I recently completed my first time as discussion group leader (ring leader?) with Jill Morelli’s “Certification Discussion Groups” (CDG for short). These groups were created to demystify the process of preparing and submitting your portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). It was a fun time. I got to meet with old friends and make new ones. And they got to ask questions about the process, be each others’ cheerleaders, and have the opportunity to study and process portfolios and judges’ comments.
The discussion groups are seven weeks and are divided up as follows:
Week 1: Intros, Application, Resources & Strategy I
Week 2: Ethics, Dev Activities & Strategy II
Week 3: Transcriptions
Week 4: Research Report (Client Report)
Week 5: Case Study
Week 6: Kinship Determination Project (KDP)
Week 7: Evaluation & Process
We go over each part of the application as well as the rubrics and standards for each piece. We also discuss some of the confusing items such as the differences between a narrative lineage, genealogy, and pedigree, and the differences between a proof statement, proof summary, and proof argument, and more. Questions arise as to what a particular standard or rubric means and this group allows for discussion of those questions.
The groups take place via video conferencing either via GoTo Meeting or Zoom. There are homework assignments that are meant to enhance the discussion, but they are optional. The course is not meant to be intensive, rather to answer specific questions about the process, dispel any myths that are floating around, give participants a chance to hear from people who have been through the process and passed, but aren’t PERFECT! We share our mistakes, the things we learned, and tips for avoiding overwhelm.
If you are interested in the process, are considering becoming certified, are already on the clock, or just wondering if it is even for you, I encourage you to participate in one of the groups. Current discussion group leaders are Jill Morelli, Angela McGhie, and myself. For more information and to be added to the waiting list, contact Jill firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is hard to believe that the year is half over and I’m already looking ahead to my continuing education plans for 2019. In a little over a month, I will be attending the July week of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in Pittsburgh (as opposed to the July week in Amherst, NY) coming up soon, taking the course “Women and Children First” with Judy Russell.
Looking ahead to future educational opportunities, I want to point out that GRIP’s 2019 courses have been announced and you can read about them on their blog.
Two weeks will be held in Pittsburgh at La Roche College, which is a lovely and inviting setting for a week of study. The weeks are June 23-28 and July 14-19, 2019. Mark your calendars!
GRIP is one of my favorites. I hope to see you there!
A few days ago I encouraged future institute-goers to apply for a variety of scholarships to attend IGHR. You can see that post here. Last night we attended the conclusion banquet for the week where my friend and colleague Kelvin Meyers announced that the Dallas Genealogical Society would be setting up a scholarship in honor of Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck, a long-time faculty member of IGHR.
I am attending the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research in Athens, Georgia this week. They have announced their future courses. You can see the courses planned through 2022 and plan your genealogical education plan accordingly. The courses for 2019 are as follows:
Audio recordings of many of the NGS lectures are available for sale and download at PlaybackNGS. There were many fantastic sessions, some I made it to, some I missed due to speaking or other obligations, and so I’m compiling my list right now.
If you couldn’t make it to NGS (or even if you did) this is a great way to hear some fantastic lectures.
I’ve been in Grand Rapids, Michigan since Tuesday when I attended the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” class. What an excellent day! The time was split between two classes.
Connie Lenzen’s class “Planning and Executing Reasonably Exhaustive Research: Or How to Ensure a Successful Hunt” discussed research questions and plans. I have to say that I was quickly reminded of what I should be doing everyday. I get so excited for the research that I forget to focus, slow down, and set forth a path for my search.
Tom Jones made us think about “Citing All Kinds of Online Sources.” This class focused only on sources you find online and really made us look at all of the layers that an online source might have. The original source, the microfilmed version, the scan of the microfilm, an original digitization in color, previously published or not, and so on. We worked through many example citations as a class and discussed each of the parts.
The level of interactive instruction that one gets at a BCG “Putting Skills to Work” class is incredible. If you are interested in certification, are already on the clock, or are already certified, it doesn’t matter. These classes are wonderful examples of hands-on, lecture with discussion with exercises, types of classes many of us enjoy and will benefit for our own continuing education.
The BCG Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” occurs on the Tuesday before the National Genealogical Society Conference every year, so you will want to adjust your schedule accordingly. Next year’s schedule was announced at this years’ class, and will take place in St. Charles, Missouri on Tuesday May 7, 2019:
“Meeting Standards with Twenty-First Century Research Reports” with Melissa Johnson, CG
“Evidence Analysis: Theory, Practice, and the Real World” with Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL
For more information on the BCG Education Fund, visit bcgedfund.org.
I have identified two lines in my family tree that are Irish. I am excited to learn how to do Irish research this fall (because I haven’t really started yet) at the British Institute in Salt Lake City. The institute is taking place 15 – 19 October 2018 at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah
On the topic of Irish research, this opportunity slid across my news feed recently: the Irish Genealogy Virtual Conference. You can read more about it here.
The schedule is as follows:
9:00 – Fintan Mullan presents Finding 17th Century Families in Ireland
10:15 – Gillian Hunt presents Using Church Records for Irish Genealogy Research
11:30 – Fiona Fitzsimons presents Finding Women in the Irish Records
12:30 – break
1:00 – Chris Paton presents Using Irish Land Records for Genealogy Research
2:15 – Maurice Gleeson presents Making Online Resources Work for You
The website states: The virtual conference starts at 9 am (Eastern) with presentations being delivered in pre-recorded webinar format. Presentations are made available in sequence. After one presentation ends, another becomes available. Also, the webinars are available for 72 hours to accommodate time zone differences.
At $79 CAD (about $64 US if my conversion is correct) for five presentations, this seems like an easy choice for me! If you are interested in learning more about Irish research, this sounds like a great conference that you can attend from home. For more information, visit their website: https://www.genealogyvic.com
In my work as a professional genealogist, I have to be able to read old handwriting. I know others struggle with this, and I have a couple of tips to share that really helped build my confidence when it comes to reading old handwriting.
My first tip and the best thing I can suggest is to take part in a volunteer indexing project. I signed up for the FamilySearch Indexing project the year it was released. I was onboard when the 1940 census was indexed in a matter of days, when the Civil War Pensions project was indexed, and for a whole host of state-organized projects through various state societies. After working on so many projects, I got really good at reading old and often messy handwriting.
Family Search indexing is not the only indexing game in town. There are indexing projects available through the National Archives and the DAR (if you are a member) as well. Here are those links:
My second tip is to get the book Reading Early American Handwriting by Kip Sperry. You can find it at Amazon or another online bookseller.
My last tip is to transcribe, transcribe, and transcribe. Any and all of your own research documents. Don’t have any? Go to FamilySearch and pick any record such as a deed or a will, and get started. If you choose to transcribe documents from a location where there is a local genealogical society that publishes a quarterly journal or other research publication, consider submitting your transcriptions to be published. Society journals are always looking for content. For more information about best practices for transcriptions, see chapter 16 of the book Professional Genealogy (edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills) titled “Transcripts and Abstracts.”
Truly the best way to get better at anything is to practice. I hope the above tips help you find your best way to practice and to also perhaps give back to the genealogical community at the same time.
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If you aren’t familiar with Legacy Family Tree Webinars, now is your chance. With a subscription, you have access to well over 500 (and possibly over 600) excellent, inspiring, thought-provoking, and educational webinars for genealogists of all skill levels. I have presented two webinars already for Legacy and am scheduled to give another one this fall. I find the entire program, from speaker to audience member to be top-notch.
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(*Affiliate links give me a small reward if you sign up after clicking through them. Though if you appreciate my blog content and are interested using my affiliate link to buy, it is at the bottom of every one of my pages in the black area. Just click that link and I will get credit if you sign up for a subscription. Thank you in advance!)
2018 Started with a BANG! I taught my first ever course at SLIG, co-coordinated with Kathryn Lake Hogan of Ontario, Canada. The course was “The Third Coast: Research in the Great Lakes Region.” It was a lot of fun and went very well. However, it was an intense process to prepare for such a large endeavor. Needless to say, I’m happy I did it and I’m equally happy that it’s done. And I will likely do it again in the future.
SLIG and a week of research at the FHL started this year for me, so I’m just now able to take a breath, take stock, and make plans for 2018 in terms of my speaking schedule and my own educational plans. My speaking schedule is light, which I chalk up to spending so much of my energy last year prepping for SLIG and not spending any time marketing myself or planning for 2018, with a few exceptions. I’m happy to have a bit of a break, however!
Here’s where I’m planning to be this coming year:
Beginning in April, I will be facilitating a discussion group on the topic of becoming a Certified Genealogist® hosted by Jill Morelli and the Seattle Genealogical Society. (For more information email: email@example.com)
National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 2-5 where I am presenting: W144 “Third Coast: How the Great Lakes Shaped America”; S423 “Casting the Net: Denominational, Ethnic, and Specialized Newspaper Research”; S456 “Using PERSI Like a Pro”
International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH), Salt Lake City, Utah, October 15-19 where I will be taking “Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors” by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt and my husband will be taking “Scottish Research: The Fundamentals and Beyond” with Paul Milner
There are some other items in the fall that are still materializing but this is what I have planned so far. I hope you make the investment to enhance your genealogical education plan with conferences and institutes. Nothing beats being in class with other genealogists!
And if your society is planning an all-day seminar, consider me for your speaker. I have a lot of topics to choose from. Check my Lecture Topics page for a complete list.