Two New Beginnings

I’ve added two new starts to my new job position: DAR Chapter Regent and the first meeting with my ProGen39 group.  Both happened within days of one another.  These two positions plus my executive director position at the Museum are my three main projects to tackle for the foreseeable future.

This gavel was handed down to me as Chapter Regent.  Our chapter just celebrated its 90th anniversary last year.  What an honor to hold this in my possession until the next Regent takes over.  I also received the Big Bag o’ Stuff that I have yet to inspect!

Officers: Me, Stacey, Rose Marie, Georjean, and Marianne

A beautiful rose in bloom with my office at the Museum in the background.  Three days before, it was just a bud.  It will take me longer than three days, but I hope to grow just as wondrous as it in the future.

My ProGen study group will last a year…an intensive course in preparing oneself to become a professional genealogist.  This is a peer-reviewed group that includes a lawyer, a teacher, and others with great experience.  We all want to become better genealogists and hold ourselves accountable for completing assignments, providing valuable feedback on others’ assignments, and attending a monthly chat.  In my case, I don’t have time to take on clients, but I am able to assist many folks researching their east-central Indiana roots.  I want to provide that service at the highest level possible so they may find their genealogical story.  If I feel I am successful at this endeavor, I will most likely seriously consider BCG certification, though I would prefer to attend a genealogical institute before attempting certification.  An institute, you say?  Why yes!  I’ll explain about those in an upcoming post since it will be something I explore for my educational plan assignment.

 Will ProGen help me decipher this?

Right now, I have no less than four events to plan for, one more step to go in the grant process (and if that goes well I’ll be writing grant #2), preparing my evaluation for the Board, creating a Constitution Week poster, reading three chapters and writing an educational plan for myself, and I’m constantly thinking about 2019.

Whew!  Time for some sleep and start all over again tomorrow!  I wonder what new thing I’ll learn??

One More StEP…or Maybe Two

My historical society took a big leap of faith and approved our entry into the StEPS Program through AASLH (American Association for State and Local History).  StEPS stands for Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations.  It is a self-guided process wherein history organizations take a good hard look at policy and procedure and their future.  We will receive a workbook to work on different aspects of our organization, e.g. mission and governance, audience, and collection.  I am very excited about this!  We plan on reviewing it through the rest of this year and actively working on what needs attention beginning in 2019.

Drawer from Thaddeus Coffin desk

I am so grateful for the Genealogy Library we have at our historical society (named after Clarence H. Smith, some day soon I’ll tell you more about him).  When I began pondering career changes, professional genealogy seemed like the path I wanted to follow.  Volunteering at the historical society opened my eyes to the wonder that is our local history.  This position as director fulfills my genealogical passion, as well as teaches me unique things about my county.  If I don’t learn something new daily, then I consider it a nonproductive day.  These new things I learn can come from any nook of the Museum…our oldest book was published in 1789…a child on a tour showed me a new piece of wood in our Thaddeus Coffin desk (made of nearly 57,000 pieces!)…a lovely weed had found its way into our entry pavilion!  Even though I’m the executive director of a historical society and museum, genealogy still plays a large role in my life.

Bronze on wood trunk I bought today to use for my presentations! “The Trunk of Curiosities”

That is why when I recently received the invitation to join the ProGen Study Group 39 I jumped at the opportunity.  I had tentatively set aside my goal of achieving professional genealogy certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), but, by signing up and participating in the yearlong ProGen course of study, I believe I might move forward with my BCG goal.  We’ll see in a year!

Census record I may use for ProGen or BCG

Thank you to those who voted on the skeleton key poll.  What do you think of this one?

Skeleton key on gentleman’s black top hat

FFF~Week #24

My most sincere apologies for being absent lately.  I’ve been working hard on laying the groundwork for the new society (writing bylaws! creating a newsletter! planning a year’s worth of meetings!) and also I’ve begun writing some of my BCG Certification reports (not officially “on-the-clock” yet).  Plus, doing research for First Families of Ohio since learning my 4th-great-grandparents were in Ohio prior to 1820 (James A. Fowler and Elizabeth Devore in Butler County, OH) and doing research on my 4th-great-grandmother Ailesann (Dyer) McGuire, born in Indiana in 1811.

This week marks the change from paternal 2nd-greats to maternal 2nd-greats!

Ancestor: My maternal 2nd-great-grandfather (Amos Benton Ballard)


  1. Born on 24 February 1840 in Henry County, Indiana, on the Aaron Ballard farm in Jefferson Township.
  2. Was exempt from the 1862 Civil War draft due to a “heart condition.”
  3. Was a teacher, preacher, doctor, and dentist.
  4. Was married 3 times: Hester Ann Cripe, Olive Carver, and Hannah Katherine “Kate” Hanby.
  5. Graduated in 1873 from the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery.

amoskate Amos Benton Ballard and Hannah Katherine Hanby, taken possibly around the time they married

Webinar~Certified or Certifiable? Why A Genealogist Would Go Through All That Trouble

Another great webinar in the BCG series, presented by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG

BCG website

* Certification: Evaluation of competence of work samples in a portfolio based on:

Documenting, researching, and writing.

Benefits of being certified, higher standards, efforts to reap rewards (personal and financial), preparing to go “on the clock,” second round for some applicants. If you submit a second portfolio, you start from the ground up, a complete re-do of your portfolio.

Be measured by those who know the field.

Turn in application to go “on the clock” aka 1 year to turn in portfolio. Submit preliminary application along with a fee. “Time is literally money.”

Take classes to prepare properly for certification.

Take time to do some work before going “on the clock.”

Obtain the aid of a mentor (email list through BCG once you’re “on the clock”).

Clarify anything that confuses you. Ask questions.

Take the quiz to see if you’re ready (readiness quiz).

Look at sample portfolios at major conferences at the BCG booth.

Attend what conferences/seminars you can and visit the BCG booth when there.

Read On Board! It’s time for me to subscribe.

Pursue certification to ‘prove’ or test oneself, advance career, validation of skills.

Preparing to go “on the clock”, create a timeline! See the BCG website for an example.

Join APG and NGS!

*Failure first time around:

Failure to follow all instructions.

Failure to read the rubrics that the judges use.

Lack of understanding of the terminology and genealogy scholarship.

Not enough experience, turning in application before you’re ready.

Portfolio can now be submitted electronically.

**I have found the BCG webinars to be exceptionally insightful. It was announced that archived webinars will be on the BCG website soon!**

Passing Thoughts~Kinship Determination Project


For the BCG certification portfolio, the final component is #7, the Kinship Determination Project (KDP). It requires 3 generations researched and documented in a narrative lineage, narrative genealogy, or pedigree lineage. The generations used cannot be you or your siblings. So, that excludes your parent’s generation because even if they are the 3rd generation you document, you and/or your siblings, as their child/ren, will be listed. The most recent generation related to yourself that can be used would be your grandparent’s generation.

I’ve been mulling this over…which family and which generation to use, plus which style to use. At first, I thought I wanted to use my Ballard line (Amos>Aaron>Amos Benton). There are good Quaker records there, but Aaron was an only child so that generation is a little sparse. Now, I’m considering the Ford line (Nathaniel>John>Lyman)…definitely a bigger challenge. Both of these lines start with my 4th-great-GF (Amos Ballard and Nathaniel Ford), so if I’m the first generation I’d be using my 5th, 6th, and 7th generations, if that makes any sense.

I’m pretty sure I’ve touched on this before…from a webinar…found it! here

Styles (the bold is mine; everything in bold is per the BCG FAQ on their website

  • Narrative Genealogy (Descending)
    A narrative genealogy is an historical account of a family, in which each individual life is presented in historical context with biographical and genealogical details. Typically, a narrative genealogy presents the generations in a descending arrangement. Starting with a more-distant ancestor or ancestral couple, it comes forward through the generations, attempting to account for all known descendants, in all lines (female as well as male) for a certain number of generations.
  • Narrative Pedigree (Ascending)
    A narrative pedigree is essentially the reverse of the narrative genealogy. Instead of starting with an ancestral couple and tracking all descendants forward in time, it begins with a more-recent person and develops his or her ancestry in various branches. As with a narrative genealogy, a narrative pedigree should provide a discussion of the lives that have been assembled for each person, not just a recital of the vital statistics that would appear on a pedigree chart.
  • Narrative Lineage (Descending or Ascending)
    A narrative lineage is a genealogical and biographical account of a family in a direct line, through a certain number of generations. It might start with a more-distant couple and come forward through the generations, or start with a more-recent person and proceed backward in time. A narrative lineage would provide the same personal detail on each couple and their children as called for in a narrative genealogy or a narrative pedigree.

I think I’ll do a narrative lineage and use the Fords. I have other plans for the Ballards! I need to get on the ball and find marriage records for Genesee Co, NY!!!



Genealogy Do-Over~Week 1

Week 1: 2 Jan-8 Jan 2015

I’ve decided to work on a do-over with my research on John Ford, my 3rd-great-GF (paternal), or, more precisely, John Ford’s parents and family.

*Setting Previous Research Aside
I’ve decided to modify this a bit since I’ve accumulated quite a bit of information about Mr. Ford himself. I’m going to get what I have better organized. I have digital information, hard copy information, stuff saved in Evernote…all of this needs to be properly organized and cited.

*Preparing to Research (Further)
I am going to devise a research plan to make better educated searches for information. In Indiana, I need to better search the county where John Ford lived, I need to request his compiled service record from NARA, I need to better research the county in Ohio where he was first married, Sacket Harbor in NY where he was discharged in 1829, why he lived in Arkansas, etc. Oops, I about fell down the rabbit hole! Thus, I need a written research plan combined with a research log, possibly in Excel, to track research progress. Luckily, a member of the Genealogy Do-Over FB group shared an Excel template for a research log, and it is excellent! (Thank you Ellen Coulter!)

*Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines
I’m using RootsMagic7 and have added Folder Marker to my computer to match folder colors to RM7 colors for family lines.
I need to learn to add source citations to images (practiced doing this on this post).
I need to do this as soon as I scan the image into the computer…NO WAITING!
Save digital info to Evernote to my main folder, then move to appropriate family folders to keep organized, using appropriate note titles and tags.
Use Evidentia to its fullest potential for citing my sources, beginning with building a case for the Ford family.
Become BFFs with Evidence Explained!

On a side note, this first day of Genealogy Do-Over I actually did a bit of research for the project I’m working on for future BCG certification. This project will require further research in Ohio; I hope to attend the OGS annual conference in April to work on that. Fingers crossed!

ETA: I began this post on 2 Jan 2015. Since then, I’ve figured out how to add citations to images and save as .pdf files, I’ve color coded my folders on my hard drive to match my family lines in RootsMagic7, I have done some digital organizing of said files, and I have spreadsheets for research logging and census tracking. I have the next couple days off work so I plan to begin adding sources to Evidentia!