APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2003-07 > 1057690902

From: "Mills" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Certification Portfolio
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2003 14:01:42 -0500
References: <Law8-F16KU0VsnJABgP00055a0a@hotmail.com>

Regarding her planned BCG application, Cindy wrote:

> Is it really possible to put together all my work in 2 lbs or less?
> Can you put anything back-to-back?
> How do you condense your work?
> Can I put more then one record together for one of my reports? Such as
> obituaries on one page

Cindy, I'm weighing in late on this weighty issue. (Excuse the bad pun and
the obvious need to use a synonym finder <g>).

In reviewing the replies that have been posted, it seems to me that the
major issue has not been addressed. The issue, IMO, is not whether one can
(or should bother) complying with some arbitrary rule. What's more important
is the reason why the rule or the provision exists in the first place.

Yes, applicants are "allowed" to print their application on both sides of
each sheet of paper so that, say, 4 pounds of reading material can be
reduced to 2. The question all applicants need to ask themselves is: *Why do
I need to?*

And, yes, larger packages mean higher costs when BCG ships the portfolios
from judge to judge to judge and then back to the BCG office and then on to
the applicant. But if that were the major issue, BCG could solve that simply
enough by simply raising rates to allow for everybody shipping larger

The major issues are actually these:

1. Quantity and quality are not synonymous. Bigger rarely is better -- a
point that many applicants, historically, have missed.

2. A fundamental skill required of all good genealogists is *judgment*.
Specifically: the ability to decide what is important (or more important
than something else) and what will best make the case that needs to be

The material that is chosen for a portfolio reflects the applicant's ability
to appraise, to evaluate, and to make judgments. Over forty years of
experience, the Board has noticed a distinct parallel here. Most applicants
have far more personal and professional material than they could possibly
submit. (If they don't that's usually an indication that they don't yet have
enough experience in the field.) But applicants who can (a) measure their
work against a set of guidelines and (b) judiciously decide which reports or
projects best present the case for granting them certification are *also*
the applicants who demonstrate the most ability at (c) appraising the
genealogical evidence they unearth, and (d) assembling that evidence into a
meaningful package, on an everyday basis, for their clients or their

As for the question *Why do I need to submit, say, 4 pounds instead of 2?"
the one reason that commonly justifies it is this: the applicant is
submitting a CG application and has chosen a very large family that results
in a very large compiled genealogy. On the other hand, if one is submitting
an application that is built principally upon research reports, rather than
a compiled genealogy, then the extra weight usually results from including
many, many, many photocopies or other types of printouts sent to clients.

In this latter case, the applicant should evaluate his/her reports by the
No. 1 issue raised above: quantity vs. quality. Sending a client a lot of
photocopies does not necessarily mean that quality research has been
performed. It doesn't say "I'm a good researcher because I sent them a lot
of stuff." The quality of a research report hinges upon

• how well the genealogist has appraised the research problem
• how well the genealogist has planned the research to fit that problem
• how well the genealogist has followed the client's instructions
• how well the genealogist knows the available resources
• how well the genealogist has evaluated the materials found
• how well the genealogist has appraised, post-research, the direction in
which new research should focus.

When applicants choose reports that reflect challenging assignments, the use
of uncommon material, and a sound understanding of the records used, they
demonstrate their worthiness to be *certified* as a genealogist -- that is,
a genealogical researcher of superior ability, as well as trustworthiness.

> Will my brain still function after I turn this in?

Ahh, yes! In fact, your brain will function even better then. All muscles
benefit from being pushed to the limits of their capability <g>.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Trustee & former president, BCG

Author, *Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian*
Editor/Author, *Professional Genealogy: A Manual for
Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians*

CG and CGL are service marks of the Board
for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by those
who have passed BCG's rigorous examination process.

This thread: