Congratulations, Robert Johnson, CG!

Robert Johnson became Associate #1076 in June, 2016. A native of Minnesota he currently lives in Springfield, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D. C.

Robert Johnson, CG

Robert Johnson, CG

Living in the mid-Atlantic area, he does research in that region, which is the home of many of his mother’s ancestors, folks who were mainly English, Scots-Irish, Irish, German and French-Canadian. He makes good use of his proximity to the National Archives. His heart, though, is in the Upper Midwest and his father’s Scandinavian ancestry which is Bob’s area of focus and expertise. He speaks Swedish and does translation work in addition to genealogical research. He has a J. D. degree and is a practicing attorney but will soon be moving back to Minnesota to be a full-time genealogist doing Scandinavian research. His business website is www.swedishamericangenealogy.com.

Bob completed a host of courses before applying for certification: the Boston University Certificate Program; the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy Forensic Genealogy Institute (CAFG FGI); the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed); the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP); and the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Home Study Course. He says the classes had an impact: “I have absolutely made numerous changes in how I present my work products and myself to clients over the course of preparation for acquiring certification.” When asked about the difficulty of preparing a portfolio, Bob replied, “I think the standards and emphasis on rigorous analysis gets you to 90%, but the last 10% is the art of the profession. Feeling sufficient confidence in presenting my work to judges for evaluation made the process seem harder for me.” But, his advice is: “Certainly ensure that you have done everything recommended by BCG, but then just do it—submit your portfolio. I, and many friends and acquaintances, stayed on the clock or in preparation, for far too long. I still would have preferred to wait until my portfolio and I were both perfect, but apparently even today that is at least a few weeks away yet.” Nevertheless, we see he has achieved certification.

Many genealogists have “former lives.” Bob says, “I have worked in law and history fields and both have been significant in helping me to develop analytic and research skills. I also trained as a chef, the skills of which have come in handy at a few society/association meetings where an injection of sugar is just the fix for overworked volunteers.” For him “genealogical research is like a great mystery where I get to act as the detective. I love that it is not easy and that I have to puzzle through new things, about which I have to learn. The combination of solo work backed by a network of supportive colleagues fits my employment temperament exactly.”

Calling himself an eternal optimist, Bob does not use the term “brick wall.” Bringing the standard of “reasonably exhaustive research” to mind, he looks at difficult research problems as projects that simply need more time devoted to them.

There are a few other things we need to know about Bob. “When not searching for ancestors who seem to try and avoid me, I am searching after birds that fly away from my attempts at photographing them, or I am stalking trout that swim away from my well-crafted and gently-cast flies. I am afraid to walk on the gratings on city sidewalks. And when I have the time, I read good books and watch terrible B-Horror films.”

Good luck with your transition to full-time genealogy, Bob, and congratulations!

by Nora Galvin, CG

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.

BCG OFFERS FREE WEBINAR: “No, no, Nanette! What negative evidence is . . . and isn’t” by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

“No, no, Nanette! What negative evidence is . . . and isn’t”
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL Tuesday, 20 December, 8 p.m. Eastern

Negative evidence is the hardest type of evidence to understand or use in genealogical research. By definition, a “type of evidence arising from an absence of a situation or information in extant records where that information might be expected,” it is, as the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes told us in the short story “Silver Blaze,” the “curious incident . . . in the night-time”—the thing we would expect to see or hear but that just isn’t there. Learn more about what negative evidence is—and what it isn’t—and how to use it.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will present “No, no, Nanette! What negative evidence is . . . and isn’t” by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, free to the public at 8:00 p.m. EDT, 20 December 2016.

A genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and holds Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer credentials from the Board for Certification of Genealogists where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, until recently, Judy was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. Judy is a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side. Visit her website at www.legalgenealogist.com.

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to offer this new webinar as part of an ongoing series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. This webinar will address genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

Register for “No, no, Nanette! What negative evidence is . . . and isn’t” by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, before 20 December 2016 at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/529243703022691843

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

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at http://familytreewebinars.com/bcg and http://bcgcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars.
For more information on BCG’s education opportunities, please visit: http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

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.

Associates in Action

Associates in Action highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Activities & Projects

Barbara J. Ball, GISP, CG, has begun the University of Strathclyde Glasgow PG Certificate program in Genealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies with the goal of achieving the Masters level. This course is recognized by the Association of Professional Genealogists as one of the few university-level programs available for genealogy. Website: http://www.strath.ac.uk/courses/postgraduatetaught/genealogicalpalaeographicheraldicstudies/

Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, has a new course available through Ancestry Academy. “German Genealogy: The Basics” is available at https://www.ancestry.com/academy/course/german-research-genealogy.

Awards & Achievements

Sharon Hoyt, CG, won the Minnesota Genealogical Society’s 2016 Family History Writing Award for her article “The Missing Man: The Mysterious Disappearance of August Henry Lawrence of Winthrop, Minnesota.”  The article will appear in an upcoming issue of Minnesota Genealogist.

BCG Education Fund 2017 Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture

The BCG Education Fund announces Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL, as the featured speaker for the 2017 Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series.

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, will speak at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, and at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2017 National Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her topic at the National Genealogical Society Conference is “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Professional and Personal Genealogical Standard.” The lecture considers how we, as professional and personal genealogists, can enrich our family histories, our client bases, and our collaborations with fellow researchers by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard. Her topic at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference builds from the NGS lecture. “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Society and Corporate Genealogical Standard” explores how genealogical societies and companies can better grow their memberships, serve their constituencies, and increase their revenues by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard.

Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and National Genealogical Society Magazine, among other publications. She is on the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Alabama, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® and holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠. Her blog – chosen as one of the American Bar Association’s top 100 in 2013, 2014 and 2015 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website (http://www.legalgenealogist.com).

The Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series, initiated in 2007, honors Helen F.M. Leary of North Carolina, Certified Genealogist Emeritus and a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, known for her richly informative and entertaining lectures on methodology, law, writing, and the art of lecturing.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund, founded in 2000 as an independent non-profit charitable trust, advances the educational aims of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® by funding learning programs consistent with standards promulgated by the Board and by providing incentives for study and scholarly research in accordance with the Board’s standards. For more information, see BCG Education Fund (http://bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html).

BCG Education Fund Trustees:

J.H. Fonkert, CG
Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG
Patricia Hackett Nicola, CG
Angela Packer McGhie, CG
Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

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.

BCG Education Fund Putting Skills to Work 2017 Workshop

The BCG Education Fund announces speakers and topics for the 2017 Putting Skills to Work workshop, scheduled for Tuesday, 9 May 2017, prior to the NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The workshops are designed to help all researchers perform more efficient and effective research, solve difficult problems, and present well-reasoned conclusions. Morning and afternoon sessions provide a full day of instruction that includes practical, hands-on exercises. The 2017 workshops will be presented by Nancy A. Peters, CG, and Sara Scribner, CG.

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG

Nancy A. Peters, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Correlating Evidence to Solve Genealogical Problems.” Are you facing what seems like a brick wall in your research? Solutions to complex kinship and identity problems require skill in working with direct, indirect, and negative evidence. This session provides practical methods and hands-on experience in correlating evidence to recognize patterns, connections, and inconsistencies that will help you make your case. Prerequisite: working knowledge of core record types—census, probate, land, and vital records—which are used in classroom exercises.

 

Sara Scribner, CG

Sara Scribner, CG

Sara A. Scribner, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Constructing and Writing Proof Discussions.” You solved your brick wall problem. But can you prove your case in writing to the toughest critic? This session deconstructs creating a convincing proof. Session participants learn to resolve conflicting evidence and construct proof discussions ranging from the self-evident to the complex. The session covers logic used in genealogical proof, and useful structures for writing a proof. Hands-on practice includes dissecting proofs written by published authors, and creating a practice proof for a personal genealogical problem. Prerequisites: Come prepared to practice writing up a personal genealogical problem. Also, thoughtfully read a few articles from The American Genealogist, The Genealogist, The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register, or The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund, founded in 2000 as an independent non-profit charitable trust, advances the educational aims of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® by funding learning programs consistent with standards promulgated by the Board and by providing incentives for study and scholarly research in accordance with the Board’s standards. For more information, see BCG Education Fund (http://bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html).

The registration fee of $110 includes lunch, hands‐on exercises, syllabus, handouts and active class participation. NGS Conference registration is not required. Workshop registration is provided through the NGS Conference registration site at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/.

BCG Education Fund Trustees:

J.H. Fonkert, CG
Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG
Patricia Hackett Nicola, CG
Angela Packer McGhie, CG
Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

BCG Offers Free Webinar: “Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History” by Melanie D. Holtz, CG

BCG OFFERS FREE WEBINAR Tuesday, November 15, 8:00 p.m. Eastern
“Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History”
by Melanie D. Holtz, CG

Notarial records—legal documents created by civil law notaries—are a valuable resource in areas of the world such as Louisiana, Mexico, French Canada, and Italy. Property deeds (land, personal, or agricultural), mortgages, wills, dowries, late birth registrations, marriage permissions, and many other types of documents can be found within this record set.

These records often provide key details about a family, their relationships, and financial transactions which cannot be found within any other type of genealogical resource.

Understanding the procedures behind the preparation of these documents is key to understanding their method of conservation, the formats the documents will be found in, and the contents therein. This lecture will provide examples of several Italian and French documents that are particularly descriptive and which provide key details on the families being researched.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will present “Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History” by Melanie D. Holtz, CG, free to the public at 8:00 p.m. EDT, 15 November 2016.

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, is a board-certified genealogist, lecturer, and writer with a specialty in Italian genealogy and Italian-American dual citizenship. With offices in both the U.S. and Italy, she provides her clients with a wide range of services, including Italian ancestral tours.

Melanie is also a co-administrator of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research and the author of several courses on Italian genealogy available through Family Tree University and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to offer this new webinar as part of an ongoing series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. This webinar will address genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics the BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

Register for “Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History” by Melanie D. Holtz, CG, before 15 November 2016 at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3105017916039030787

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact:

office@BCGcertification.org.

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at http://familytreewebinars.com/bcg and http://bcgcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars. For more information on BCG’s education opportunities, please visit:

http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

 

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.

 

Associates in Action

Associates in Action highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Activities & Projects

Judith A. Herbert, CG, has joined the Editorial Board of The Record, the quarterly journal of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society.

Awards & Achievements

Harold Henderson, CG, has won first place in the Chicago Genealogical Society’s (CGS) writing contest.”One Family’s Nineteenth Century from New York to Chicago to Oregon: Joseph M. and Artamisia Ann (Talcott) Burdick,” will be published in CGS’s quarterly.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) honored several of its members for their achievements and service to the field of genealogy at its 2016 Professional Management Conference (PMC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. APG President Billie Stone Fogarty presented the awards:

Yvette Hoitink, CG, APGQ Excellence Award for her September 2015 article “Use Content Marketing to Grow Your Business.”

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, received the Grahame T. Smallwood, Jr., Award of Merit, which honors personal commitment and outstanding service to the APG. Holtz was an APG board member in 2010 and from 2013–2014 and served on APG’s Professional Development Committee for six years. She is a member of the APG North Carolina Chapter. She operates an international research firm that specializes in Italian genealogy, dual citizenship, and probate cases.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, was awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership for her contributions to APG and to the field of genealogy.

Eileen M. O’Duill, CG, received the APG Professional Achievement Award. The award, created in 2007, recognizes exceptional professional achievement and ethical behavior with contributions to the field of genealogy. O’Duill, who lives in Ireland, served on the APG Board from 1995–2000 and 2007–2012. She is a genealogist, writer, and lecturer on Irish genealogy topics and is a co-author of Irish Civil Registration—Where Do I Start?

Career News

Darlene Hunter, CG, has been selected to join the full-time staff of the Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center (RELIC), Prince William County Library’s specialized genealogy and local history center, in Manassas, Virginia. As RELIC’s Library Services Technician III, her responsibilities include reference services, maintenance of the collection, and supervision of volunteers.

Publications

Karen Stein Daniel, CG, World War I Era Alien Enemy Registrations for New Mexico, 1918 (New Mexico Genealogical Society, 2016). Karen’s new book extracts and compiles fourteen months of the U. S. Marshal Records held at the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections, University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque. It is available for purchase through Amazon.com.

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, “Resolving a Modern Genealogical Problem: What was Rainey Nelson’s Birth Name?” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 104 (September 2016):203-13. The article explains how indirect evidence placed in cultural context may support a conclusion where vital records disclosure restrictions hamper solving a modern genealogical problem.

Harold Henderson, CG, “The Family of John S. and Zerviah (Hawkins) Porter of Jefferson County and Points West,” [Part 1 of 3], New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 147 (April 2016): 129-43.

Harold Henderson, CG, “How Much Was $14 Worth in 1824?” Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly 31 (June 2016): 98-99.

 

Congratulations, Yvette Hoitink, CG!

Yvette Hoitink became associate #1072 in May, 2016. She lives in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands, about thirty minutes from Amsterdam. Her ancestors came from the provinces of Gelderland, Noord-Brabant, and Zeeland, located in the east and south of the country.

She started researching her own family at the age of fifteen and discovered immediately that a great-great-grandmother was born out of wedlock. It has been her goal since then to identify the father. Her genealogical education and experience have recently led Yvette to recognize an important clue in a document she found on her very first day of research, and she believes this clue will lead to the identity of her great-great-great-grandfather.

Yvette Hoitink, CG

Yvette Hoitink, CG

Yvette is interested in a wide range of subjects—languages, cartography, travel, history, geography, biology, photography, reading, and teaching—and she finds they all seem to play a part in thorough genealogical research. With an educational background in computer science and management studies, she spent a 20-year career in Information Technology, working as an IT consultant and project manager for different archives in the Netherlands. She found that in project management she learned two skills that are fundamental to evidence analysis—working to understand other people’s perspectives and how that may affect what they say and do, and verifying information. She started a genealogy research business four years ago (http://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/).

The fact that English is a second language for her was an additional challenge Yvette faced in pursuing certification.  Members of the Association for Professional Genealogists will recognize her name and insights, and appreciate her seemingly flawless English skills, from the APG email list. However, Yvette says that compiling an entire portfolio in English was difficult at times. She considered transcribing one particular document but decided explaining the legal nuances in English would be a daunting task, so she passed over that one and selected another that was a bit more straightforward. Also, she says, “Some of the standards and practices that BCG expects were different from what we are used to in Europe—things like using married names instead of maiden names, numbering people in a genealogy, or citing sources. Having to make my own judgements on how to deal with those situations gave me a deeper understanding, but it took more time than I had anticipated.”

She goes on to say, “Learning about the genealogy standards as formulated by BCG was an eye opener for me. The standards overlapped with best practices that I had developed for myself, but using the whole set elevated the quality of my work. I had to relearn how I did research, especially regarding the way I document my findings.” Her five-year plan includes publishing books and articles about finding ancestors in the Netherlands and doing more New Netherland research, which she thinks has great potential for new discoveries.

Yvette considers Elizabeth Shown Mills to be her genealogy hero, “not just for her amazing powers of evidence analysis, but also because she is so generous with her teachings.” Yvette encourages others, especially in Europe, to work toward certification. She found that following leaders in the field gave her excellent exposure to best practices in genealogy: reading the NGSQ, following the Legal Genealogist blog, participating in the Evidence Explained forum. Here is her advice about certification:

  • You won’t find the time, you have to make the time
  • There is no one right way
  • Education before certification
  • Certification is not the end of your education
  • Combine education with practice
  • It does not have to be perfect
  • Just turn the sucker in (hat tip: Judy Russell)

Good luck with your publishing plans, Yvette, and congratulations!

by Nora Galvin, CG

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.

Associates in Action

Associates in Action highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Activities & Projects

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, and Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, are presenting as part of Family Tree University’s Virtual Genealogy Conference in September. This is a valuable educational opportunity you can enjoy from your own home on your own schedule!

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, will present the BCG Education Fund Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, and at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2017 National Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her topic at the NGS Conference is “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Professional and Personal Genealogical Standard” and will consider how, as professional and personal genealogists, we can enrich our family histories, client bases, and collaborations with fellow researchers by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard. Her topic at the FGS Conference at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, continues the focus with “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Society and Corporate Genealogical Standard” and will consider how genealogical societies and companies can better grow their memberships, serve their constituencies, and increase their revenues by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard.

Nancy A. Peters, CG, and Sara A. Scribner, CG, will present the BCG Education Fund Putting Skills to Work workshop at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Nancy A. Peters, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Correlating Evidence to Solve Genealogical Problems.” Are you facing what seems like a brick wall in your research? Solutions to complex kinship and identity problems require skill in working with direct, indirect, and negative evidence. This session provides practical methods and hands-on experience in correlating evidence to recognize patterns, connections, and inconsistencies that will help you make your case.

Sara A. Scribner, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Constructing and Writing Proof Discussions.” You solved your brick wall problem. But can you prove your case in writing to the toughest critic? This session deconstructs creating a convincing proof. Session participants learn how to resolve conflicting evidence and construct proof discussions from the self-evident to the complex. The session covers logic used in genealogical proof, and useful structures for the written part. Hands-on practice includes dissecting proofs written by published authors, and creating a practice proof for a personal genealogical problem.

Publications

Darcie Hind Posz, CG, has published two new articles: “Tanaka (田中) and Ishihara (石原) Families of Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan and Papaaloa, Hilo, Hawaii,” The American Genealogist 88:2 (April 2016): 81-94; and “The Todd Family of Lawrence, Massachusetts: A Study of Thelma Todd’s Immigrant Parentage,” MASSOG: A Genealogical Magazine for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 40 (August 2016): 96-100.

Congratulations, Jeanette Shiel, CG!

The Board for Certification of Genealogists welcomes Jeanette Shiel a native of Brunswick, near Albany, New York, and a current resident of San Diego. Jeanette became interested in genealogy after moving to California. Researching her Northeastern ancestors has been a long-distance project.

Jeanette provides this insight into her reasons for doing family history. “I pursue genealogy research because our ancestors’ lives matter. Whether they were well-known and left a vault filled with a paper trail or whether there are barely bits and pieces of breadcrumbs scattered here and there to hunt after and collect them. They want us to know. They want their story told. I personally enjoy the hunt for breadcrumbs.”

Jeanette Shiel, CG

Jeanette Shiel, CG

Jeanette feels that participating in a ProGen (Professional Genealogy) study group was a very helpful piece of her genealogy education. It gave her insight into the world of genealogy publishing and various kinds of writing that go into a portfolio. Her advice for others considering certification: “Write, edit, set it aside, rewrite. Be prepared and absorb as much genealogy education as you can. Never stop learning.”

Jeanette’s experience in preparing her portfolio was mostly positive. She enjoyed writing, which turned out to be a pleasant task. However, she dreaded writing citations and put off adding them until she had completed each component of her submission.

Certification is a strong recommendation that she will be able to point to in her new genealogy business, Fine Lines Genealogy (http://www.finelinesgen.com/). She expects that having gone through the certification process will be helpful in working toward her goal of publishing her research. She says, “I think it’s important to share what you’ve learned.”

Inspiration for family history research and for working toward certification comes from “people (both genealogists and non-genealogists) that never give up. They take on obstacles as challenges and never stop (the search) until they reach their goal (answer their research question). Genealogy is a never-ending process, a puzzle never completely solved. There may be brick walls, but they take them down one brick at a time.”

Jeanette exhibits similar doggedness in searching for the father of her ancestor, William Goddard. “I have taken a possible eighty-eight adult males on the 1810 census and through process of elimination of probate and other records it’s dwindled down to thirty-six males. I keep records of each family and capturing all of these families in context is quite a challenge. I will eventually solve this enigma…and when I do, it will be a story to share.”

Good luck with that research, Jeanette. Congratulations!

Jeanette can be reached at jbstree@roadrunner.com.

by Nora Galvin, CG

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.