20 January 2013

New BCG blog: SpringBoard: News and Notes

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) has a new blog titled "SpringBoard: News and Notes." BCG's website has many articles and sample reports useful to any researcher who wants to leave a well-researched genealogy to their descendants. Don't ignore their blog and website just because you aren't interested in seeking certification.

Here's the announcement (slightly reformatted for online display and links):
P. O. Box 14291
Washington, DC 20044

For Immediate Release
DATE: 8 January 2013

SUBJECT: BCG’s New Blog: SpringBoard: News and Notes

The 49-year-old Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the group that wrote the book on genealogical standards, recently joined the blogosphere with its blog, SpringBoard: News and Notes, accessed from http://www.BCGcertification.org.

According to BCG president Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, of Pennsylvania, the blog will communicate news about BCG and events it sponsors or participates in. Early posts introduced officers Powell; vice-president Michael Ramage, J.D., CG, of Pennsylvania; secretary Dawne Slater-Putt, CG, of Indiana; treasurer Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, of Illinois; and member-at-large Stefani Evans, CG, of Nevada; and gave notice of a fee change effective January 1. Another post announced new audio clips from three Board-certified genealogists describing why they chose to seek certification.

Future posts will come from BCG officers, trustees, and committee members and will include
  • names and profiles of new certificants (whose portfolios of work have been judged to meet the standards set out in the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual),
  • news of conferences and events where BCG will have a presence through exhibit booths, lectures, certification seminars, and social events, and
  • information, advice, and explanation on genealogy standards, the certification procedures, and other items of interest.
In addition a current-events calendar lists where BCG will have a presence. Anyone may subscribe to email notifications of new posts from the site as well.

Using blog software through its website allows BCG to communicate more frequently than its triannual newsletter, OnBoard, to which anyone may subscribe for a yearly fee. The organization also has a presence on Facebook (currently open to the public) and LinkedIn® (for associates).

Said Powell, “We enjoy being able to offer timely news and notes to help advance the mission we began in 1964—defining, supporting, explaining, and advocating high standards in genealogy.”

FYI: BCG is an independent certifying body recognized nationally and internationally. It is not affiliated with, or part of, any group. More information is available at

Certified Genealogist, Certified Genealogical Lecturer, CG and CGL are proprietary service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) used by the Board to identify its program of genealogical competency and evaluation and used under license by the Board’s associates. The Board’s name is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

# # # # # #

Contact Information:
Nicki Birch, CG, Executive Director for BCG office@BCGcertification.org

Full disclosure: As a Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer I am an associate of BCG. The fact that I voluntarily spend my time and money to be part of this group should clearly indicate how I feel about the group. But I would recommend the website and blog even if I were not an associate. I subscribed to OnBoard for many years before I submitted my application portfolio. I learned invaluable lessons and would expect the blog may offer similar benefits.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "New BCG blog: SpringBoard: News and Notes," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 20 January 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

CFP: Digital Frontiers 2013 at UNT

I received this call for proposals along with a message that they would really like to have a genealogy panel:
Call for Proposals: Digital Frontiers 2013

The University of North Texas Digital Scholarship Co-Operative and UNT Libraries invite proposals for Digital Frontiers 2013, a conference that brings together the users and builders of digital resources for research and education.

Digital libraries provide unprecedented access to materials, and this has dramatically expanded the possibilities of primary source research in the humanities and related fields.

We seek submissions of individual papers, fully-constituted panels, birds-of-a-feather discussions, hands-on tutorials, or posters--all based on the use of digital archives, social media, and digital tools for humanities research.

We encourage contributions from anyone who creates or uses digital collections, including scholars, educators, genealogists, archivists, technologists, librarians, and students. The goals of this conference are to bring a broad community of users together to share their work across disciplinary and administrative boundaries, and to explore the value and impact that digital resources have on education and research.

Possible Topics
  • Specific ways digital libraries have changed the state of research
  • Digital tools and methods for conducting research
  • Using digital collections in the classroom
  • Using digital libraries for research on any humanities topic
Proposal Types
Digital Frontiers is accepting proposals for:
  • Individual papers
  • Panels or Roundtables
  • Birds-of-a-Feather Discussions
  • Hands-on Tutorials & Workshops
  • Academic Posters
For specific guidelines and further details, please visit http://digitalfrontiers.unt.edu/
Deadline: April 30, 2013
This is a great way for genealogists to let the record keepers know our wants and needs. What are your ideas for topics to be suggested?

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "CFP: Digital Frontiers 2013 at UNT," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 20 January 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

16 January 2013

Advertising, Questionable Products, Terms of Use

I don't have enough time to do all the things I want and need to do. I don't need more sites that waste my time and money.

I frequently send out the URL for http://snopes.com/ to family and friends when I get e-mail messages about something that may or may not be a scam. Snopes is my go-to place for finding the truth on scams and such.

While reading the blog posts linked below, I thought, maybe we need some kind of evaluation site for genealogical product offerings, especially websites. Then I found a comment that mentioned ReviewOpedia which I have not seen before. A search there for genealogy brings up three website names, only one of which has been reviewed by two people. A search for family history brings up nine website names, but several are for vehicles and not family history. I'm not sure who is behind ReviewOpedia, but I'd sure like to see a site with trustworthy evaluations of genealogical websites and products that are not written by someone paid to review the offering. Is there one I am not aware of?

With all the articles about the billions of dollars being spent on genealogical research, there will be more and more questionable offerings. These will be difficult to evaluate, especially by someone who is new to genealogy. While a company's offerings may be useful to some, everyone should carefully read and evaluate the marketing claims and the terms of service. Read the blog posts linked below.

Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings blog often has evaluations of sites and products with his personal observations and experiences. Be sure to read Randy's additions to the blog post linked below after Thomas MacEntee read the Terms of Service of the site being discussed.

For bloggers who display ads, you may want to check out who you are advertising for. These new companies being formed will sign up to get their ads displayed through the same channels as companies we all use and respect.

Randy Seaver's post "UPDATED: Genealogist Beware - Checking Out Genealogy... "1 links to Christine Blythe's post "The Saga of Genealogy.... and Ancestor..."2 [domain name endings removed so no URLs will be seen by indexers]. When I went to read Christine's post there was an ad displayed for a different domain name owned by the same company discussed in her blog post.

Who are you advertising for?

1. Randy Seaver, "UPDATED: Genealogist Beware - Checking Out Genealogy...," GeneaMusings Blog, posted 14 January 2013 (http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/01/genealogist-beware-checking-out.html : accessed 16 January 2013).
2. Christine Blythe, "The Saga of Genealogy.... and Ancestor...," Empty Nest Genealogy Blog, posted 15 January 2013 (http://www.emptynestancestry.com/2013/01/15/the-saga-of-genealogy-us-org-and-ancestor-us-org/ : accessed 16 January 2013).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Advertising, Questionable Products, Terms of Use," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 16 January 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

16 January 2013: Corrected spelling of Christine's name and citations.

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

09 January 2013

What DNA test do I take? Part 1

What DNA test do I take?

This is the question I get most often when speaking on using DNA for genealogical research. It is impossible to answer the question as stated. Like so many questions, the answer is — it depends.

It depends on
  • what you want to learn, and
  • whether there is someone alive in the line of interest who is willing to provide a DNA sample.

You should also be aware that taking a DNA test isn't going to knock down all of your genealogical roadblocks. It takes a lot of work to analyze the results and correlate the information with your traditional research to reach a soundly reasoned conclusion.

If you are just curious, I recommend testing as much as you can afford as soon as you can. Your choices are between a Y-DNA test if you are male or can get a male relative to test, a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test, and an autosomal DNA (atDNA) test. An autosomal test usually has a name like FamilyFinder, Relative Finder, or AncestryDNA. Do all of the tests if you are curious and can afford it.

With a Y-DNA test you can learn about the direct paternal line — the tester's father's father's father and so on back through time. You may have an exact match with someone where your common ancestor is many generations back. You can also prove there is no link between the tester and another man.

With an mtDNA test you can learn about the direct maternal line — the tester's mother's mother's mother and so on back through time. You may have an exact match with someone where your common ancestor is many, many, many generations back. You can also prove there is no link between the tester and another person.

With an atDNA test you can learn about all lines of descent, but only back five or so generations. Farther back than that is iffy because of the way DNA is inherited. Two people can be related far back in time, but not show much matching autosomal DNA.

All of these tests may give you clues on how to focus your research to get further back, but you still have to do the traditional research. Each test can provide information to answer focused questions related to genealogy. The Y-DNA and mtDNA tests are available in several different resolutions. In some cases you may only need a low resolution, low cost test. In other situations you may need the highest resolution, higher cost test. But you can't determine which is needed until you know what you want to learn.

Don't be confused by companies who offer kinship tests using the markers used by law enforcement. For Y-DNA, mtDNA, and atDNA genealogical tests check out Family Tree DNA. For atDNA tests, including some information on health-related markers, check out 23andMe. Ancestry.com used to offer all three types of test. It is difficult to find anything on their site now other than the AncestryDNA atDNA test, but be aware they don't yet provide access to your raw DNA data which is absolutely necessary to do detailed analysis.

This will be an ongoing series detailing specific genealogical questions with recommendations for the tests that may help.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "What DNA test do I take? Part 1," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 9 January 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved