BCG Education Fund Workshop at NGS St. Charles 12 May 2015

The BCG Education Fund is sponsoring a great educational opportunity at the annual NGS conference. Aimed at intermediate to advanced genealogists, this one-day workshop features two skilled and respected instructors, Barbara Mathews, CG, FASG, and Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. They will speak about evidence and research reports, respectively. The workshops fill quickly, so if this one looks appealing, sign up right away: http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/bcg-education-fund-workshop/.

 

Putting Skills To Work

Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM
St. Charles, Missouri

Putting Skills To Work is a unique full-day, hands-on workshop limited to sixty participants. The focus is on skills needed by anyone practicing serious genealogical research, whether as a family historian, librarian, dedicated hobbyist, or writer. Materials are geared to intermediate and advanced practitioners and advocate established genealogical standards.

The $110 registration fee includes lunch, two in-depth presentations, hands-on exercises, syllabus, handouts, and active class participation. NGS conference registration is not required.

Barbara J. Mathews, CG, FASG, will lead the session “Evidence Analysis, Correlation, and Resolution: The Heart of the Genealogical Proof Standard.” Focusing on only direct evidence creates unnecessary research dead ends. This session addresses weighing BMathewsand correlating sources, evidence, and information in their many diverse forms for successful resolution of investigations.

Barbara Mathews is a lineage genealogist specializing in colonial Connecticut and Massachusetts. She represents BCG on the Records Access and Preservation Committee, and is Civil Records Co-Director for the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC). Her white paper co-written for MGC, “Framing a Discussion on Vital Records Access,” provides an historic look at government policies involving ID theft, financial fraud, and vital records. She is currently working on a book about the descendants of the fourth colonial governor of Connecticut for the Welles Family Association. Barbara mentored ProGen Study Group 7, GenProof Study Group 6, and currently mentors ProGen Study Group 21. She is a substitute instructor for the Boston University genealogical certificate program, a contributor to the BCG blog, SpringBoard, and a former trustee of BCG and the BCG  Education Fund.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, will lead the session “Tested Strategies for Efficient Research Reports.” Many researchers EPowellassume committing research findings to paper is separate from the research process. Elissa will share her methodology for using available time efficiently during the research process, resulting in a sharable work product.

Elissa Powell, a western Pennsylvania researcher, is immediate past president of BCG. She is co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and instructs for Boston University’s genealogical certificate program and at the Salt Like Institute of Genealogy. She is coordinator of the Professional Genealogy course for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. Elissa is a frequent lecturer at national conferences as well as at venues across the United States. In 2010 she was the recipient of the National Genealogical Society’s President’s Citation for her broad support of the genealogical community.

 by Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, BCG Education Fund


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 Sherry Lindsay, CG

Sherry Lindsay, CG

BCG’s newest associate is also one of its youngest at certification. Sherry Lindsay was just shy of thirty when she received the email congratulating her on her achievement. The response to her portfolio was so long in coming, she had convinced herself she had not passed and that she would consider the application a great learning experience. After much finger-crossing and wondering if she understood the standards correctly, the email came as a surprise.

A major in Family History from Brigham Young University prepared Sherry well for her genealogy career, as well as for certification. Her coursework included family, local, and social history research in southern states, the Midwest, and Ireland, and work in Latin handwriting and documents. For the past five years Sherry has worked for AncestryProGenealogists (formerly ProGenealogists) and is currently part of their European team, comprised of about fifteen genealogists. This professional work has improved her research skills, and she gives credit to great mentors in her workplace.

Sherry loves solving the problems people have been puzzling over for years. She enjoys facilitating the reunion of adoptees and others who have lost contact with their biological families. She has also been involved in the fast-paced, collaborative, deadline-driven work for “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Sherry shares how she helps her family members learn about ancestry: “I’m a big proponent of my nieces and nephews being able to name their ‘eight greats,’ and I’ve been impressed with how early they start to understand how a family fits together. My obsession with helping people learn the names of their ‘eight greats’ actually started with my husband. When I learned that he actually had memories of some of his great-grandparents, I was really surprised. Then when I tried to find out which grandparents they were, we both realized that he had no clue. One grandma he just referred to as the ‘Raisin Grandma’ because she distributed raisins to the kids. I memorized his eight great-grandparents and then helped him to learn their names too. Now when his parents tell stories of their own grandparents, he can put specific names with the stories and know where they fit on the family tree.”

Two little boys complete Sherry’s family, and the older one, age four, is beginning to learn where his “Grandma Great” (Sherry’s husband’s grandmother) belongs in his family tree. Besides teaching her family how it connects together, Sherry keeps an online tree at Ancestry.com, commenting, “I hope they don’t lose their servers.” She is not tied to paper files and notebooks.

A love of camping, hiking, and canoeing keeps Sherry and her family outdoors in summer. She and her husband spent a year in New Zealand. The joke is that while he prepared his degree, she majored in vacation. Together they traveled around the beautiful south island, camping at Great Barrier Island and gathering shellfish.

Sherry can be reached at sherry.lindsay@gmail.com. She is so young that it is possible she could renew her certification eight or nine times. As her sons grow older, she looks forward to attending genealogy conferences and teaching at them. Welcome, Sherry, and may your association with BCG be long and fruitful.


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.

Ten-Minute Methodology: Proof Statements 2, Examples

This post is part of an occasional series intended to educate and challenge BCG associates, aspirants, and the genealogical community at large.

I promised last post to give examples of proof statements. Here are two. The first shows proof statements as sentences, the second as data items.

Proof statements in a genealogical summary. Here each proof statement is comprised of an assertion and its related source citations, together proving the identity of Harriet and her husband. The sources are original and the context demonstrates “reasonably exhaustive research” in vital, church, and newspaper records. Two proof statements in this excerpt show the relationship of Harriet and Joseph to the parents of each.

1. Harriet Jane Iddiols, daughter of John Iddiols and Harriet Walter, was born 1 November 1842 in London, England,1 and died 3 April 1881 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.2 She married on 13 February 1863 at Saint John to Joseph Williams.3 Joseph, son of Peter and Elizabeth Williams, was baptized 27 November 1836 at Mawgan-in-Meneage, Cornwall, England,4 and died 24 April 1886 in Boston, Massachusetts.5

________________________

1 England birth certificate, Harriett Jane Iddiols, 1842; General Register Office, London, image from Strand, vol. 1, p. 349. Also, Parish of St. Anne (Soho, Westminster, Middlesex), Baptisms, vol. 7 (1837–1853), p. 247, Harriett Jane Iddiols; microfilm 918,608, Family History Library (FHL), Salt Lake City, Utah.

2 “Died,” The Telegraph (Saint John, N.B.), 5 April 1881, p. 3.

3 Saint John Co., marriage register, vol. F (1859–1863), p. 413, Williams–Iddiols; microfilm F16244, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB), Fredericton, N.B. Also, Saint John Co., marriage bond 1387 (1863), Williams–Iddiols; PANB microfilm F9093.

4 FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 25 November 2014) > “England, Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers, 1538–2010” > Cornwall > Mawgan-in-Meneage > Baptisms 1813–1837, image 52 of 54, Joseph Williams. [The later biographical sketch will show Joseph enumerated as his parents’ son in 1851.]

5 FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 25 November 2014) > “Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627–2001” > Suffolk > Boston > Deaths 1886–1887 > image 97 of 683, Joseph Williams. Also, “Deaths,” The Daily Sun (Saint John), 27 April 1886, p. 3.

The author gratefully acknowledges Alison Hare, CG, for providing this example.

Proof statements in a database. Here the proof statements are not sentences, but data items, a series of related proofs for the events of a woman’s life. Each is supported by at least one citation to a high quality source. Taken together they create context for evidence of this woman’s identity.

Two items assert Philippina’s relationship to her father and her mother. Again, each is supported by direct evidence from original sources and some primary information. Using a relationship tag or fact allows us to identify all the sources that bear directly on proof of parentage. If our genealogy software does not provide such tags, we can create them.

Name: Philippine Magdalene “Philippina” Kaiser

Individual Facts

Birth: 3 August 1843 in Bremberg, Nassau, Nassau1

Relationship: 3 August 1843, birth to Philipp Jacob Kayser; Bremberg, Nassau,                Nassau2

Relationship: 3 August 1843, birth to Anna Magdalene Klöppel; Bremberg,                                   Nassau, Nassau3

Confirmation: 31 May 1857 at Evangelische Kirche, Kördorf, Nassau, Nassau4

Marriage: 12 August 1876 to Johann Friederich “Frederick” Kicherer in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, United States5

Death: 3 July 1909 in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, United States6

_____________________________

1. Evangelische Kirche Kördorf, KB [Kirchenbuch, church register] 05, Taufen [baptisms], 1843, pp. 564–65, no. 42 [first of two], Philippine Magdalene Kayser; FHL microfilm 1,577,323, item 1. At the time of Philippina’s birth, Bremberg was in the Duchy of Nassau, now part of Germany.

2. Evangelische Kirche Kördorf, KB 05, Taufen [baptisms], 1843, pp. 564–65, no. 42; FHL microfilm 1,577,323, item 1. Also, Evangelische Kirche Kördorf, Konfirmationen [confirmations] 1818–1878, 1857, p. 120, no. 30, Philippine Magdalene Kayser; FHL microfilm 1,577,324, item 6. Also, “Aged Lady Dead; Mrs. Kicher, of Henderson Township, Expired Saturday,” Sykesville Post-Dispatch (Sykesville, Pennsylvania), 9 July 1909, p. 1, col. 4. “Kicher” reflects Philippina’s stepchildren’s abbreviation of their family name.

3. Ibid.

4. Evangelische Kirche Kördorf, Konfirmationen, 1857, p. 120, no. 3.

5. “Aged Lady Dead,” p. 1, col. 4. Also, 1880 U.S. Census, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Henderson Township, ED 191, p. 17 (penned), dwelling/family 93, Frederic Kicherer household; NARA microfilm T9, roll 1136.

6. Pennsylvania Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate 61832 (1909), Bena Kicher; Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg. Bena is a nickname for Philippina. Also, “Aged Lady Dead,” p. 1, col. 4.

Did you notice how the proof statements in these examples comply with the Genealogical Proof Standard (except for resolution of conflicting evidence, as there is none)?

For further information on proof statements, see

  • Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014), 32, 73
  • Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 84–86 and 177.

Next time we’ll look at what our proof looks like when there is conflicting evidence.

BCG Education Fund Offers Genetic Genealogy Workshop at NGS Conference

If you’re an intermediate genetic genealogist (not a beginner) and you’re going to the NGS conference in May, treat yourself to this fabulous opportunity. The workshop is limited to thirty participants, so register soon!

National Genealogical Society Conference 
St. Charles, Missouri
Friday, 15 May 2015

DWayneDebbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, will present “Genetic Genealogy: Effective Analysis and Correlation of DNA Test Results.” This full day intermediate-level workshop is for those who understand DNA basics and want to effectively correlate DNA test results with documentary research to answer a genealogical question.

The $40 registration fee includes hands-on exercises, syllabus, and handouts; lunch is not included. Please note that syllabus material will be provided electronically prior to the workshop. Attendees should print the material and bring it with them to the workshop. Internet access will not be available in the classroom.

Many genealogists today have attended lectures on genetic genealogy, but putting those principles to practical use is seldom demonstrated in one-hour lectures due to time constraints. As with analysis and correlation of any type of genealogical evidence, in-depth understanding comes with experience and practice. This workshop provides that “next step” beyond what is provided in introductory lectures.

The workshop will address analysis techniques and tools for Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, autosomal DNA, and X-DNA. Attendees should already understand the basic theoretical underpinnings in order to successfully complete hands-on exercises. There will be active class participation with examples from real DNA projects and one-on-one assistance with the exercises. While there will not be time for consultations on your personal DNA test results, you will be able to apply the techniques learned to your own results.

Debbie Parker Wayne is a Board-certified genealogist and genealogical lecturer experienced in DNA analysis as well as traditional techniques. Her traditional research focuses on Texas, the Southwest, and the southern United States. She coordinates and teaches week-long, comprehensive, interactive genetic genealogy courses at several genealogical institutes. She has performed research for genealogical television shows, such as the Canadian series Ancestors in the Attic, PBS’s Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., and The Learning Channel’s Who Do You Think You Are? Debbie is a trustee of the BCG Education Fund and the DNA project director for the Texas State Genealogical Society.

 by Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG

 

To register for this and other workshops, as well as for the conference, visit the NGS conference website.


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 Sara Anne Scribner, CG

Sara Anne Scribner, CG

by Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG

Sara Anne Scribner finds genealogy to be an emotional endeavor, and some original documents she found moved her to tears. One tearful read included content descriptions “of unclaimed packages sent to Confederate prisoners of war at Point Lookout.”

Genealogy is not Sara’s first career. She graduated from Vassar College with a degree in drama. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Sara continued her education with an MS in Library Science from Simmons College in Boston. She worked as a library director in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and San Jose, California, and held other executive positions at San Jose. In the midst of this busy life, Sara found time to graduate with a BFA in drawing from the California College of the Arts in Oakland.

Sara uses all of her education in her daily life. Loving a good story, she writes and produces plays (several of which involve genealogy) and also acts in her local community theater. In 2010 she produced a play that explored a family and its reaction to unexpected DNA results. “The advertising read ‘DNA doesn’t lie, but sometimes Southern ladies do.’”

Sara chose her home in Bainbridge Island, Washington, partly because of its vibrant artistic community. She has continued her career as a librarian for the last thirteen years, answering patrons’ questions and teaching research strategies to the public at both a community college and a public library. She enjoys exploring new genealogical methodologies and research localities. Tenaciously seeking answers, she loves to move from low-hanging fruit to more challenging research.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Sara’s genealogical hero. “We could not conduct genealogy as we do today without their [the LDS Church’s] programs, most free or low-cost[:] . . . their international microfilming program, Family History Centers, educational programs (like the FamilySearch Wiki or free online courses), and the one-of-a-kind Family History Library.” Sara is inspired by and values the many genealogical “heavyweights” she has studied with at institutes and conferences.

Going through the certification process improved Sara’s genealogical work. She realized she was an inconsistent record-keeper. As she prepared her portfolio, she developed a process that improved her record-keeping skills and her method of working through a genealogical research problem. Sara loves “a good laugh, and where research is concerned there are plenty of those, especially in the ‘now I know better’ category.”

Sara’s advice for those thinking about certification includes getting as much education as you can afford and getting acquainted with others involved in genealogy. Having genealogy friends to laugh with helps. She also advises frequently revisiting the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) requirements, genealogical methodology books, and conference notes. Finally, take your time in preparing your portfolio, even if you require an extension.

In the next five years, Sara hopes to open a genealogy research business and credits her experience in a ProGen Study Group for providing business guidance. She is working towards identifying the parents of her ancestor, Eliza (Williamson) Fisher, her most elusive female ancestor.

Welcome, Sara!


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.

Ten-Minute Methodology: Proof Statements 1

This is the first in an occasional series intended to educate and challenge BCG associates, aspirants, and the genealogical community at large.

Confession: Since starting this post, I’ve come to realize that my idea of proof statements was all wrong. Now I have them pretty well figured out. I hope this post will help you understand them better, too.

The heart of all our genealogical work is determining identities and relationships and proving them. Proof statements are one means of presenting our genealogical conclusions. Not all statements, even if they are source-cited, are proof statements. Proof statements are special. All by themselves, individually, they can make a case for a conclusion and comply with the Genealogical Proof Standard. What? How does that happen? Let’s look at one of the standards.

Standard 53 includes a definition of proof statements:
Proof statements are source-cited sentences and data items in thoroughly documented contexts demonstrating adequate research scope. Genealogists use proof statements when at least two citations demonstrate that a conclusion’s accuracy requires no explanation. Proof statements usually appear in documented presentations of genealogical research results, including articles, blogs, case studies, chapters, charts, family histories, monographs, reports, tables, and other printed and online works. [1]

Whew! Let’s break it down.

What are proof statements? They are conclusions within a broader context that meet current standards for genealogical proof. Let’s analyze the standard to see the requirements.
o They are “sentences and data items [as in a table].” They make an assertion.
o They are “source-cited.” They include the source citations.
o They appear in “thoroughly documented contexts demonstrating adequate research scope.” They are part of a larger whole (the context), one of the types of presentations listed above, and the context is further described:
• The whole context (like the single proof statement) is thoroughly documented.
• The context demonstrates “adequate research scope.” The context and its citations show reasonably exhaustive research.

How do proof statements comply with the five criteria of the Genealogical Proof Standard?
1. The proof statement and the context of which it is a part reflect broad research in a wide range of best available sources.
2. At least two source citations support the assertion. One or more may appear in the footnote to the proof statement. Or one may appear in the footnote and other(s) in the broader context in which the statement appears.
3. The citations reflect use of high-quality sources and information. Priority is given to original sources and primary information. The proof requires no further explanation or discussion of the evidence. It fits well in its context.
4. Resolution of conflicting evidence requires explanation beyond the scope of a proof statement, so it is not applicable to this type of proof.
5. A proof statement is the write-up of the conclusion.

Where do we find proof statements? What do they look like? We use them in every genealogical work product we create. The next “Ten-Minute Methodology” post will give examples of proof statements. Be watching for it as you mull over these concepts!


[1] Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (Nashville: Ancestry, 2014), 32.

Welcome Jean Atkinson Andrews, CG

Jean Atkinson Andrews, CG

Jean Atkinson Andrews may be familiar as a regional director on the National Genealogical Society (NGS) board and as its outgoing treasurer. She is South Carolina’s second BCG associate. She confesses, though, to having (paraphrasing Garrison Keillor) “a certain smug satisfaction in being a Midwesterner,” raised in the soybean country of central Illinois.

Jean and her husband retired from Ohio to South Carolina eight years ago. Growing up in the North, she knew the Civil War from the Union perspective. Recently she has begun working with Redcliffe, a South Carolina state historic plantation, to trace descendants of the African American slaves who worked and lived there. The project has given Jean a perspective from the “other” side and an appreciation for the passion African Americans and non-slaveholder whites brought to defending their way of life.

Describing herself as “rather bookish,” Jean tells of a teenage summer spent reading the local newspaper obituaries at her public library. In just one month she traced her Atkinson roots back to England. She now dismisses that effort with a laugh and knows her roots extend from Illinois back to Indiana, and perhaps to Maryland via Kentucky.

Jean’s training in accounting, an MBA in finance, and a career in the automotive industry prepared her to track, analyze, and justify large volumes of data. On retirement she put those skill to work researching her husband’s difficult and interesting Ohio line.

About four years ago Jean began seriously pursuing certification, which has changed her work “exponentially” for the better. Besides the “usual suspects,” Elizabeth Shown Mills and Tom Jones, Jean appreciates “timely prodding” toward certification from her BCG-associate-mentors Shirley Langdon Wilcox, Barbara Vines Little, and Nancy Peters. Jean would make the NGS Quarterly articles by “outstanding South Carolina genealogist GeLee Corley Hendrix required reading for anyone interested in Palmetto state research.”

Jean especially values the rubrics in preparing her successful portfolio. She explains, “After finishing each segment of the portfolio, I would critique it against the appropriate rubric and each of the relevant standards. Once I felt I had done my best work, I put it aside and did not return to it.” She advises prospective applicants, “Focus on producing your best work and not on being perfect.”

Jean loves writing and has published in the NGS Magazine and the Ohio Genealogy News. She has submitted her first scholarly article for publication in a leading genealogical journal. It treats a brick wall solved with, among other things, the serendipitous discovery of scraps of receipts in an Ohio probate file.

Jean can be reached at aandreje@gmail.com and through the BCG website. Welcome, Jean!


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.

The Road to Better SSDI Access Goes Through All Fifty States

A stretch of road between California and Nevada, photograph by Dan Thorburn, used under Creative Commons license, https://www.flickr.com/photos/danthorburn/7558581290 .

Do you remember how with one stroke of a pen on 26 December 2013 genealogists lost access to recent deaths in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)?

Nearly a year ago, the President signed into law the 2013 federal budget compromise bill. It included Section 203, which removed Freedom of Information Act protection from the SSDI and eliminated deaths from public record until the end of the third calendar year after they occur, effective 28 March 2014. As an example, deaths that occur between 28 March and 31 December 2014 will first appear in the SSDI on 1 January 2018. Closing the SSDI’s most recent records hides that critical single element, the Social Security number, but it also hides names, dates, and locations—information which could remain open and is used and needed by genealogists.

As the new session of the U.S. Congress begins in January, the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) plans to ask that only the Social Security number be omitted from recent death entries and that other information be returned to the SSDI. RPAC plans to show Congress that genealogists care by gathering signatures on a petition. Signatures are needed because Congress responds to numbers. The goal is to reach at least 10,000 signatures before approaching senators this coming year. In 2014 the petition traveled to the NGS, FGS, and IAJGS conferences, as well as the Southern California Jamboree, resulting in the collection of 4,000 signatures. We have six weeks to collect 6,000 more signatures!

Now is the time to take this petition to the fifty states. RPAC needs your help!

RPAC asks that you, in each of your home states, gather signatures on this petition. If you are an officer in a state society, take this petition to your board and to meetings. If you are a society member, ask your society to support this effort. If you attend genealogy roundtables at your local library, bring this petition along.

  • Once you get signatures, scan the signed pages and email the images to Jan Alpert, RPAC’s chair; her email is listed at the bottom of the page.

Please help by printing out this paperwork and bringing our case to the genealogists who don’t travel to national conferences, to genealogists in all fifty states.  We have six weeks. Let’s top 10,000 signatures! Let’s get Congress to listen to our concerns!

You can read more about this on RPAC’s own blog, “Genealogists Declaration of Rights—We Need Your Support!”

 

 by Barbara Mathews, CG, FASG

As BCG’s official representative to the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), Barbara Mathews advocates for the concerns of Board-certified genealogists, and participates in RPAC’s monthly conference call. RPAC is a joint committee organized by the National Genealogical Society, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. Each of these three societies has a vote on the committee. Non-voting representatives are sent by several national groups: American Society of Genealogists, Association of Professional Genealogists, BCG, and ICAPGen. In addition, non-voting representatives attend from two corporations, Ancestry, and ProQuest. Communication is fostered by an email list, monthly telephone conference calls, and the RPAC blog.

Welcome, Jaclyn Wertis, CG

Jaclyn Wertis, CG, of Tulsa Oklahoma

Without really intending to, Jaclyn Wertis has become an American Indian research specialist. She thought she would pursue Midwest research, compile lineages for DAR applicants, and trace immigrant ancestors. However, a post-retirement move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, changed her focus. Jaclyn lives close to the Cherokee Heritage Center and Native American genealogical resources not available online. Now over half her clients are searching for their Native American ancestors. Some are already on the rolls but don’t know about their forebears. Others know of Native ancestry only through DNA testing or family lore. Jaclyn enjoys this work that has a clear goal and a limited scope.

Jaclyn moved to Tulsa from California after retirement from a twenty-year career in public service administration. Most recently she worked for the Community Development Department of the City of Riverside, California. Her MBA and certification as a Project Management Professional prepared her well for her BCG application. She explains, “The tools and techniques and quality focus used in managing projects in the business world have translated easily into my genealogical work.” Jaclyn had been lecturing informally on genealogy, advising other researchers, and helping prospective DAR members when she began to do client work. At that point she knew it was time to become Board-certified.

Jaclyn found the BCG certification seminar at national conferences particularly helpful. In addition to reading the new Genealogy Standards, Tom Jones’s Mastering Genealogical Proof, and Elizabeth Shown Mills’s Evidence Explained, she also took online NGS courses. Her advice to prospective applicants is, “Put together a proof argument, proof summary, or proof statement for every relationship until it becomes a natural and instinctive process.”

Jaclyn has a strong orientation toward giving back through her genealogy work, both to her family and the community. Her future goals include the following:
• speaking to secondary school history classes “to help young people understand that history is more than just names and dates”
• volunteering at homes for troubled teens and after-school centers, as she knows from personal experience that “if our children have a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves, they will develop a sense of pride and self-worth that will help them make better life decisions”
• publishing “Tales My Mother Told Me and Other Family Stories,” a compilation drawn from conversations with parents, grandparents, and others
• transcribing her great-grandfather’s Civil War diary and her aunt’s three journals
• serving as DAR Registrar for her local chapter beginning in 2017
• teaching beginning genealogy at senior centers, for her church’s educational program, and for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Jaclyn Wertis is Oklahoma’s only BCG associate, our link to the foothills of the Ozarks. She can be reached at jackie.wertis@yahoo.com. Welcome, Jaclyn!


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.

Continuing the SpringBoard Tradition with New Editors

Laura Murphy DeGrazia and Judy Kellar Fox

Two years ago BCG launched SpringBoard, to create a sense of community and connect with online genealogists. Under the leadership of then-president Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, the blog introduced new associates, focused on noteworthy contributors to the field, summarized BCG Skillbuilding presentations at the NGS conference, and provided status updates on records preservation and access. Contributors included Elissa, Barbara Mathews, CG, FASG, and Judy Russell, CG, CGL.

Editorship of SpringBoard now passes to Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS, and Judy Kellar Fox, CG. Laura comes to the BCG blog with broad experience as past president of BCG and former co-editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Judy’s background includes teaching and writing.

The three SpringBoard founders will continue to be involved as contributing authors. All Board-certified associates are welcome and encouraged to submit posts as well. SpringBoard will continue to report news related to BCG, educate about our certification process and standards, and address issues that impact BCG and its role in the genealogical community at large.

Judy Kellar Fox, CG
Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS


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.