I promised in my post “How Not to Become Certified, part one,” to share some of the judge’s comments from my unsuccessful 2007 application to the Board for the Certification of Genealogists. I feel that this can be a valuable learning experience for those planning their own application for certification. Read the first post for my own opinions as to why that portfolio was unsuccessful.
Please note that the judging system in use at that time is no longer used by the BCG. However, the judge’s comments are still appropriate. To learn about the current BCG judging process, read “The Judging Process” on the BCG website, and review the current evaluation rubrics.
This application received a mixed decision: one judge approved the application, two judges disapproved it. The BCG regulations require all mixed decisions to be reviewed by a fourth judge, whose decision is final. Below are comments from all four judges, both positive and negative, that address common problems that researchers have. I will not add my own commentary but allow the judge’s words to speak for themselves.
[Regarding “Understanding & use of contradictory evidence”] “While noted as contradictory, no resolution was offered…”
“Did not apply the Genealogical Proof Standard.”
“An efficient research plan would call for identifying the location prior to searching for a document.”
“The abstract has entirely too many abbreviations, and the style changes from naming the devisee first, to naming the property first.”
“The outline form for results works well.”
“The applicant consistently referred to the typescript extract of a letter as a transcript. As he demonstrated with the document work, a transcript is a full, word for word, copy of a document. These few lines, taken out of a letter, are not a transcript.”
“A lot of interesting information is still in the footnotes. Moving information from footnotes into the text would create a more interesting story.”
“The text hinted at discrepancies, but did not develop the proof.”
“It is disappointing ot read between the lines and see a competent genealogist, yet realize that the work presented in this portfolio does not meet the BCG Standards for Certification. The problems with the Case Study and report could be rectified with experience and attention to detail. However, due to the fact there was no attempt to apply the Genealogical Proof Standard or write a proof summary in any part of the portfolio, this judge is unable to recommend approval.”
“Use a wide range of sources per standard 19.”
“Heavy reliance on derivative sources.”
“Some kinship proof weak, see standard 50.”
“Proof summary inadequate, insufficient discussion, see standard 41.”
“Need a wider range of sources, see standard 19.”
“[T]he applicatioin guide states that applicants should show which of the three formats they chose for the case study. This was not done and therefore creates another area of uncertainty for judges.”
“Judges do expect more biographical data and historical or cultural context in the Kinship-Determination report and the portfolio was weak in these areas.”
“Footnote 5 might also be a possibility [for creating a proof summary] as it summarizes indirect evidence for the parents of Mary Lusby, but it wasn’t developed into a proof summary.”
“The Kinship-Determination project was the weakest part of the portfolio. There was very little biographical information, the format was not a recommended style, and it lacked the required two proof summaries. Without demonstrations of proof summaries this portfolio cannot be approved.”
“It is unfortunate that although Mr. Hait has satisfactorily met many of the standards, several major ones are unmet and they are so serious that certification cannot be recommended. However, Mr. Hait is encouraged to learn from the judges’ comments, correct the noted deficiencies and omissions, and later apply with a new portfolio that demonstrates what he has learned.”
And I did just that.
If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “How Not to Become Certified, part two,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 16 Jul 2011 (https://michaelhait.wordpress.com : accessed [access date]).