Archive for the ‘Professional Genealogy’ Category

The APG Young Professional Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11 April 2012

(APG) Now Accepting Applications for APG Young Professional Award

APG to Honor Student with Strong Interest in Developing a Career in Genealogy

WESTMINSTER, Colo., 11 April 2012 The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) is now accepting applications for the APG Young Professional Award. The award goes to a student with a significant interest in genealogy and with a strong interest in developing a professional career in genealogy. The award includes a scholarship registration for the APG Professional Management Conference (PMC) and a stipend of up to $500 towards travel and lodging at the conference. The winner will be announced in August 2012 for attendance at the APG PMC 2013, which will take place in Salt Lake City on 20 March 2013.

“We are excited to offer this award to an up-and-coming professional,” said Kenyatta D. Berry, APG President. “Our Professional Management Conference provides an excellent opportunity for the winner to learn more about the profession. We look forward to receiving many applications.”

APG Youth Awards Eligibility and Application Details

Eligible applicants are between the ages of 18 and 25, enrolled as a high school senior or undergraduate, post-graduate, or recent graduate of an accredited college or university and have at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent).

Applications should contain the following: name; address; main contact phone number; email address; school name; school address; GPA; list of extracurricular activities (including student organizations and volunteer activities); a letter of recommendation from a dean, principal, or faculty advisor that also indicates the applicant’s current grade standing or transcript; a letter of recommendation from an individual who has witnessed the applicant’s interest in genealogy; and short answers (500 to 750 words) to two questions. The questions are:

1) Discuss a specific record collection that has significantly changed the course of your family history, or research strategy along with the pros and cons of that record source, and how you used it to resolve a genealogical problem.

2) What do you envision a genealogical career will encompass in the year 2025 and how do you see yourself involved then?

See http://www.apgen.org/scholarship/index.html for the application. Applications should be submitted to the APG office by 1 June 2012. Send applications to APG Executive Director Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG, at admin@apgen.org .

About the APG

The Association of Professional Genealogists (http://www.apgen.org), established in 1979, represents more than 2,400 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 (www.twitter.com/apggenealogy) and FaceBook (www.facebook.com/AssociationofProfessionalGenealogists)

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APG is a registered trademark of the Association of Professional Genealogists. All other trade and service marks are property of their respective owners.

Media Contacts:

Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG

Executive Director

Association of Professional Genealogists

P.O. Box 350998, Westminster, CO 80035-0998

phone: 303-422-9371, fax: +1 303-456-8825

admin@apgen.org

Corey Oiesen

Communications Officer

Association of Professional Genealogists

corey@genealogyheroes.com

Free webinar tomorrow: “The Pursuit from Genealogy Hobbyist to Professional”

Tomorrow afternoon, 4 April 2012, Legacy Family Tree will be presenting a free webinar entitled, “The Pursuit from Genealogy Hobbyist to Professional,” featuring John M. Kitzmiller, II, AG and Claire V. Brison-Banks, AG.

According to Legacy’s website,

Several terms are applied to individuals that are interested in their ancestors. Those who are fascinated by the story but not really interested in the data could be termed amateurs. Moving up a rung on the ladder would be the hobbyists, who gather photos, letters and family memorabilia to share with others. They quite often are members of societies, are familiar with local history, and help others to find their ancestors. This group is quite underestimated, in that many have self-taught expertise and are quite knowledgeable. However, most of them do not charge money for their assistance. The next step is to operate at the “professional” level, which requires perspective, attitude, methods, process, and some business skills. This webinar will discuss various ways to make that transition. Join John M. Kitzmiller, II, AG and Claire V. Brison-Banks, AG for this special webinar, sponsored by the The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).

For more information, and to register for the free webinar, visit http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/webinars.asp.

Another word on “Evidence-based” and “Conclusion-based” genealogy software use

Recently I was researching a client’s ancestor and I found myself thinking about the recent discussions on “evidence-based” and “conclusion-based” genealogy software use. This case perfectly illustrates my difficulties in using genealogy database software. The case has not yet been concluded, so I am unable to publish the specifics here.

In this particular case my client’s ancestor (“S. B.”) was born ca. 1764-1765, based on analysis of several sources, including pre-1850 federal census records, the 1850 federal census, a Revolutionary War pension deposition, and an obituary.

A man with the same name was identified as a son in the 1762 will of the presumed father (“M. B.”). Obviously this immediately presents a problem, but the census records are vague enough, and the other sources late enough in life, that the possibility of the date of birth being pushed forward a few years remained, so it was possible that S. B. could have been an infant when his father wrote his will.

The most important evidence came when examining the other probate records related to M. B.’s estate. S. B. served as the administrator of the estate, in 1762-1763. By checking a 1759 compilation of laws in effect in the state, I confirmed that a person appointed executor or administrator of an estate had to be at least 17 years of age to serve as such. This would mean that S. B., son of M. B., had to have been born no later than 1745. In other words, there was simply no possibility that my client’s S. B. was the son of M. B.

Writing the report in MS Word, it is very easy to quote the relevant portion of the probate law, and cite the law book. This law provides the crucial evidence to prove that M. B.’s son S. B. was born before 1745. No other record provides this information, either directly or indirectly.

In a genealogy software program, how would one:

(1) enter a “fact” or “event” for S. B. or M. B. to reflect the existence of the probate law?

(2) cite the probate law?

I am sure that there is a way, and if I relied on genealogical software in my research, I would have to figure it out. But I have a feeling that it would be a bit convoluted, whereas it is much easier to accomplish simply using a word processor with footnotes.

The next question is then–how would this be handled differently by an “evidence-based” software user and a “conclusion-based” software user?

I am open to all comments.

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “Another word on ‘Evidence-based’ and ‘Conclusion-based’ genealogy software use,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 23 March 2012 (http://michaelhait.wordpress.com : accessed [access date]). [Please also feel free to include a hyperlink to the specific article if you are citing this post in an online forum.]

“Evidence-based” and “Conclusion-based” software use

My discussions of genealogy research conclusions have taken an interesting turn. (See “What is a conclusion?” and “Simple and complex genealogical conclusions.”)

While my posts deal with the use of proof in forming conclusions, Randy Seaver, prolific author of the Genea-Musings blog; Tim Forsythe, author of Ancestors Now; Russ Worthington, author of A Worthington Weblog; and others have taken it a step further in discussing how they use their genealogy database software. This new turn is particularly interesting, considering that I rarely use any genealogy software in my research, especially my research for clients.

Read the following posts to witness the development of the terms “Evidence-based Genealogists” and “Conclusion-based Genealogists”:

I would like to applaud all of the bloggers mentioned above for giving so much thought to how to apply research standards to how they use their tools. Every day more genealogists start using one of the genealogy database programs. I hope that they all come across these posts, so that they will also give this discussion some thought.

I would quibble about one word being used, though. Rather than calling oneself an Evidence-based  or Conclusion-based Genealogist, it would be more accurate to call oneself an Evidence-based or Conclusion-based Software User. Using the word “genealogist” as opposed to “software user” implies that there are two separate approaches to genealogy, rather than simply two separate ways to use the software.

I also want to address a related topic, that of “evidence-based” and “conclusion-based” genealogy research. So as not to confuse the issues, this will be discussed in a separate post.

Again, to all of the bloggers who have taken part in the discussion, thank you!

The Genealogical Proof Standard – it’s not just for professionals!

Though I started researching my genealogy (in the loosest sense of the word research) when I was about eight or nine years old, I have been involved with genealogy off and on throughout my entire life. I started researching at the National Archives (Archives I in Washington, D. C.) at age sixteen, when I was still in high school. By the time I was nineteen I was spending every Saturday cranking through microfilmed federal census records, passenger lists, and military indexes, looking for my family.

I learned everything I could about the records available where my ancestors lived: Stamford, Connecticut; Harrisonburg, Virginia; Schoharie, Suffolk, and Saratoga counties, New York; and other places. Doing this I was able to find out quite a bit about my ancestors, but there were plenty of brickwalls. Inch by inch I would creep forward, relying often on derivative sources and a network of other researchers found through word of mouth and (eventually) surname email lists and message boards.

Learning methodology–“how to research”–never entered my mind.

Fast forward a few years. After a couple of years without active research, I learned that my wife was pregnant with our daughter. The pending addition to my family inspired me to jump back in with renewed excitement.

Internet genealogy had changed significantly within just two or three years! Those old surname- and location-specific mailing lists and message boards barely scratched the surface of what was available online.

But more importantly, I started to read about research methodology. Elizabeth Shown Mills’s Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian and Christine Rose’s Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case taught me that research does not end when you find a record. These books taught me the importance of evidence analysis and other skills that I learned to apply to my research.

Not client research as a professional genealogist. My professional career came later. I learned to apply proper research techniques to my own family research first. (And one of these days I will go back to some of my older research and bring it up to par.)

As I learned about the Genealogical Proof Standard, and started to apply it to my research, the brick walls amazingly started to crumble before me. I was able to “form logically-reasoned, clearly-written conclusions” based on a “reasonably exhaustive search for records that contain pertinent information,” and by “analyzing” and “correlating” the information and “reconciling conflicting information.” These conclusions carry so much more confidence because they meet the standards.

One comment I have heard from time to time is that the Genealogical Proof Standard or the more detailed BCG standards are “just for professionals.” In my experience, and I would venture to say the experiences of all other researchers who apply them to their own personal research, the Standards are definitely not “just for professionals.”

The Standards are for anyone who wants to accurately research their family history.

APG Quarterly issues now online back to 2004

For members of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the members-only publication APG Quarterly is now available online in its entirety from its March 2004 issue through the current issue. Prior to this update, issues were only available from March 2008. These newly-digitized issues all appear in the “Members Only” section of the website, so members will have to log in to view them.

The APG Quarterly has consistently produced quality articles on both genealogical research issues and small business issues. Also lying in the Members Only section is a full index to all articles published in the Quarterly since 1979, in PDF format. I would highly recommend all members to review this index. Among the articles printed in the 2004-2007 issues now available are:

  • Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, “The Road Less Traveled: The Power of Indirect Evidence,” APG Quarterly 20 (March 2005): 21-26.
  • Sharon Tate Moody, CG, “Shades of Gray: A Look at the APG Code of Ethics,” APG Quarterly 20 (December 2005): 161-164.
  • Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG, “Citing Your Sources[^1],” APG Quarterly 20 (December 2005): 165-166.
  • Maureen A. Taylor, “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Self-employment has it all,” APG Quarterly 21 (March 2006): 39-40.
  • Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG, “Problematic Words: The Ones that Come off Bad. Or is it Badly?,” APG Quarterly 21 (September 2006): 119-120.
  • Maureen A. Taylor, “Putting on Your Best Face: Dealing with a Professional Photo Request,” APG Quarterly 22 (September 2007): 145-146.

This is just a small sampling of the many, many articles that APGQ has published of benefit to professional genealogists. These few articles cover running a business, writing, research, and business ethics.

If you are a member, spare yourself a few minutes to review these new issues. Your business will certainly thank you!

Looking Back on ’11, Forward to ’12

New Year’s Day is a time for reflection on the past, and a time for assessing one’s goals and future plans.

Since I started this blog, I have used it as a way to gauge my professional progress. You can read about my goals from previous years in these earlier posts:

Last year I did not set public goals for myself. I think I meant to do so, but somehow neglected to write the post. Due to this neglect, I will instead note some of my accomplishments in 2011, and set some goals for myself in 2012. (Much more like what I did in the first post above, for 2009/2010.)

I am a bit taken back when I look at what I have accomplished this past year. I managed so much more than I imagined possible a year ago. In no particular order, these are some of the accomplishments of which I am personally most proud:

1. At the end of January 2011, I published the ebook Online State Resources for Genealogists. Within less than a week I had sold about 200 copies, which is far more than I expected. I originally planned to have an update prepared by mid-summer, but this has not yet been completed. I will be working hard this month to have the update finished by the end of January.

2. Also in January, I was reelected to another 2-year stint as Vice-President of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

3. In March I completed the 18-month ProGen Study Group educational program. This was very helpful in networking with other “transitional” genealogists over the course of the program. We all certainly learned a lot from each other, and from our mentor J. Mark Lowe, CG.

4. Though I was unable to attend the National Genealogical Society’s annual conference in Charleston, South Carolina, in May, it was still a momentous occasion for me. It marked the debut of my publication Genealogy at a Glance: African American Genealogy Research (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2011), and the announcement of the winners of the 2010 International Society of Family History Writers & Editors Excellence in Writing Competition. My article, “Learning from Genealogical Failure,” won 1st Prize in the “Newspaper Columns” category.

5. In May, amid a very active blogging discussion concerning professional genealogy, I renamed, revamped, and relaunched this blog. It was originally called “Tricks of the Tree” when I started blogging in 2008, but my blogging was sporadic at best: 7 posts in 2008, 19 posts in 2009, and just 4 posts in 2010. Since the relaunch as “Planting the Seeds” in May, I have written 123 posts!

6. In June I again attended the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University (Birmingham, Alabama), completing Elizabeth Shown Mills’s “Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis” course.

7. In July 2011 I achieved my primary professional goal by becoming a Certified Genealogist(sm) through the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

8. From May through October I worked with the National Park Service researching a community of slaves that once lived on Monocacy National Battlefield. The results of my research are currently being developed into an exhibit that will debut in January 2012, and research is expected to continue in 2012 and 2013.

9. In November the Association of Professional Genealogists announced that I had been elected to the APG Board of Directors, for the Southeast Region for 2012-2013.

10. At the end of November I published my first instructional book, aimed at genealogical lecturers: Show ‘N’ Tell: Creating Effective and Attractive Genealogy Presentations. Unlike my previous self-published books, this book does not contain transcriptions or indexes of record sources. Completing the writing was a major accomplishment for me.

And now my goals for 2012:

1. Continue to design new presentations. I already have quite a few presentations scheduled for 2012, including two lectures at the 2012 National Genealogical Society annual conference, and four lectures at the 2012 Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University. I have all-day workshops of four lectures each scheduled in Oklahoma and Tennessee, and single lectures scheduled in Maryland and Pennsylvania. I also have two webinars for Legacy Family Tree scheduled, and an appearance on the “Research at the National Archives and Beyond” Internet radio show with host Bernice Bennett on BlogTalkRadio.com. However, I would like to create more new presentations, so that I am not merely giving the same presentations over and over again. (You can see all of my currently scheduled future engagements using the Calendar in the right sidebar.)

2. Complete some books that have been sitting on my shelf. I have made significant progress on several books, but have not yet finished them. One of them contains transcriptions of Civil War draft exemptions in Baltimore city, Maryland. Other subjects include St. Mary’s County, Maryland, tax papers, and Prince George’s County, Maryland, estate inventories. All of these books have been sitting on my shelf.

3. Finish my updated edition of Online State Resources for Genealogy. I have made significant progress to this end, but I really want to take a few days and get this update finished. This involves not only adding new resources, but also a redesign. I also want to make an edition to be used in e-readers. While I am at it, I would also like to make the updates semiannual rather than annual (so hopefully another update in June or July).

4. Get started on some new books. I have a series of books in mind that I have barely started working on, but I really need to hanker down and hammer them out. I won’t reveal the subject of this series yet, but I believe that it will be greatly appreciated when complete.

5. Have an article accepted for publication in an academic journal. I have two case studies that I am writing up for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and another that I intend for The Genealogist. I also have an article in mind for a historical journal, probably the Maryland Historical Magazine. In 2012 I would really like to dedicate myself to completing and submitting these articles.

6. Get better at time management. A few months ago, I created a simplified weekly schedule that would provide time for research and writing. So far I have not kept it for even a single week. I really need to get better at this–I am just not very organized when it comes to spending my time productively.

7. Write some magazine articles. I would really like to publish more magazine articles this year than I did in 2011. The popular magazines have room for less advanced descriptions of records and research methodology. I have also been considering writing an article on genealogy (in general) for a non-genealogy magazine. I have not yet decided which magazine would be best.

8. Submit to genealogy writing competitions. There are several writing competitions happening this year. If I can actually write enough entries, I would love to enter them all!

9. Attend the new Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. Registration for GRIP opens in February 2012. The Institute will be held from Sunday, 22 July 2012 through Friday, 27 July 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am particularly interested in the course “Advanced Research Methods” taught by Thomas W. Jones, Claire Bettag, and Rick Sayre.

10. Find some time to research my family for a change! After all, this is why I got into this mess in the first place. :)

Happy New Year!

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