Friday, October 26, 2012

New BCG Certification Videos Online

UPDATE: The official press release was posted on 9/26/2012 and is included below this message.

Elissa Powell, the new president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, posted the following message on the BCG ACTION private mailing list and gave me permission to share it here. There will be a press release coming soon about additional new features on the BCG website.  If you are thinking of applying for certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists, you will want to watch the new seminar. 
A new version of the Board for Certification of Genealogists certification seminar has been recorded and is now available on the BCG website at This one-hour presentation was filmed by FamilySearch in August and features three BCG board members talking about the process and the seven portfolio requirements. The presenters are Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, Dr. Thomas W. Jones, CG, CGL, FASG, and Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG. The seminar is also available in the Learning Center.

Also of interest is a new series of which three testimonials are currently online at These audio clips allow BCG associates to tell their own story of why they sought certification and why they maintain the credential. The current associates featured are Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG, Beth Star, CG and Michael Hait, CG.  You may have a similar story or get an ideas on other preparation paths.

P. O. Box 14291
Washington, DC 20044
For Immediate Release
26 October 2012

BCG IN THE NEWS: Trustees and Website Changes Announced
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, President of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, announced trustee changes to the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), effective 14 October 2012. Yearly elections bring new or incumbent trustees to the board for three-year terms. Going off the board this year are:
Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL, of Missouri
Barbara Mathews, CG, of Massachusetts
Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG, of California
Willis H. White, CG, of Virginia

According to President Powell, "We heartily thank those who are leaving their trustee positions for their service to the board. We trust that they will continue to contribute to the many facets of genealogical research, scholarship, and activities and wish them well in all future endeavors."

The fifteen current members of BCG’s Board of Trustees are:

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, of Pennsylvania, President,
Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, of Pennsylvania, Vice-president
Dawne Slater-Putt, CG, of Indiana, Secretary
Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, of Illinois, Treasurer
Stefani Evans, CG, of Nevada, Executive Committee Member-at-Large
CindyLee Butler Banks, CG, AG®, of Nebraska
Warren Bittner, CG, of Utah
Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, of New York
Victor S. Dunn, CG, of Virginia
Alison Hare, CG, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, of Virginia
David McDonald, CG, of Wisconsin
Debra S. Mieszala, CG, of Illinois
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, of Tennessee
Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, of New Jersey

Many people wonder if board certification is for them. To address this question, BCG is placing website help in the form of a new certification seminar and several audio testimonials of which three are currently available at We hope you will enjoy hearing from the immediate past president, David McDonald, CG; a librarian, Beth Stahr, CG; and a professional genealogist, Michael Hait, CG, who offer their reasons for seeking certification. Testimonials rotate periodically, so please check back to hear more.

The Certification Seminar is a one-hour presentation that explains in detail what is expected of applicants when they assemble a portfolio and what applicants can expect of the certification process. Presented by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, and David McDonald, CG, it was taped in August 2012 by FamilySearch and is also a part of its Learning Center video library. BCG would like to thank FamilySearch for making this video possible. Societies and individuals are invited to view the seminar at

Founded in 1964, the mission of the Board for Certification of Genealogists is to foster public confidence in genealogy as a respected branch of history by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics among genealogical practitioners, and by publicly recognizing persons who meet that standard. The publication The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual sets forth the currently accepted standards for all areas of genealogical research.

Certified Genealogist, Certified Genealogical Lecturer, CG and CGL are proprietary service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) used by the Board to identify its program of genealogical competency and evaluation and used under license by the Board’s associates. The Board’s name is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Follow Friday - Forensic Genealogy Institute

I have had fun following the blog of my friend Cinamon Collins as she attends the new Forensic Genealogy Institute this week. Her blog
(Mis)Adventures Of A Genealogist features the many genealogy conferences and institutes she has attended this year as well as her research and thoughts on genealogy. 

Forensic Genealogy Institute - Arrival 
Forensic Genealogy Institute - Day One
Forensic Genealogy Institute - Day 2
Forensic Genealogy Institute - Day 3

If you know of other blog posts by attendees at this institute please comment as I would like to read them.

Photo of Cinamon Collins, used with permission.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Save $50 on the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

If you would like to attend the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) there is still time to save $50 if you register by October 31st. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy will be held January 13-18, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

There are still a few spaces in the following courses:
Course 1: American Research and Records: Focus on Localities
Course 3: Researching Your English Ancestors: Beyond the Parish Register
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 11: Problem Solving

These courses are also offered at SLIG but are sold out for 2013.
Course 2: Bridging the 1780-1830 Gap: From New England to the Midwest (and points in between)
Course 4: Germany: Advanced Tools and Methods 
Course 9: Advanced Genealogical Methods
Course 10: Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum

Click here for course descriptions and here to register.

For more information on the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and insights on the individual courses, see my previous blog posts at:
Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home
Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home

Advanced Genealogical Methods

Top 5 Signs You're Ready for Tom Jones' Advanced Genealogical Methods Course
Advanced Genealogical Methods course at SLIG
Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum
A Challenging and Inspiring Learning Experience
Measuring Your Success at Solving Genealogical Problems
An Insider's View of the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum
Waking Up Your Brain with the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum course at SLIG

American Research and Records 
American Research and Records Course at SLIG

SLIG 2013 Posts
Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum Instructors Selected 
Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Scholarship

APG Announces 2013 Professional Management Conference

The following press release from the Association of Professional Genealogists announces details for the 2013 Professional Management Conference.

All-Star Speakers to Address Strategies for Building a Successful Business

WESTMINSTER, Colo., 24 October 2012−The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) today unveiled the details of its upcoming Professional Management Conference (PMC). Top genealogical speakers will address this year’s theme, “Strategies for Building a Successful Business.” Tom Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, will kick off the event with a workshop and lectures on Tuesday, while Judy Russell, J.D., CG, will open day two of the event with a hands-on workshop on court records. The event will be held in Salt Lake City the 19th and 20th of March, 2013, the two days prior to the RootsTech conference (

“Given the success of last year’s conference, as well as the breadth of this year’s theme, we have expanded the event to a day and a half,” said APG President Kenyatta D. Berry. “We are excited by our speakers’ topics and are pleased that we have been able to continue offering fresh, exciting conferences that help our members develop their businesses.”

Speakers and topics include:

Workshop: Overcoming Research Barriers---An Interactive Case Study;
Variables in Professional Genealogists’ Approaches to Research;
Client Reports: Dos, Don’t, and Maybes
Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Order in the Court: Hands-on with Court Records;
More Than the Begats: Using the Law to Spice up a Research Report
Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG

Launching an Effective Marketing Campaign
Thomas MacEntee

Video Marketing: Killer YouTube Strategies
Lisa Louise Cooke

The Best Educational Plan for You: The Workshop
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

Organization for Genealogy Speakers
Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D., M.A., CG

APG will also hold at reception and roundtable from 6:30–8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 20 March, which is open to members and non-members.

Register Now for APG PMC 2013
Attendance at PMC is open to members and non-members. Attendees may choose to attend the full conference or a single day. Details on pricing and the conference sessions are available at .

About the Association of Professional Genealogists

The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents more than 2,600 genealogists, librarians, writers, editors, historians, instructors, booksellers, publishers and others involved in genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy and history. Its members represent all fifty states, Canada and thirty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter ( and Facebook (

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home

This is a special post by guest author Pamela Sayre, CG, CGL, on her course "Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home" featured at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. There is still time to register for the for the Institute which will be held January 13-18, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and you can get the early bird discount until October 31st.

We (the course coordinators, Rick and Pam Sayre) are fortunate to live in the Washington, DC area with easy access to myriad repositories with more rich sources than we will ever be able to explore. But Pam has only lived here for four years. Prior to that, she lived out in the hinterlands--in St. Louis--and a week's research on-site in Washington meant an expensive flight, hotel stay, dining out, and transportation around the city. Still, in the not-too-distant past, researching in actual brick and mortar repositories was the only way to get the job done.

Fast forward to 2012, and the whole family history game has changed. It is possible to do vast amounts of research in Washington, DC-area repositories without ever leaving your home town. The Researching in Washington, DC without Leaving Home course at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January shows you how in a week of in-depth classes by leading experts. Learn how to navigate the massive National Archives website to find the very record you need, how to find just the ancestor you're seeking in government records of the past, and where to locate the perfect period map for your ancestor's area. We'll even show you how to find a historic map of nineteenth-century Germany in a Library of Congress collection and obtain a high-resolution print or digital copy.

This course delves into little-known repositories in the Washington area that hold gems most people never discover, and it introduces you to new ways of accessing resources at old familiar institutions such as NARA, the DAR Library, and the Library of Congress. Hands-on computer labs help ensure that you'll be able to do this research yourself when you get back home. You'll also learn how to obtain the records you need through interlibrary loan or microfilm loan at your local Family History Center.

Let's be honest. There ARE records that you'll only be able to see if you do travel to the particular repository in Washington, DC; it isn't all online. But if you invest in this one-week workshop in Salt Lake City, you'll learn to use online resources to their fullest capability, locate a lot of sources online right now, and find the most economical way to make a trip to Washington, DC by preparing in advance.

There are still a few seats left in the Researching in Washington, DC without Leaving Home Course at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January 2013. Register now for an exciting learning experience with like-minded individuals in the beautiful Salt Lake City area, just a stone's throw from the largest genealogy library in the world (where you can spend your evenings).

To register for this course click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Forensic Genealogy Institute

Next week will be the first session of the new Forensic Genealogy Institute sponsored by the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. According to the Council "Forensic genealogy is research,  analysis, and reporting in cases with legal implications."

This institute will be held October 25-72, 2013 at the Wyndham Dallas Love Field in Texas. The students will receive 20 hours of hands-on instruction in those two and a half days including practice working on a an actual forensic case study from beginning to end. Participation is limited to 30 students, and this session is sold out, but you can sign up to be on the priority list for the next session (possibly in April 2013) on the Forensic Genealogy Institute website.

The classes will include the following topics:

Introduction to Forensic Research 

Forensic Research Skills
Legal and Ethical Considerations 
The Role of the Forensic Genealogist
Business Aspects   

Faculty of the Institute include noted genealogists:

Michael Ramage, J.D., Certified Genealogist (sm)  
Leslie Brinkley Lawson, Forensic Genealogist
Kelvin L. Meyers, Forensic Genealogist
Dee Dee King, Certified Genealogist, Forensic Genealogist
Teaching Assistant -- Catherine W. Desmarais, M.Ed., Certified Genealogist
Special Guest Speaker -- Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist
Special Guest Speaker -- Pamela Boyer Sayre, Certified Genealogist, Certified Genealogical Lecturer

I look forward to hearing from attendees how they like this new genealogy institute.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Research in the South: An Unparalleled Week of Learning

As a part of my ongoing series featuring guest authors' reviews of genealogical institute courses, my good friend Debra Hoffman shares her experiences at last June's Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research.

Research in the South: An Unparalleled Week of Learning
By Debra Hoffman

The new year is approaching fast and with it registration for the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) held each year at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. With ten courses to choose from, there is something to appeal to everyone. I was lucky enough to be one of the first to register last year for Course 3, Research in the South, Part 1. J. Mark Lowe was the coordinator of this redesigned course and it was a great educational opportunity. With his teaching team of Michael Hait, Linda Geiger, and Deborah Abbott, this course provided an unparalleled week of learning.

With an emphasis on the records rather than methodology, the course covered overall topics pertinent to southern research such as migrations and slavery. As noted in the title, this course is broken up into two parts in order to provide comprehensive coverage of the southern states. This first part covered North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland. (The running joke in the course was that yes, Maryland is a southern state; however, not everyone agreed with that.) Coverage of the states included repositories and notable sources. Overall coverage of the south included discussions on Federal records, colonial and territorial records, military records, land and agricultural records, religious records, manuscripts and oral histories, and online resources. Although the emphasis was on the records, methodology was included in some of the lectures as well to guide researchers in strategies for researching southern families.

The knowledge and experience of the teaching team was evident in their extensive and informational handouts as well as their engaging and informative lectures. In fact, I'm still processing all the information I learned that week. One of the most interesting discoveries for me was the Digital Library on American Slavery located at The description from Deborah Abbott's handout described it as the "[p]ublic interface to data collected by the Race and Slavery Petitions Project at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. It is designed to provide detailed personal information about slaves, slaveholders, and free people of color. The documents span from the end of the American Revolution to the end of the Civil War and represent fifteen slave holding states and the District of Columbia." These petitions include a wealth of information and can provide insight into family situations. For instance, one woman petitioned to protect her slaves from being sold by her husband who had run off with another woman and was living nearby. At least one classmate located his family in these petitions. Coverage of these types of unique record sources is one thing that makes this course invaluable.

I would highly recommend attending IGHR. Not only for the incomparable learning experience it provides, but also for the chance to devote yourself to a course of intense study surrounded by some of the most knowledgeable genealogy experts in the field. The camaraderie is inspiring and the experience unmatched. Registration opens January 22, 2013. You can sign up for the mailing list to keep abreast of updates at Take the opportunity to increase your genealogical knowledge and skills in 2013!