are not able to attend the conference. Watch for more information on all events, or have a look now at the conference brochure.

Finally, the live streaming will include six more lectures by BCG associates. So there are ways to learn from this conference even if you can’t be there. SpringBoard will keep you posted.

Ten-Minute Methodology: Proof in a Footnote

A genealogical proof can be as simple and compact as a footnote. Yes! Believe it.

The standards guide us, as always:

Standard 51 describes the need for our narrative and our source citations to show a thorough search in sources “competent genealogists would use,” favoring original sources and primary information;

Standard 52 reminds us that a conclusion answers a specified or implied question;

Standard 53 offers format options for presenting the proof; and

Standard 54 refers to the logical sequencing of the conclusion.[1]

BCG associate Donn Devine, CG, FNGS, found that his proof for the children of a couple fit nicely in a footnote, excerpted with highlights below. Thanks to Donn for permission to reprint the excerpt.[2]

Here’s how Donn’s proof meets the standards:

Standard 51: The footnote correlates evidence from vital records (negative), estate records (particularly valuable as an original source providing primary information), censuses (which confirm the estate evidence), and city directories. The last sentence also refers to the article’s narrative, which establishes the family’s residences. All sources are as close to original records as possible.

Standard 52: The questions are explicit: “Who were the children of George and Mathilde (Bacharach) Falk?” and “Where were they born?”

Standard 53: This proof statement succinctly presents the evidence. One minor conflict, a birth-order reversal, is resolved by reference to a census and by a brief written explanation.

Standard 54: The source that names all the children in order is presented first, followed by the 1860 and 1870 censuses (which do not indicate kinship nor list yet-unborn children), and ending with the city directories and the 1880 census to clear up the conflicting information.

All that in a footnote! What more could we want?


[1] Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014), 31–34.

[2] Donn Devine, “The European Origin of George Falk (1823–1900), Brooklyn Watchmaker,” The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 144 (January 2013): 5–16, on pp. 12–13. Members of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society can access the article online or from the NYG&B home page > eLibrary Collections > The Record > Search “vol 144.”


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

 

 

Welcome, Melissa Johnson, CG

Melissa Johnson’s fascination with the genealogical resources of Newark, New Jersey, is hardly surprising: she is the first Johnson in her line not to have been born in Newark since 1666.

Melissa Johnson, CG

A descendant of many of New Jersey’s first settlers, including those from Newark and Elizabethtown, she has documented her family’s immigration into America from the 1500s on her father’s side all the way through to the twentieth century on her mother’s side. She became interested in genealogy when she was about nine years old after her Johnson grandfather showed an interest.

She never looked back and, today, Melissa Johnson is one of the newest—and one of the youngest—Board-certified genealogists, having received the credential in January.

A graduate of Susquehanna University who has worked in public and government relations, the lifelong New Jersey resident said she sought certification for many reasons. More than anything else, she said, “I wanted to know that I was working to standards.”

“The process that BCG laid out made sense to me, and I knew I’d learn a lot from putting together a portfolio,” she said. “I also thought it was important, as a younger genealogist, to have a credential that would make people take me and my work more seriously.”

Melissa noted that the best preparation she had for certification was writing a journal article and working with journal editors. “I got to see what I did well and where I needed more work,” she explained.

She recommended that those thinking about certification look at portfolios at conferences and institutes where they are available for review. “When you look at the portfolios in detail, you realize that you can do this level of work, too.” She also highly recommends studying journal articles, such as those published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ).

The best part of the portfolio process for Melissa was writing the kinship determination project. “If I could write those types of works all day long, I would.” If she had it to do over again, she would have submitted her portfolio earlier. “I really was ready,” she said. “I just put it off too long.”

Just named as editor of the brand-new NGS Monthly, a digital newsletter of the National Genealogical Society, Melissa is also the Reviews Editor for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ) and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey and the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History.

Her genealogical work focuses primarily on researching New Jersey and New York City families from the colonial period to the present. She also assists clients with writing and editing projects, and works on forensic genealogy cases. She hopes to be able to spend more time writing journal articles and teaching genealogy at institutes, conferences, and other venues. She can be reached through her website at www.johnsongenealogyservices.com.

Welcome, Melissa!


CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.