Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Keeping Records Open in Massachusetts: A Workshop for Genealogists

The Massachusetts Genealogical Council and the Boston Public Library are co-sponsoring a two-hour workshop on Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square.

Many of the records that genealogists use are generated and stored by the government, from vital records to deeds and court records. To ensure records access, genealogists need to learn what new bills are being introduced on Beacon Hill and what budget decisions are being made. This workshop will discuss the legislative process, focusing on when and where genealogists can get involved to let their legislators know what is important to them.

We will show you how to search for bills affecting different topics, and how to track them through legislative committees and floor votes. We will differentiate between first, second, and third readings, locate contact information for state representatives and senators, and discuss how to communicate clearly.

The workshop will be presented by Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, FASG, a professional genealogist. A Board-certified genealogist since 1996, Barbara was appointed a Fellow of the honorary American Society of Genealogists in 2014. Her passon for records access and preservation has led her to serve as Federal Records Director of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council. She will be supported by other Directors from the Council.

Photograph by Mark Buckawicki and made available on Wikimedia.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Genealogical Evidence Got You Stymied? Can’t Put Your Thoughts in Order for that Report?

Then Come on Down to the Putting Skills to Work BCG Ed Fund Workshop

Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM
(That’s the day before the NGS 2015 Conference)

St. Charles, Missouri

And Let Elissa and Barbara Give You Some Ideas About How to End that Confusion!

Ever go to conferences and see the presenter do magical things, but then when you sit down yourself, you find it isn’t that easy? Putting Skills to Work is a unique full-day, hands-on workshop limited to sixty participants. The focus is practicing skills needed by anyone who does serious genealogical research whether as a family historian, librarian, dedicated hobbyist, or writer. Materials are geared to intermediate and advanced practitioners and advocate established genealogy standards.

It’s only $110.

The registration fee includes lunch, both in-depth presentations complete with hands-on exercises, syllabus, handouts, and active class participation. NGS Conference registration is not required. You can go just to the workshop – you don’t have to cross-register to go to the conference.
To register for the workshop, pick the choice that describes your registration status:
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, will lead the session “Tested Strategies for Efficient Research Reports.” If you’ve found writing research reports (whether to paid clients or to your own files) painful, then this is the class for you. Many researchers assume committing research findings to paper is separate from the research process; however, Elissa will share her methodology for using available time efficiently during the research process, resulting in a sharable work product. 

“Tested Strategies for Research Report” will allow each participant to experience (not just observe) an efficient process for making the research report a part of the research cycle. Writing “as you go” saves genealogists the pain of creating a report after the thrill of the chase is complete. Each of us wants to be more efficient in our research and more proficient in our report writing whether for a client or for our own family and files. Without writing down your research plan, analysis, and conclusions, you or future generations may very well repeat them needlessly. Communicating our findings is at the crux of all we do.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, is immediate past-president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She is co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), instructs for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate course and at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She is coordinator of the Professional Genealogy course for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. She has extensive experience as a forensic genealogist in mineral rights cases.

Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, FASG, will lead the session “Evidence Analysis, Correlation, and Resolution: The Heart of the Genealogical Proof Standard.” Focusing on only direct evidence creates unnecessary research dead ends. This session addresses weighing and correlating sources, evidence, and information in their many diverse forms for successful resolution of investigations. We will take a family living in the U.S., and work until we know where in Denmark they came from. Where will we look for them? What do the records in Texas tell us about the family? As we go through the documents we’ll ask ourselves new questions and move to new areas of research, much as we would in the world outside the classroom.

We will also evaluate indirect and fuzzy evidence, working together to resolve those issues. So many areas of the U.S. have few records but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make intelligent inferences about family relationships. 

Barbara mentored ProGen Studies Group 7, and GenProof Studies Group 6. She currently mentors ProGen Studies Group 21 and NGSQ Study Group B. She is a substitute instructor for the Boston University genealogical certificate program. She has extensive experience as a lineage genealogist analyzing documents from across the U.S., from the present back to colonial times.

So please join us for a fun day of experiential skill-building and take home ideas and processes that work and help to make us more efficient with our time and money.

Why a confused kitten? It gets people’s attention. This one is from Microsoft and is used under license.

Credit for this posting also goes to Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, who posted notices on the BCG Ed Fund page http://bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html and as a BCG SpringBoard blog post http://bcgcertification.org/blog/2014/12/bcg-education-fund-workshop-at-ngs-st-charles-12-may-2015/ .

UPDATE 1: Cost after Early Bird registration changed to reflect the fact that the workshop is not subject to a change.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Just Released - Volume 1 of the Welles Genealogy

This is the 2013 second edition of the 1990 genealogy of Gov. Thomas Welles of Connecticut and his Wife Alice Tomes. It is the first of three volumes, the second and third coming up in the next few months. The majority of my work time over the last dozen years has been this project. Whew!

It is available in both paperback and hardcover formats. Just go to our online store to see your buying options:

Click here to visit the Welles Family Association Store. 

Here is what we say about it on the Welles Family Association's webpage:

Gov. Thomas Welles came to New England in 1635, settling in Hartford in 1636 and moving to Wethersfield in 1646. He remains the only man to have held all four top executive positions in Connecticut government. An entailed property case involving their sale of land as they left Old England connects both Gov. Thomas Welles and his wife Alice (Tomes) Welles unequivocally to their origins and families in England.

Volume 1 covers the Welles and Tomes ancestries in England and the first four generations to live in New England. The first edition was completed in 1990 by Connecticut Valley genealogy specialist Donna Holt Siemiatkoski. The second edition corrects and expands the information in the first edition. The genealogy includes all descendants in both the male and female lines.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Response to "What Is Forensic Genealogy?"

Photograph courtesy of Colleen Fitzpatrick

Prior Use of the Term Forensic Genealogy

On Wednesday, my inbox included a blog posting from Michael Hait about forensic genealogy in which Michael Hait interviewed Leslie Lawson, President of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy  http://michaelhait.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/forensic-genealogy/.[1] What struck me was that the council’s approach negated the prior use of the term “forensic genealogy.” We have discussed this term in the Forensic Genealogy group on LinkedIn (disclosure: I manage the group). When the narrow definition of the term was used there, many genealogists stepped forward to defend the prior and broader use of the term.[2] In other words, the council's definition doesn't hold water with many in the field.

As background, please understand that genealogists have been aiding in probate work and missing heir work for decades. During that period of time it was called probate or missing heir work. The first use of the term “forensic genealogy” was in a book title for a work by Colleen Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.[3] Colleen was an explorer in previously uncharted territory. She used extreme analytic skills in discovering information in photographs, DNA, and databases. Colleen was not narrowly discussing probate work when she coined the term Forensic Genealogy. When my friend Sharon Sergeant broke a few fraud cases involving the publishing industry, she was being a forensic genealogist. She analyzed photographs and documents in different languages to discover the truth.[4]

Monday, November 14, 2011

In genealogy, all roads are good.

I’ve been noodling around the internet, searching on blog postings that discuss professionalism and genealogy. I’ve found some interesting postings that are worth considering in our discussion of professionalism and genealogy. I hope you get a chance to read and consider them as we go forward in our discussion.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Whoever started the idea that a genealogist could be demanding?

Donald Lines Jacobus is widely recognized as the father of modern genealogy. As such, he was the first person inducted into the Genealogy Hall of Fame by the National Genealogical Society:

Donald Lines Jacobus, FASG (1887–1970), of New Haven, Connecticut, was the first person elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. He was nominated for this honor by the American Society of Genealogists, the Genealogical Society of Utah, and the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society. During his lifetime, Jacobus was widely regarded as the dean of American genealogists, and he is recognized as the founder of the modern school of genealogy in the United States. He was the editor and publisher of The American Genealogist for forty-three years, and he may have been the most prolific genealogical writer of any generation. His writings include the classic, Genealogy as Pastime and Profession. On his death, he was described by his colleague Milton Rubincam, as "the man who more than any other single individual elevated genealogy to the high degree of scholarship it now occupies." [1]

The first eight issues of the journal Jacobus began were devoted to the genealogy of the earliest families in New Haven, Connecticut. As this topic ended, Jacobus renamed the journal The American Genealogist. The first paragraph of his “Preface” to that edition gave his goals: