Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2007-12 > 1198123606

From: "Elizabeth Shown Mills" <>
Subject: Re: [TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM] Educational prep & mentorships
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2007 22:07:29 -0600
In-Reply-To: <>

I wrote:
>>Acquire and study *Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers,
>>Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians.*

Lee wrote:
>In addition to the above, what other advice would you give to someone who
>unable to participate in a formal program? And do you have any
>recommendations for how one might make the best of an independent study


My apologies for not responding sooner. Work intervened.

Your situation is a very common one. Young genealogical professionals
typically have young children and travel is rarely possible. Those who are
transitioning typically have jobs elsewhere and cannot schedule time off
during conferences or vacations. Others who have already walked away from
another job to build a career in genealogy find themselves cash-strapped. So
do homemakers who want to reenter the workforce as a genealogist.

Considering these limitations, what I have to offer is a 10-point blueprint
that would provide solid grounding and enhanced skills for any genealogist
who is making or considering the transition from "family researcher" to

Costs? Seven of these 10 can be completed for less than $100. (In my region,
that equates to just about three nights out at the movie with significant
other or one child.)


Read all the "Skillbuilding" articles, study all the work samples, and do
the "Test Your Skills" module at the Board for Certification of Genealogists


Greenwood, Val D. _Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy._ 3d ed.
Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001. Amazon: $29.95 or used from

Read Greenwood from cover to cover--several times or until you feel you have
well learned its content. For three decades, this has been the leading
textbook for genealogical study, and Greenwood has kept it up to date. It's
big, but easily digestible. This is the textbook for the NGS Home Study
course and is the equivalent of Samford IGHR's Course 2 (Intermediate

_Professional Genealogy: A Manual For Researchers, Writers, Editors,
Lecturers, and Librarians_. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001.
Amazon: $35.96 or used from $25.88.

For skillbuilding (as opposed to building a business practice), focus first
on these chapters:
1 "Defining Professionalism," Donn Devine, J.D., CG, CGI
14 "Problem Analyses and Research Plans," Helen Leary, CG,CGL, FASG
15 "Research Procedures," Linda Woodward Geiger, CGRS, CGL
16 "Transcripts and Abstracts," Mary McCampbell Bell, CLS, CGL
17 "Evidence Analysis," Donn Devine
18 "Research Reports," Elizabeth Shown Mills
20 "Proof Arguments and Case Studies," E. S. Mills
23 "Family Histories," Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG
24 "Lineage Papers," Mary Bell & Elisabeth Schmidt, CLS

Mills, E. S. _Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to
Cyberspace_. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007. Amazon: $38.81 or
used from $34.98. DOWNLOAD from, $24.95.

Thoroughly study the first two chapters (ca. 90 pages of the 885 pp. total):
1 Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis
2 Fundamentals of Citation

(These are not the same as chapters 1 and 2 of the little 1997 "briefcase
edition" of Evidence.)

_The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual._ Provo: Ancestry, 2000. Amazon:
$13.56, used from $12.45.
Read *all* of the standards, starting with the Genealogical Proof Standard.
Examine the appendixes for the models they provide.


6. (for Methodology)
_National Genealogical Society Quarterly,_ 1987-to date. **Study** the case
studies in every issue you can get your hands on. It does not matter what
family or what region the case study deals with. You are studying it for
techniques and methods. Almost every library with a genealogical collection,
as well as many university libraries, have NGSQ. At you can
identify libraries in your region that carry it. NGS has also begun to put
back issues online at, if you are a member.

7. (for Methodology)
Rising, Marsha Hoffman, CG, FASG. _The Family Tree Problem Solver_.
Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2005. Amazon: $13.59. Used from $12.48.

8. (for Sources)
Luebking, Sandra Hargreaves, and Loretto D. Szucs, _The Source._ 3d ed.
Provo: Ancestry, 2006). Amazon: $79.95, used from $54.32.

If you live within driving distance of other serious genealogists, consider
starting a study group along the Litchman Model that has been discussed over
the years in various NGS and APG forums. Basically: the groups that follow
the Litchman Model meet monthly, choose a case study (usually from NGSQ) for
each month's meeting, require participants to read the assigned case study
at least three times, make notes, and come prepared to discuss the
methodology, sources, and strengths and weaknesses in the research or
analysis. Check the APG-L archives for discussions particularly by the late
Ken Aitken regarding his group.

Scholarships and awards to attend conferences and institutes (typically in
the $500 range) are available through several genealogical channels,
particularly these:

A. ASG Scholar Award (for attendance at either IGHR or NIGR)

B. BCG Education Fund Scholarship (for attendance at IGHR,
NIGR, NGS Conference, or FGS Conference)

C. IGHR Jean Thompson Scholarship (to attend IGHR)

D. NGS Family History Writing Contest (to attend NGS Conf)

E. NIGR Richard Lackey Scholarship (to attend NIGR)

Needless to say, winning any of these scholarships puts one on the
fast-track professionally, from the standpoint of recognition of one's

Good luck,

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Ombudsperson, Board for Certification of Genealogists

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