I recently received a helpful packet in the mail from the Board of Certification of Genealogists that my renewal application would be coming due soon. Where did five years go? (Well, four and a half, but still.) It seems like just yesterday I was putting the final spit and polish on my first portfolio!
Luckily, the renewal application process is not as rigorous as the initial application. You only have to submit one to three items as long as one meets the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). The main goal is to make sure you are continuing to grow in your journey as a Certified Genealogist, that you are keeping up your education, and that you are applying the standards to your work.
I have been working steadily to improve everything from my first portfolio and am not too worried, except for the lack of time I have to work on it! So I’ve been working hard to finish up and clear out some responsibilities I’ve had and to block time out in my schedule to work on it. Time management is such a trick sometimes!
I will keep you posted. In the meantime wish me luck and few interruptions!
This was just sent out by the Board for Certification of Genealogists:
[At the annual meeting at NGS] … “the trustees debated a proposal to update genealogy standards to incorporate standards related to genetic genealogy. As a result of this discussion BCG intends to move forward with the integration of genetic genealogy into Genealogy Standards. The board directed that the committee’s proposal be published for public comment. The proposed standards can be viewed at https://bcgcertification.org/DNA/Proposed_Standards.pdf.
The public comment period ends on 23 July 2018. Fill out the survey at this link (https://goo.gl/forms/57ahXLqkAYOBWDop2) by 23 July 2018. Due to the expected volume of comments, we will not be able to acknowledge or respond to individual comments.”
Often, when I am discussing the certification process with interested genealogists, I am asked about using DNA in portfolios. They want to know about the specific requirements for including genetic genealogy in their portfolios, and as of yet, there are not really any specifics. There are now many NGSQ articles I can point people to, webinars that can be watched for DNA methodology, and guides and articles on citing DNA in your reports. However, there are not currently any DNA-specific standards, rubrics, or instructions for portfolio preparation. I hope this is a step in that direction, so that those working on certification can have specific and solid guidelines for DNA requirements.
If you are interested in reviewing the proposed standards for genetic genealogy, I encourage you to view and comment using the links above.
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.
When I create goals, I like to create two kinds of goals, long-term and short-term. Generally the short-term goals feed into the long-term goals. Also, short-term goals tend to be smaller, easier, things you can take care of quickly whereas long-term goals take more time, planning, determination, and consistency. The completion of short-term goals gives you the sense of accomplishment and the momentum to keep up with the long-term goals.
Last year I created a list of my Long-Term goals for 2013. There were as follows:
Organize my office (this is more of an ongoing, every day resolution, but still, I need to keep it visually handy).
“Process” my binders. This is in relation to my organization system according to family groups. I recently changed it a little bit and so all of my families need to be caught up.
Finish and submit my BCG application by December. (I went “on the clock” at the end of December 2012.)
Let me break them down by goal:
Organize my office – I’m happy to report that this is possibly the only one that I feel is pretty much done. This summer we finally finished our basement and built a very nice home office (that I’m mentioned before). I have plenty of file cabinets, shelves, and desk space to keep my genealogy organized.
“Process” my binders – I know that most of you don’t even know what this means, but in terms of updating my research organizing system, I’ve only done 2 or 3 of these binders. I have about 20. So, while I’ve done some, it’s not as far along as I’d like. I’ll keep working on it.
Finish and submit my BCG application – Well, some things happened with this that have caused me to get an extension. For one thing, I did a lot more education in preparation for the BCG than I had previously thought I would. This was a good thing. In taking those courses, I realized that I would need some more time to really do it right. My new deadline is December 15, 2014. This will make an appearance on my 2014 goals list.
So even though I did maybe half of my long-term goals, I feel like I made quite a lot of progress. These are LONG-TERM goals after all and it’s ok if they carry over to the next year’s list.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from IGHR or Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Advanced Methodology Course. I heard a lot of rumors about how hard it was. When people would find out which course I was taking they’d say “Ooooh. Gosh, be ready for a lot of homework.” Of course then I begin to second guess myself. “What if I’m not at the level needed to take this course? What if I’ve overestimated my abilities?” It turned out to be at just the right level and pace for me. I was familiar with almost all of the topics covered, with the exception of the government documents (gov docs for short) section. I’ve listened to lectures about gov docs before but never had the opportunity to use them. Everyone has a unique brain and therefore a different way of doing things and I thoroughly enjoyed learning how someone of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ caliber approaches a problem, what interpretations she makes from any given record and where she goes from there.
I think the biggest lessons I learned from the course are:
There’s always something more.
Citations are an art not a science.
Research the neighbors.
Of course there were many lessons to learn. I definitely have a new way of approaching my research problems! And there was a fair amount of homework. I spent about 4 hours per night, but I found myself going off on tangents. (Anyone else have that problem?) I did not attend any of the evening events except the banquet, because I wanted to do the homework to my satisfaction, and I wanted sleep. Craig R. Scott taught a lecture or two in our course and my favorite thing he said was “A good genealogist needs sleep.” I still didn’t get enough sleep, but an adequate amount. (I hope Elizabeth takes the yawns as a sign of hard work and not as commentary on her lecturing!)
I was surprised when I received a gold star on my certificate. I was doubly surprised when I got home and received an email from Elizabeth letting me know that I had won the Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize. This is from the press release:
Cari Taplin of Longmont, Colorado, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize, bestowed annually upon one or more genealogists who demonstrate sound practices and exceptional potential. Candidates for the award are drawn from the Advanced Research Methodology and Evidence Analysis track at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. The stipend awarded to each recipient covers the preliminary and final application fees for pursuing certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Past recipients of the prize include Debbie Hooper, CG, of Millsboro, Delaware; Judy Russell, CG, of Avenel, New Jersey; David Ouimette, AG, CG, of Highland Utah; Phil Burnett Adderly, CG, of Shreveport, Louisiana; and Teri Tillman, CG, of Natchez, Mississippi. The Samford University IGHR and the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) were both founded in 1964 by a cadre of genealogical educators seeking to advance quality and professionalism within the field. Across the decades, BCG has co-sponsored the IGHR; and a significant number of Board-certified genealogists have been its course coordinators and instructors. The prize itself memorializes the late Walter Lee Sheppard Jr., one of the twentieth-century’s leading genealogical scholars whose example strongly promoted sound reasoning and careful analysis in all genealogical specialties. As a mentor, his discerning eye could be counted upon to identify a missed source or clue in family reconstructions, thereby strengthening a colleague’s conclusions. A founder and president of BCG, Lee was also a fellow and president of the American Society of Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, and other bodies. In 2007, he was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. The Sheppard Prize is privately funded by an IGHR Track 4 graduate, for whom Lee acted as mentor and patron. The prize has no affiliation with the Board for Certification of Genealogists itself.
The Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize is funded by a private person who was mentored by Lee. This is serendipitous because having had an awesome mentor is the only reason I am here (in the genealogy world) today. My dear friend and mentor Birdie Holsclaw told me I could be, she told me I could do this, that I had potential, that what I was doing was fun and interesting and that people would want to hear about it. So I began speaking and writing articles. We would sit up until Buffalo Wild Wings kicked us out (around 2am) talking about my work and she’d just impart her wisdom on me, freely
and with such patience and grace. Then she and some other friends invited me to a small group of people who were thinking about becoming certified. And I’ve been on that path slowly ever since. Well, now, it’s not going to be slow anymore.
The next 18 months is going to fly by and I hope to do Birdie proud! And I hope to be able to pay forward the mentoring gift someday. All in all, that is not a bad first time at IGHR!
I turned in my BCG preliminary application for certification at the end of December, so I’m officially “on the clock” as they say here in genealogy land. It is a little stressful to think of all of the work that lies before me, not only for certification but also while pursuing a Master’s Degree. I have this unrealistic personal belief or maybe it’s my personality type, but I think I can get amazing amounts of work done and love to “climb big mountains” of tasks. I inevitably end up stressed out at various times, but usually I get the things done I say I’m going to do.
There are several things in play that I believe will help me be less stressed and get my portfolio finished. First of all, I am in a group of other genealogists from my general area who are also “on the clock” or plan to be soon and we are working together reading the BCG Standards Manual and understanding the requirements. Also, I am a member of a smaller group, what I call my genealogy “support group.” This is a group of 5 women who have been meeting for many years to discuss what’s new in their genealogy journeys, basically a discussion outlet so our families don’t get bored with our ramblings. Third, while I am pursuing a Master’s Degree, the workload has been quite manageable, only overwhelming toward the end of the semester. Fourth, while I do still have kids at home, they are in school all day and I am not working right now, so, while I am poor, I do have uninterrupted time during the week days to work on BCG and homework.
The BCG website gives a proposed timeline for how long certain projects will take. I began working on my portfolio, in a rather unorganized fashion, a few years ago. So I have at least some rough drafts finished on several of the items. So I feel I have a slight head start on some of the tasks. However, if by December of this year, I am not ready yet, they generously allow you to apply for an extension for 1 year for a nominal fee, which has taken some of the pressure off! Wish me luck!