Tuesday, May 6, 2014

From NGS: The BCG Education Fund Workshop was Excellent!

I am excited to share my experiences from the NationalGenealogical Society (NGS) conference in Richmond
this week as one of the official NGS bloggers. Today I attended the “Putting Your Skills to Work” workshops sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund. I enjoyed these workshops very much as they were each three hours long and went in-depth into the topics. Lunch was provided in between the two workshops.

In the morning Victor S. Dunn, CG presented “I Rest My Case: Building a Constructive Proof Argument.” Vic had given us an assignment a few weeks ago to look over a case he provided and draft an outline of a proof argument. This was very helpful to have the case ahead of time and study the sources and evidence. Vic began the session by discussing the difference between proof statements, proof summaries, and proof arguments. He then gave us time to revise our draft proof arguments, and then went through the proof argument that he had written for the case. It was helpful to see the way he organized the evidence to present. I had properly analyzed the sources and evidence provided, and come to the same conclusion that Vic made, but he provided more background information on the family in the proof argument that I had.  He then gave us a copy of another proof argument he had written that involved conflicting evidence and walked us through each section.

In the afternoon I attended “Passing Out the Property: a workshop on the probate process” by Sharon Tate Moody, CG. Sharon covered all the details of the probate process, and had extensive handouts with many types of examples from wills and inventories to a supreme court case involving a contested probates. She emphasized the fact that you need to KNOW THE LAW that was in effect at the time and place of the probate. She explained the common law and how it was changed through statutes in each state. Sharon is very knowledgeable and explained complicated concepts in a manner easy to understand. This included the concepts of testate and intestate estates, partitioning of the land, guardianship of the children and the concepts of dower, curtsey, and primogeniture.

It was helpful to see examples of all types of probate documents. Sharon showed us images of the original documents, but also had transcripts of the text on her screen so we could read the details. I love seeing the original documents. Now I will go home and study the documents and examples that she provided in the syllabus.

The BEST part of this workshop was the hands-on exercise at the end of the presentation. Sharon gave us seven probate documents and 30 minutes to identify the wife of Henry Applewhaite. I LOVED analyzing the documents for clues and correlating the information in all seven different documents to see that:
1)      Henry was married to Mary Applewhaite
2)      Mary was the administrator of Henry’s estate after he died
3)      Mary married Phillip Brantley
4)      Phillip Brantley became the guardian of Mary’s children

I would highly recommend attending the BCG Education Fund Workshop at future NGS conferences. You can register for the workshop with your NGS registration.

I am excited to attend the FamilySearch Bloggers dinner now that I have finished the BCG Education Fund Workshop, and then the Association of Professional Genealogists networking reception tonight. It is a very busy day, considering the NGS conference does not officially start until tomorrow. 

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