Saturday, June 30, 2012

My "Genea-bucket List"

I think for the first time ever I will participate in Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. I am usually busy with family on Saturday's but I saw his blog posting on Facebook and decided I liked the topic. Randy posted his "genea-bucket list" and I decided to do my own.

Randy's instructions are on his blog, but the main idea is to answer:

What is on your Genealogy Bucket List?  What research locations do you want to visit? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research?  List a minimum of three items - more if you want!

Here is my list:

1. Become a certified genealogist through the Board for Certification of Genealogy.

2. Visit the towns and parishes of my ancestors' homelands in England, Denmark and Sweden.

3. Write up the history of my ancestors in a fully documented format, one line at a time. This I will share with my family, including distant cousins I have found who share my interest, and the libraries and historical societies in the locations my ancestors lived.

These would be on my "genea-bucket list" if I had not already completed them:

1. Complete the Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research taught by Elizabeth Shown Mills. (completed June 2010)

2. Give a genealogy lecture at a national conference. (completed May 2012 at NGS in Cincinnati)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

British Institute: Advanced Methodology for Irish Research

This post is part of my continuing series of guest authors sharing their perspective on different courses at genealogy institutes. This one features Laurel Baty, CG writing about a course at the British Institute held each October in Salt Lake City, Utah.

A Unique Course: Advanced Methodology for Irish Research Taught by David E. Rencher

My first experience with Genealogy Institutes was in October 2007 when I attended David Rencher’s class, Irish Research: Sources and Methods for Research in Ireland, at the annual British Institute in Salt Lake City. I was a novice to Irish genealogy and learned so much during that first class and had a wonderful experience. I have attended the British Institute annually since 2007 and enjoyed every class I have taken. The British Institute, sponsored by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History [ISBGFH], offers a unique format: lectures in the morning with instructor consultations and guided research in the afternoon at the Family History Library. Where else can you learn about records in the morning and have hands on research in the same records in the afternoon? The instructor consultations are a wonderful addition to the classes.

At the British Institute in 2011 I attended Advanced Methodology for Irish Research taught by David E. Rencher which will also be offered in October of 2012. I highly recommend this unique class. The other Irish classes I have taken from David Rencher were about the records of Ireland and how to locate them [Governmental Records of Ireland in 2009 and Making the Transition from Irish Church Records to Irish Land Records in 2010]. The Advanced Methodology class taught us what to do with the records once we found them and how to utilize Irish records to solve genealogical problems.

Each day was organized around a broad topic, with multiple lectures each day:
·         Monday: Strategies for a Sound Beginning
·         Tuesday: Strategy and Methods to Sharpen Your Skills
·         Wednesday: Research Methodologies for Catholic Research
·         Thursday: Strategies for Scots-Irish Research
·         Friday: Strategies for Church of Ireland Research

After a morning packed with lectures we headed off to the Family History Library in the afternoon to test our new found knowledge and consult individually with David Rencher, a world renowned expert in Irish genealogy who also happens to be the Chief Genealogical Officer of Family Search! The consultation is worth the cost of the class! Make sure to bring your Irish research problem—you may topple a few brick walls.

David’s classes at the British Institute inspired me to take three research trips to Northern Ireland and plunge into Irish research. His classes also started me on the road to certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. David will offer the class in 2012 with some changes. Visit the ISBGFH webpage to read the course description:
I will be attending Tom Jones’ class, From Simple to Complex: Applying Genealogy’s Standard of Proof to Your Work, offered for the first time at the British Institute in 2012:. There is currently space available in both classes as well as the two other classes being taught this year:

·         British Military, Its Regiments and Records taught by John Kitzmiller, II
·         Records and Strategies for Beginning English Research taught by Judy Jones.

Laurel Baty, CGSM

Exploring Genealogy Institutes

There are four genealogy institutes in the United States which provide excellent genealogical training. They are the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), the National Institute for Genealogical Research (NIGR) and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). I have attended three of these genealogical institutes and recommend them to all serious genealogists. The advantage of a genealogical institute over a conference is that you study one track or topic for the whole week, thus receiving an in-depth education from some of the top genealogists in the country. Two of the institutes, SLIG and IGHR, offer ten different tracks to choose from each year. 

The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, is held annually in June. Registration opens in January, and I recommend registering the first day as many of the courses will fill quickly. Courses offered at the 2013 institute held June 9-13 include: 

Course 1: Techniques & Technology 
Course 2: Intermediate Genealogy
Course 3: Historical Studies Research in the South, Part II 
Course 4: Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis 
Course 5: Writing & Publishing for Genealogists 
Course 6: Genealogy as a Profession 
Course 7: German Genealogical Research 
Course 8: Understanding Land Records 
Course 10: Scottish Genealogical Research 

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) is held annually in January in Salt Lake City, Utah. Registration is now open for the next institute to be held January 10 -14, 2013. The following tracks will be offered:

Course 1: American Research and Records: Focus on Localities
Course 2: Bridging the 1780-1830 Gap: From New England to the Midwest (and points in between)
Course 3: Researching Your English Ancestors: Beyond the Parish Register
Course 4: Germany: Advanced Tools and Methods
Course 5: Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home
Course 6: A Genealogist's Guide to the Internet Galaxy
Course 7: Principles of Forensic Genealogy
Course 8: Producing a Quality Family Narrative
Course 9: Advanced Genealogical Methods
Course 10: Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum
Course 11: Problem Solving

The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) is new this year and has four courses available July 22 - 27, 2012. There is still space available in the German course and the Online Repository course for this July:

Course 1: Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper
Course 2: Advanced Research Methods
Course 3: Beneath the Home Page: Problem Solving with Online Repositories
Course 4: German Genealogical Research


      The National Institute for Genealogical Research (NIGR) is held at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. in July. This institute provides an on-site exploration of federal records. Presenters include professional genealogists and NARA archivists and cover records such as military, land, immigration, census, as well as many other types of federal records that can be used for genealogical research. There are optional evening sessions at the Library of Congress and Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library. You can sign up online to receive a copy of the registration brochure to be sent out in February.

      Monday, June 18, 2012

      Learn Genealogy on YouTube?

      Can you really learn about genealogy on YouTube? This is the first in a series of articles on locating genealogy teaching videos on various YouTube channels. I challenge you to watch at least one and learn something new. 


      "Know Your Records" Now Online

      Did you know the National Archives (NARA) has a YouTube Channel? The archivists are creating short videos on records in their possession as well as putting videos of recorded presentations online. Most of the recorded lectures come from their "Know Your Records" series of live presentations given at the National Archives since 2005. Now you do not have to go to NARA in Washington, D.C. to see the presentations, but can learn about these records from the comfort of your home. Here are links to a selection of the videos available, but there are hundreds more.

      "Know Your Records" Programs

      This is a six minute video that shows what pension files look like and how they are digitized.
      Genealogy Introduction Series - short 10 to 15 minute videos on basic records

      Featuring the 1940 Census

      Friday, June 15, 2012

      Follow Friday - Blogging on Genealogy Education

      For the "Follow Friday" blogging theme I would like to share a few recent posts on educational topics:

      Tina Sansone, BellaOnline's Genealogy Editor, features a variety of educational programs in her post
      Genealogy Education Review

      Judy Russell, CG, the Legal Genealogist, gives not only a history of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research that she is attending this week, but also covers other genealogical institutes. See
      IGHR – the opening bell

      Tuesday, June 12, 2012

      A Sample Taste of Jamboree and IGHR

      This is a big week in the genealogy world with both the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree and the Institute on Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. I was not able to attend either event this year, but am able able to get a little taste of the fun by following my friends through Facebook posts and genealogy blogs.

      Randy Seaver posted a SCGS Genealogy Jamboree Blog Compendium on his Genea-Musings blog with links to many other blog posts about the Jamboree. This is a fun way to read the play by play about the conference. The stalking report by Sheri Fenley at Jamboree 2012 and Progress on My List was one of my favorite accounts.

      I have attended the Institute on Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) for the last three years, and am missing my "summer camp" with genealogy friends. If you would like to get an idea of what goes on at IGHR then you may like to join me in reading the daily posts on these genealogy blogs:

      Harold Henderson on Midwestern Microhistory 
      (Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents course)

      Cinamon Collins on (Mis)Adventures Of A Genealogist 
      (Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis course)

      Judy Russell, JD, CG on The Legal Genealogist
      (African-American Research course)

      If you know of others who are blogging about their experience in IGHR courses then please leave me a link in the comments. I would love to read more.

      Wednesday, June 6, 2012

      Elizabeth Shown Mills Ten-point Study Blueprint

      In December 2007 I joined a new Rootsweb mailing list called the Transitional Genealogists Forum (TGF). This list provided a place for genealogists transitioning into professional work to network and ask questions. Respected professional genealogists also joined the list to answer questions and share their advice.

      In one post to the list I asked Elizabeth Shown Mills about educational preparation for certification through the Board for the Certification of Genealogists [1]. She recommended studying Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians [2] and attending genealogical institutes and university-sponsored programs. Another participant on the discussion list asked about options for those unable to attend formal programs. Ms. Mills wrote a ten-point blueprint for enhancing the skills of any serious genealogist [3]. She has given me permission to share it on this blog as it is excellent advice for anyone seeking to improve their genealogical skills.

      Elizabeth Shown Mills wrote:

      What I have to offer is a 10-point blueprint that would provide solid grounding and enhanced skills for any genealogist who is making or considering the transition from "family researcher" to



      Read all the "Skillbuilding" articles, study all the work samples, and do the "Test Your Skills" module at the Board for Certification of Genealogists website.


      2. Greenwood, Val D.
      Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy. 3d ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001.

      Read Greenwood from cover to cover--several times or until you feel you have well learned its content. For three decades, this has been the leading textbook for genealogical study, and Greenwood has kept it up to date. It's big, but easily digestible. This is the textbook for the NGS Home Study course and is the equivalent of Samford IGHR's Course 2 (Intermediate Genealogy).

      Professional Genealogy: A Manual For Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001.

      For skillbuilding (as opposed to building a business practice), focus first on these chapters:
      1 "Defining Professionalism," Donn Devine, J.D., CG, CGI
      14 "Problem Analyses and Research Plans," Helen Leary, CG,CGL, FASG
      15 "Research Procedures," Linda Woodward Geiger, CGRS, CGL
      16 "Transcripts and Abstracts," Mary McCampbell Bell, CLS, CGL
      17 "Evidence Analysis," Donn Devine
      18 "Research Reports," Elizabeth Shown Mills
      20 "Proof Arguments and Case Studies," E. S. Mills
      23 "Family Histories," Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG
      24 "Lineage Papers," Mary Bell & Elisabeth Schmidt, CLS

      4. Mills, E. S.
      Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.

      Thoroughly study the first two chapters (ca. 90 pages of the 885 pp. total):

      1 Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis
      2 Fundamentals of Citation

      (These are not the same as chapters 1 and 2 of the little 1997 "briefcase edition" of Evidence.)

      The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. Provo: Ancestry, 2000.

      Read *all* of the standards, starting with the Genealogical Proof Standard. Examine the appendixes for the models they provide.


      6. (for Methodology)

      National Genealogical Society Quarterly
      , 1987-to date. 

      **Study** the case studies in every issue you can get your hands on. It does not matter what family or what region the case study deals with. You are studying it for techniques and methods. Almost every library with a genealogical collection,as well as many university libraries, have NGSQ. At you can identify libraries in your region that carry it. NGS has also begun to put back issues online at, if you are a member.

      7. (for Methodology)

      Rising, Marsha Hoffman, CG, FASG. The Family Tree Problem Solver. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2005. 

      8. (for Sources)
      Luebking, Sandra Hargreaves, and Loretto D. Szucs, The Source. 3d ed. Provo: Ancestry, 2006).


      9. If you live within driving distance of other serious genealogists, consider starting a study group along the Litchman Model that has been discussed over the years in various NGS and APG forums. Basically: the groups that follow the Litchman Model meet monthly, choose a case study (usually from NGSQ) for each month's meeting, require participants to read the assigned case study at least three times, make notes, and come prepared to discuss the methodology, sources, and strengths and weaknesses in the research or analysis. Check the APG-L archives for discussions particularly by the late Ken Aitken regarding his group.


      10. Scholarships and awards to attend conferences and institutes (typically in the $500 range) are available through several genealogical channels, particularly these:

      A. ASG Scholar Award (for attendance at either IGHR or NIGR)

      B. BCG Education Fund Scholarship (for attendance at IGHR,
      NIGR, NGS Conference, or FGS Conference)
      [Note: This scholarship has been discontinued since the study blueprint was originally posted in 2007]

      C. IGHR Jean Thompson Scholarship (to attend IGHR)

      D. NGS Family History Writing Contest (to attend NGS Conf)


      E. NIGR Richard Lackey Scholarship (to attend NIGR)

      Needless to say, winning any of these scholarships puts one on the fast-track professionally, from the standpoint of recognition of one's merit.

      Good luck,


      Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG

      Comments by Angela:

      Those of us on the TGF list at the time took Elizabeth's advice to heart. She had recommended participating in study group and so we organized online study groups to connect with others across the country. The first was an NGSQ study group, which still meets monthly and accepts new participants. Contact Sheri Fenley at for more information. The second is the ProGen Study Group studying the manual Professional Genealogy. This study group was very successful and many others wanted to participate. There are now eighteen ProGen Study Groups with over 300 people participating. For more information on this program see

      Reference Notes:

      [1]  Angela McGhie, "Thanks Elizabeth " Transitional Genealogists Forum, discussion list, 18 December 2007 ( : accessed 6 June 2012).

      [2] Professional Genealogy: A Manual For Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001.

      [3] Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Educational prep & mentorships," Transitional Genealogists Forum, discussion list, 19 December 2007 ( : accessed 6 June 2012).

      Tuesday, June 5, 2012

      SCGS Jamboree to Broadcast Ten Sessions Live

      The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is this weekend, June 8 - 10, 2012 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank. The organizers just issued a a press release announcing live sessions available online:

      Genealogy Jamboree Streamed Sessions Announced
      Tuesday, June 5, 2012
      Paula Hinkel - Southern California Genealogy Jamboree

      We're making the last big reveal leading up to this weekend's Genealogy Jamboree.

      In keeping with SCGS's tradition of delivering exceptional genealogical education over the Internet, we are proud to announce that the 2012 Genealogy Jamboree will offer ten streamed sessions over two days, Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10.

      Streamed sessions will be delivered at no cost to the viewing audience. As speakers permit, sessions will be archived and made available for viewing after Jamboree through the SCGS webinar archive. While we are not charging to view the sessions, we greatly appreciate the support of the genealogical community in making contributions to offset the expense of bandwidth, speaker honorarium, equipment, camera operators, etc.  SCGS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

      There are a limited number of viewing "seats" available for each session. For that reason, we will go off air in the time between classes and will ask viewers to register for each individual session. We appreciate everyone helping to "share the wealth" with other family historians around the world.

      The sessions and registration links follow:

      Saturday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT

      SA-011 - Warren Bittner, CG, MS
      "Beat the Children with a Fresh Birch Stick so the Animals Don't Get Worms"  Reading for Historical Context

      Read to put your ancestors into their own world on their terms. Learn how to find books about the social, cultural, political, occupational, and religious lives of your ancestors.

      Saturday, June 9 - 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT

      SA-020 - Lisa Louise Cooke
      Projects That Will Captivate The Non-Genealogists In Your Life

      Learn creative ways to capture the imagination of your non-historian friends and relatives, while honoring your ancestors. The joy in genealogy isn’t just climbing your family tree, but building bonds with current and future generations, and this class will show you high tech and low tech ways to do just that. You are guaranteed to be inspired!

      Saturday, June 9 - 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PDT

      SA-021 - Steve Luxenberg
      Genealogy from the Inside Out: Tracing the Mysterious From a Single Clue

      When a family secret alters our understanding of the family tree, when we learn about a hidden relative (or a hidden marriage, or a hidden divorce, or a hidden cause of death), how do we pursue it? Steve reveals how he assembled the paper trail that led  through burial records, birth certificates, hospital records, immigration documents and wartime records, and assembles them into a coherent paper trail. This session is more of a “how-to-think” than a “how-to.” Beginners, intermediate and advanced researchers will come away with new ideas for unearthing what had been hidden.

      Saturday, June 9 - 2:00-3:00 p.m. PDT

      SA-038 - Kerry S. Bartels
      National Archives Website Microfilm Catalog, Archival Databases, and Guides

      Participants will learn about the National Archives Microfilm Catalog database, guides to the holdings of the National Archives, and use of electronic databases mounted on the National Archives website.

      Saturday, June 9 - 3:30-4:30 p.m. PDT

      SA-047 - D. Joshua Taylor
      Printed Legends and Missing Footnotes: Dissecting 19th and 20th Century Compiled Genealogies

      Discover the methods used to create a compiled genealogy and how to ensure its contents do not lead you down the wrong trail.

      Saturday, June 9 - 5:00-6:00 p.m. PDT

      SA-048 - Barry J. Ewell
      30 Second Genealogist: How to Find Genealogy Answers You Want Now

      Find, access, and explore genealogical resources quickly. Develop, expand, and sharpen your genealogy research skills. Discover clues to trace and explore your family ties. Quickly identify which record collections to search first. Learn to find and use specific country, state, and county records... And much more. Source for the presentation is

      Sunday, June 10 - 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT

      SU-003 - Warren Bittner, CG, MS
      Complex Evidence:  What is it? How Does it Work? Why Does it Matter?

      See a Complex Evidence Case Study. Learn why complex evidence is the only way to establish identity or prove relationships.

      Sunday, June 10 - 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT

      SU-019- Kerry S. Bartels
      Military Records at the National Archives

      The National Archives holds military records documenting service to the United States from the American Revolution to the present day. This session will identify and describe the vast array of documentation for different time periods including examples of those that are rarely used.

      Sunday, June 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m. PDT

      SU-023 - Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGS, IGSF
      Historical Research Methodology:  Engaging the Process to Find All the Answers

      Many genealogists miss opportunities to find consequential documents for advancing their research because they do not follow a standard research methodology, namely the “historical research methodology.”  Special care is given in this lecture to emphasize the importance of some rather fundamental basics which, when used together, make for a powerful data-gathering methodology.

      Sunday, June 10 - 2:00-3:00 p.m. PDT

      SU-030 - Laura G. Prescott
      Diaries and Journals: Finding and Using these Valuable Resources

      This lecture explains the advantages of using diaries, letters and journals in compiling and comprehensive and appealing genealogy. Opinions and observations written by our ancestors or someone who knew them add a personal dimension to names, dates, and places. We'll explore a few examples of the different types of journals and diaries available, where to find them, and how to apply what you find to your research and your family history.

      Note from Angela:
      The Southern California Genealogical Society also hosts live webinars twice a month through their Jamboree Extension Series. These presentations are free to view on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of the month, and archived online for SCGS members. The next webniar will be Wednesday, June 20th with Rick Crume presenting "Genealogy Hacks: Tricks to Crack the Top Genealogy Web Sites."