Past and Present Pathways Announces Two New Additions

The following news release is from my friend, Tina Sansone:

February 2, 2018. Tina Sansone and Roccie Hill are proud to announce two new additions to Past & Present Pathways. Past and Present Pathways is a genealogical research, history writing, DNA analysis, and family history editing company. The company formed in 2016 with Tina Sansone, Roccie Hill, Carla Love Maitland and Sheri McNeil Savory. Each are independent researchers that support each other. The two newest additions are Sheri Beffort Fenley and Diane L. Giannini, CG. Both are members of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).

Sheri is best known for her blog, the Educated Genealogist. She is very involved in her local DAR group and has assisted on hundreds of lineage applications for various genealogical and historical groups. Her term as President of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society in California recently ended. Sheri will be at the Coaches Corner at RootsTech this year on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for around 2-3 hours each day. Free one-on-one mentoring is on a first come first served basis. To sign up here is the link:

Diane L. Giannini, CG, is a certified genealogist and owner of Ancestry Sleuths. She provides family history research and specializes in DNA analysis and Forensic Genealogy. She is sought out for her lectures, and has published articles in the NGS News and in the APG Quarterly.

We look forward to helping others discover their past and present pathways!

Professional Genealogy – Back in Print and 17% Off Sale Extended Thru September 1

gpc3844Imaging going to a genealogy seminar and having nothing but great classes taught by some of the very best professional genealogists in the county. That is what you get in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians.

Edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG; this book was primarily compiled to help those who are, or wish to become, a professional genealogist. However, insight to the developing skills of a professional genealogists will help any family historian and genealogist, as well as those in other professions who support genealogical studies. Every genealogist, from beginner to advance, is constantly learning. “…that is, education. It is our foundation in genealogy. As we gain experience, it deepens and strengthens our grasp of concepts and techniques. Indeed, rapidly changing technology and increasing competition make continuing education imperative. Whatever form it takes—formal instruction or independent study—ongoing education is basic to our effective conduct of professional genealogical research.”

This “Bible” of the professional genealogist has just come back into print, and FRPC made a deal with the publisher to offer the book for 17% off – now through Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Regularly $59.95, it’s just $49.76!

For those who simply want to learn what the professionals know and become better researchers then there is plenty to learn within these pages. Learn about:

  • developing and maintaining a personal library
  • problem analysis and improved research skills
  • evidence analysis
  • writing skills, proofreading, and family histories
  • even learn how to become a presenter

Professional genealogists and those hoping to develop a career in genealogy will also learn important skills in areas including:

  • career management
  • building and marketing a genealogy business
  • writing reports and lineage papers
  • preparing books for press
  • becoming a professional presenter or teacher
  • ethics
  • accreditation

There is so much to learn and this book doesn’t hold back. Over 600 pages await to help any genealogist become a better researcher. Much of what is taught is common sense, and some provides truly practical use, like avoiding legal and ethical problems.






Chapter Authors



Professional Preparation
1. Defining Professionalism, by Donn Devine,J.D., CG, CGI
2. Educational Preparation, by Claire Mire Bettag, CGRS
3. Certification and Accreditation, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG; Paul F. Smart, AG; Jimmy B. Parker, AG; and Claire Mire Bettag, CGRS
4. The Essential Library, by Joy Reisinger, CG

Ethics and Legalities
5. Ethical Standards, by Neil D. Thompson, LL.B., Ph.D., CG, FASG
6. Executing Contracts, by Patricia Gilliam Hastings, J.D.
7. Copyright and Fair Use, by Val D. Greenwood, J.D., AG

Career Management
8. Alternative Careers, by Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, CGRS
9. Structuring A Business, by Melinda Shackleford Kashuba, Ph.D.
10. Setting Realistic Fees, by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking
11. Marketing Strategies, by Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, CGRS
12. Business Record Keeping, by Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL, FASG
13. Time Management, by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG

Professional Research Skills
14. Problem Analyses and Research Plans, by Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL, FASG
15. Research Procedures, by Linda Woodward Geiger, CGRS, CGL
16. Transcripts and Abstracts, by Mary McCampbell Bell, CLS, CGL
17. Evidence Analysis, by Donn Devine, J.D., CG, CGI

Writing and Compiling
18. Research Reports, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
19. Genealogy Columns, by Regina Hines Ellison, CGRS
20. Proof Arguments and Case Studies, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
21. Book and Media Reviews, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
22. Record Compilations, by Bettie Cummings Cook, CG
23. Family Histories, by Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG
24. Lineage Papers, by Mary McCampbell Bell, CLS, CGL and Elisabeth Whitman Schmidt, CLS

Editing and Publishing
25. Editing Periodicals, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
26. Proofreading and Indexing, by Birdie Monk Holsclaw
27. Preparing Books for Press, by Joan Ferris Curran, CG

Educational Services
28. Classroom Teaching, by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking
29. Lecturing, by Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL, FASG

This 654-page reference book includes an appendix for Abbreviations and Acronyms as well as a section covering “Codes, Guidelines, and Standards: United States and International.” The book also has an extensive index.

Professional Genealogy is a landmark–the field’s most significant publication since 1960, when the American Society of Genealogists introduced Genealogical Research: Methods and Sources. In a sense, though, its title belies its greatest value: it offers priceless guidance to the many amateur family historians who want to ensure that their work is of high quality and enduring value.” – Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, President, Board for Certification of Genealogists

Become the best genealogist you can, click on the link and purchase Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians from Family Roots Publishing; Sale Price: $49.76; Regular $59.95.

Virtual PMC 2015 Registration Now Open

The following is from APG:

Registration is now open for the 2015 Virtual Professional Management Conference at

The largest Virtual PMC to date offers TWO full days — that’s 9 total sessions — of PMC’s must-have instruction streamed live to your computer or mobile device. Choose from the full Virtual PMC line up, one-day only, or individual sessions. All registrations include 3-month’s access to recordings of the same sessions!


Thursday, 8 January 2015

  • 10:45-11:45am MST — Taxes and the Professional Genealogist, James M. Beidler
  • 1:15-2:15pm MST — Finding the Law, Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL
  • 3:00-4:00pm MST — Mind Maps for Genealogy, Ron Arons, MBA
  • 4:15-5:15pm MST– DNA and Genealogical Proof, Angie Bush, MS

Friday, 9 January 2015

  • 8:15-9:15am MST — Get Paid for Your Passion: Setting Fees, Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL
  • 9:30-10:30am MST — Finding Your Niche: Matching Passion, Professionalism & Pecuniary Interest, James M. Beidler
  • 10:45-11:45am MST — How to Have Difficult Conversations with Clients and Colleagues, Christina Grover
  • 1:15-2:15pm MST — Time Management: Successfully Balancing the Demands of Our Many “Clients,” Angela Packer McGhie
  • 3:00-5:15pm MST — Genealogy Professionals Needed: Help Adoptees Discover their Genealogical Roots with DNA (workshop), CeCe Moore

Visit for class descriptions and speaker bios.

Register now for Virtual PMC 2015 at

Create a Virtual PMC package to meet your development needs! Choose from full-conference or single-day options or select only the individual sessions that you want to view. You will receive access to the live streaming of the sessions you register for as well as 3-months’ access to recordings of those same session. (Recordings will be available online beginning 5 February 2015.)

The Virtual PMC 2015 registration packages are:

Full VPMC — Thursday and Friday
Gives you access to all 9 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Thursday 8 January 2015 and Friday 9 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 9 sessions.

Thursday Only
Get access to the 4 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Thursday 8 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 4 sessions.

Friday Only
Access to the 5 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Friday 9 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 5 sessions.

DNA Bundle
Gives you access to Angie Bush’s “DNA and Genealogical Proof” on Thursday, January 8, and CeCe Moore’s “Genealogy Professionals Needed: Help Adoptees Discover Their Genealogical Roots with DNA” workshop on Friday, January 9, syllabus materials for both presentations, and 3 months of access to the recordings of the 2 sessions.

Live Streaming of Individual Sessions
Receive access to the live stream of a specific individual session, syllabus materials for the individual session, and 3 months of access to the recording of the individual session.

PMC Digital Syllabus
You can also purchase a downloadable version of the PMC 2015 Syllabus. The syllabus is available only with a purchase of a VPMC session or bundle. Some VPMC registrations include a full digital syllabus, see descriptions above. Please note that download is not immediate, a link will be sent to you via email.

Register for Virtual PMC today at

Virtual PMC registration is a benefit of APG membership and is open only to members of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Virtual PMC registration closes 6 January 2015.

Click here to learn more about APG membership and to apply online. I’ve been a member for over 30 years, and recommend it to my readers.

Dutch Citizen Helps Overseas Chinese Locate their Ancestry


The following excerpt is from an article written by Liu Zhihua, and posted in the October 18, 2014 edition of

A Dutch citizen eager to trace back his family history now helps many overseas Chinese do the same, Liu Zhihua reports.

Huihan Lie, a 36-year-old Dutch citizen, never expected he would someday make a profession out of helping fellow overseas Chinese find their roots through jiapu or “ancestry book,” when he first visited China in 2004.

Jiapu, also called zupu in Chinese, are records that are kept by clans of their lineage and histories. Lie didn’t know much about jiapu until he came to China.

Read the full article.

Upcoming FREE Live APG Webinars – Aug. 23 & Sept. 16


The following was received from the APG Professional Development Committee:

Mark your calendars! Don’t miss the following upcoming APG webinars brought to you by the APG Professional Development Committee. Register soon to reserve your spot. The first webinar is scheduled for this coming Saturday. You can also stay on top of upcoming APG professional development webinars and discussion groups on our website — they are listed on the main Members Only page as soon as you log in.

Careers in Genealogy: Lineage Specialist
Saturday, 23 August 2014 11:00 AM Eastern
Lineage and hereditary societies are a great motivator and a backbone of the family history community. This lecture will focus on supplementing income by properly preparing lineage applications for clients and on the experience of working for a lineage society.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: How to Survive and Thrive as a Genealogy Professional
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 9:00 PM Eastern
When it comes to the genealogy professional, one size does not always fit all. This webinar will provide an overview of the many ways you can earn a living as a genealogy professional—as a writer, speaker, educator, and researcher—and have fun doing it. Tips for finding assignments/contracts, building skills and professional relationships, and diversifying your income stream will also be provided.

These webinars are free for both APG members and non-members to attend live, so please share on relevant mailing lists, with colleagues, on social media, etc. We want people to have a chance to experience what APG has to offer!

Webinars are also recorded, and the recordings made available to APG members on the Members Only section of our website for any member who is unable to attend the live session or just wants to review the material again. If you have any questions, or would like to suggest a topic and/or speaker you would like to see for future webinars, please feel free to email me anytime — Kimberly Powell (

APG Professional Development Committee
Melanie Holtz (Chair), Sheri Fenley, Jean Wilcox Hibben, Kimberly Powell and Craig Scott

Association of Professional Genealogists Names Kimberly T. Powell President

The following was received from APG:
Executive Committee, Board Members, and Nominating Committee Elected for the Next Term

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 27 November 2013 − Today the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) announced election results for its 2014–2015 executive committee, as well as for nine board members, and two nominating committee members. Kimberly T. Powell of Oakdale, Penn. was elected president. Powell has been the genealogy expert for since 2000 and is the author of several genealogy books. She is the chair of APG’s Professional Development Committee and currently serves as APG vice president. She will succeed Kenyatta D. Berry of Santa Monica, Calif.

“I am honored by this opportunity to continue to serve APG, and excited to work with such a talented and enthusiastic group of board members,” said Powell. “APG has played a pivotal role in advancing the genealogical profession, and I commit to honoring those who have paved the way by continuing to increase public awareness of and trust in professional genealogists, to support our members at all stages of their genealogical careers, and to increase openness, networking, and collaboration within our organization.”

Catherine Desmarais, CG, of Vermont was elected APG vice president. She is a professional genealogist and works on U.S. Army military repatriation cases. She serves on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy and is an APG Quarterly Advisory Committee member.

Janice S. Prater of Denver, Colo. will serve another term as secretary. Prater is the editor of the International Society of British Genealogy and Family History’s quarterly publication and is treasurer for the Colorado Chapter of APG. Joan Peake of West Virginia was elected for a second term as APG treasurer. She is also president of the Fayette County Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania and member of the Great Lakes Chapter of APG.

APG members elected the following board members for two-year terms:

Region 1 West: Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D., M.A., CG, is a past president of the Southern California Chapter of APG, 1st vice president of the Corona Genealogical Society, and vice president of the Genealogical Speakers Guild. She was the lead researcher for the first season of Genealogy Roadshow.

Region 2 Midwest: Valerie Eichler Lair of Minnesota has been a member of APG since 1991. She is the president of APG Heartland Chapter and a member of the APG Northland Chapter.

Region 3 Southeast: Tina Sansone of Tennessee is vice president of the Second Life APG Chapter and is a director for the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors
Region 4 Northeast: Darcie M. Hind Posz of the District of Columbia serves as president of the National Capital Area Chapter of APG. She is a professional genealogist and writer.

Region 5 Canada: Louise St. Denis has been managing director of The National Institute for Genealogical Studies for the past 16 years. She was the founding president of Toronto’s Société Franco-Ontarienne d’Histoire et de Généalogie and a founding member of Ontario’s APG chapter.

Region 6 Ireland, N. Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales: Fiona Fitzsimons is a genealogist and a director for Eneclann and Findmypast Ireland. She has provided research for First Lady Michelle Obama and for televisions shows Who Do You Think You Are? and PBS’s Faces of America and Finding Our Roots.

Region 7 International: Michael Goldstein of Israel has been elected for another term. Michael traces roots worldwide, specializing in forensic, Jewish, and Holocaust research.

APG members elected two at-large board members. Amy E. K. Arner of Pennsylvania is a professional genealogist and proofreader of the APG Quarterly. J. H. Fonkert, CG, of Minnesota is a professional genealogist and lecturer and has served on the APG board since 2010.

Elected to one-year terms on the nominations committee are: Debra Braverman, a New York City-based professional genealogist, and Laura Prescott, a past president of APG and a full-time professional genealogist based in New Hampshire.

About the Association of Professional Genealogists
The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents more than 2,700 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 (

Registration Now Open for APG Professional Management Conference 2014


The following was written by APG staff:

Early-bird registration for the 2014 Professional Management Conference (PMC), “Embracing Innovation and Opportunity,” is now open online at The two-day conference will be held at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City on 10–11 January 2014.

PMC offers interactive, relevant guidance in advanced genealogical research skills and in business practices relevant to today’s professional and advanced genealogists. Featuring 8 classes and 3 hands-on workshops, PMC offers a wide variety of fresh ideas about how professionals conduct genealogy:

  • Brand and business building
  • Professional-grade DNA studies
  • Working with entertainment and corporate clients
  • Writing for a variety of audiences
  • And many more

Register Today for APG PMC 2014
PMC attendance is open to APG members and non-members. Attendees may choose to attend the full conference or a single day. Early-bird pricing ends 6 January 2014. Registration is now available at as are pricing and program details. Details about Virtual PMC will come later this year.

Speakers and Topics
Ten genealogical speakers with wide-ranging expertise will cover topics in keeping with this year’s theme of “Embracing Innovation and Opportunity”:

  • D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS — Friday Keynote — New Industries, New Worlds: Working for Entertainment and Corporate Clients
  • Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL — Saturday Keynote — “Good Name in Man or Woman”: Protecting a Professional Reputation
  • J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA — Lights! Camera! Connection! Will Genealogy-Based TV Improve My Business?
  • Claire V. Brisson-Banks, MLIS, AG — The Pursuit from Genealogy Hobbyist to Professional
  • Harold Henderson, CG — Workshop — The Story of Jethro’s Story: The Making of a NGSQ Article
  • Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG — Gaining Recognition in the Genealogical Community: Climbing the Professional Ladder
  • Melissa Johnson — Discovering and Communicating Your Unique Value: Personal Branding for Professional Genealogists
  • Angela Packer McGhie — (1) Writing a Genealogy Business Plan and (2) Networking for Genealogists: Making Connections Online and In-Person
  • CeCe Moore — Workshop — Advanced DNA for Professionals
  • Mary Penner — Workshop — It’s Not a Report. It’s Not a Summary. It’s a Genealogical Narrative!
  • Visit for full lecture details and speaker biographies and to register to attend PMC 2014.

Hotel and Airfare Discounts
PMC attendees can receive special hotel pricing at the Radisson and up to 10% off Delta airline tickets. Visit for further discount details.

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy
PMC 2014 is being held two days before the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), held 13-17 January 2014 at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. SLIG offers a full week of genealogy instruction with national experts. SLIG program details and registration are available at

Becoming an Accredited Genealogist

tp817You already love genealogy. There is a good chance you enjoy teaching others the research skills you have learned doing you own research. Why not gain some recognition for your professionalism and become an accredited genealogist?

If you ever though about getting your accreditation or simply wondered about the process then Becoming an Accredited Genealogist: Plus 100 Tips to Ensure Your Success by Karen Clifford is for you. The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists grants genealogical accreditation based on the knowledge, training, and integrity of the researcher. Other organizations and schools provide credentials and degrees, but essentially all have the same requirements. This guide covers what you need to know to succeed. This book,

  • “Outlines the benefits of being a credentialed genealogist
  • Describes the knowledge and basic research skills expected of a professional
  • Broadly examines the experience, testing procedures, and application processes required to apply for a credential
  • Focuses on preparing for accreditation with self-assessment tests, assignments, and personal insights”

The book will take the practitioner through the accreditation process. Assignments give the reader a chance to practice key skills, including, report writing and exercises in analysis. Suggestions for further readings provides direction to additional information for developing key skills. Through sample records, documents, and standard forms, the researcher can practice the needed skills to gain professional accreditation. If accreditation interests you, or you simply want to understand the process before hiring a professional, this book will help.


Learn about Becoming an Accredited Genealogist: Plus 100 Tips to Ensure Your Success, available from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $19.55.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Why This Book was Written

  • The Need for Credentials
  • Institutions Granting Credentials
  • Benefits
    • Advertising
    • Advancement
    • Certificate
    • Confidence
    • Contributions
    • Credentials
    • Earnings
  • Ethics
  • Something for Everyone
  • Suggested Reading

Chapter 2: Public Expectations of a Professional Genealogist

  • Basic Knowledge
  • Thoroughness
    • Primary Records
    • All Reasonable Sources
    • A Broad Range of Records
    • A Complete Review of Available Records
    • Adjoining Jurisdictions
    • Collateral Relations
  • Clearly Convincing Evidence
  • Professional Development
  • Report Writing
  • Summary
  • Suggested Reading

Continue Reading “Becoming an Accredited Genealogist”

BYU Seeking Family History Specialist

The following was received from APG:

Brigham Young University (Provo, UT) is currently conducting a search to fill a History faculty position. The search is for a family history specialist, with preference for U.S. Southern States expertise, but other areas of specialty will be considered. An advanced degree (MA or PhD) and credentialing (AG or CG) are required. Please see the details of the job posting at:

If you have questions, please contact the Search Committee directly. The application deadline is 15 October 2013, and the desired beginning date is Fall 2014.

Heir Hunters Expert Loses to WWII Veteran’s Daughter

The following teaser is from a fascinating article posted at the June 11, 2013 edition of It seems that chasing down heirs can become a costly proposition…

A TV-featured “heir hunter” has been beaten by a World War Two veteran’s natural daughter in a High Court race to inherit the ex-soldier’s home.

Peter Birchwood, a top genealogist and senior partner of Montgomery-based Celtic Research Ltd, was embroiled in a legal face-off with Cheryle Vallee after her Ukrainian-born father, Wlodzimierz Bogusz, died in 2003, at the age of 83, without leaving a will.

Mrs Vallee, 63, insisted she had the right to her father’s home in Eldon Street, Reading, because he had handed her the keys and deeds shortly before his death, and had pledged that “he wanted her to have the house when he died”.

However, because she had been formally adopted by family friends at the age of 13, she had no right to inherit as her father’s next of kin, and Mr Birchwood fought the corner of Mr Bogusz’s long lost brother after tracking him down to his home in eastern Europe.

Read the full article.

Megan Smolenyak on Irish Heritage

The following excerpt is from an interview with my friend, Megan Smolenyak, published in the March 31, 2013 edition of

Background: Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (who goes by Megan Smolenyak2 on her website in a nod to her married name) is a genealogist who has unearthed the Irish roots of many well-known people, including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The author of six books, she resides in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Tell us about your Irish heritage.
“I’m half-Irish (maternal side) with roots in Cork, Kerry, Longford and Antrim. My immigrant ancestors came between 1836 and 1882 and settled in Jersey City. My closest connection to Ireland is a pair of great-grandparents, so I just miss being eligible for citizenship.”

Read the full article.

FamilySearch Seeking Candidates for their Nordic Research Unit

The following was received from ICAPGEN:

The Nordic Research Unit of FamilySearch is seeking candidates to assist patrons and write for the FamilySearch Wiki. We are seeking candidates to fill a six month temporary position with a focus on family history records, resources, and strategies for the countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and occasionally Iceland.

We need self-driven, creative thinkers who can:

  • Offer friendly, timely, and accurate service to the public.
  • Provide quality research advice for the countries which are covered by the Nordic Reference Area at the Family History Library.
  • Write research concepts and processes clearly and concisely.

Required skills:

  • High computer skills, especially with Internet searching and FamilySearch products. Competence with Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
  • Working knowledge of FamilySearch products (; Wiki;; Family Tree, etc.)
  • Advanced genealogical research skills.
  • Excellent communication skills (verbal and written).
  • Ability to decipher and translate Nordic handwritten records.
  • Expertise in utilizing online record databases such as ArkivDigital, Digitalarkivet, and Arkivalieronline

Not-required but preferred:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • An AG in one of the Nordic countries or equivalent experience in genealogy, history, or a related field.
  • Fluency in one of the Nordic languages.

Additional information:

  • 20–40 hours per week, including Saturdays and some evenings.
  • Employment will be for six months starting in April.

To apply click on Church Employment located at the bottom of
or click on the following link:

Board for Certification of Genealogists Announces Trustee & Website Changes

The following news release of October 26, 2012 is from Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL:

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.

Becoming An Excellent Genealogist: Essays On Professional Research Skills

Genealogy is a hobby for many, a profession for others, and a passion for almost all practitioners. However, the one word that may be least used but best describes genealogy is science. Research science takes both skill and creative thinking. Genealogy is no different in this regard than any other science. And, like other scientists, genealogists, whether professionals or merely enthusiasts, are dedicated to finding answers through laborious, and sometimes difficult, research. Any research project is bound to encounter difficulties. Genealogists understand stumbling blocks all too well. Constant learning is the key to successful research and by-passing research dilemmas. Books, the Internet, magazines, conferences, and working with other genealogists are all avenues to expanded knowledge. Understanding the need to learn from the best resources, the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) has published Becoming An Excellent Genealogist: Essays On Professional Research Skills.

In referring to research issues, the Commission had this to say:

“… Every genealogical problem to be solved varies, to some degree, from every other problems.

Successfully navigating those difficulties is challenging, It takes a certain aptitude, as well as certain knowledge that may not be readily available…

The avocation of genealogy has grown. It is time to provide a higher level of instruction to more family historians in a convenient and inexpensive format. Yes, it takes time, effort, and (indeed) money to become an excellent (or advanced) genealogist.”

This is why the group has published Becoming an Excellent Genealogists. This collection of essay by experienced, professional genealogists “teaches concepts and methodology not usually taught in classes or other books.” This collection brings together generations of experience with the personal twist and examples of individual researchers. The essays are easy to understand, and explore research area both unique and critical to overall research success. Except for maybe the newest of beginners, this book has something to all levels of researcher. Even highly experienced professionals can benefit from another professionals experience and unique examples.

Consider this new 2012 guide a critical part of any researcher’s library. Inside the reader will find 25 helpful essays from 24 of the country’s top professional genealogists. The first essay asks, “What Makes an Excellent Genealogists?” Just pick up a copy and find the answers for yourself.



Acknowledgements, by Kory L. Meyerink



Research foundations

1. What Makes an Excellent Genealogist?, by Kory L. Meyerink

2. Elements of Genealogy, by Kory L. Meyerink

Research Concepts and Methodologies

3. Genealogical Analysis, by Marilyn Markham

4. Avoiding the Assumption Trap, by Apryl cox

5. Demography as a Tool for Genealogists, by Karhryn Daynes

6. Migration Methodology, by Karen Clifford

7. Strategies for Tracing Female Lines, by Judith Eccles Wight

8. Casting the Net Wide: Searching Horizontal Kin and Neighbors, by Amy Harris

9. Researching Minorities in the United States, by Jimmy B. Parker

10. Big City Research, by James W. Petty

11. An Introduction to Medieval Research, by John Kitzmiller

12. Timelines: Essential to the Genealogist’s Toolbox, by Joy Price

13. Using DNA to Find Immigrant Origins, by Nathan W. Murphy

14. Child-Naming Patterns: A Tool to Assist with Family Reconstitution, by Richard Woodruff Price

Records and Information

15. Jurisdictions: Who Created the Record? by Loretta Evans

16. Getting the Most out of Electronic Indexes, by Suzanne Russo Adams

17. Effective use of Libraries, by Chad R. Milliner

Recording and Reporting

18. Documentation and Source Citation, by Amy Harris

19. Writing a Quality Research Report, by Linda K. Gulbrandsen

20. Good Writing: Essential to Becoming an Excellent Genealogist, by Tristan L. Tolman

21. Making Sure Your Work Survives You, by Anne Leptich

22. Paleography: Abstracting, Transcribing, Translating, by Ruth Ellen Maness and Heidi G. Sugden

Professional Work in Genealogy

23. A Brief History of the Accreditation Program, by Jill N. Crandell

24. When to Hire a Professional, by Tricia H. Petrey

25. ICAPGen Accreditation Process and Procedures, by Carolyn J. Nell


Becoming An Excellent Genealogist: Essays On Professional Research Skills, a new book from ICAPGen, is available from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $19.55