Monday, December 7, 2015

My Journey of the Certification Process: Entry 3

If you have been following along, you may have noticed that more than a week has passed and I have not written a blog post. This part of my certification process happens from time to's life getting in the way!

For two weeks, my children and I have been fighting off colds and strep throat, and it has been awful. There was still homework and housework, and just to make things interesting, wrestling season started. Even with the help of my husband, there were just not enough hours in the day. Time dedicated to certification had to be put aside for a bit.
The Family that keeps me busy!

When this happens, I try not to lose my momentum. I know that I can't dedicate the hours I want to research on the "big" projects when I am feeling lousy. Instead, I watch BCG videos and read about genealogy. I might not remember all that I hear or read, but it makes me feel better to know that I have done "something" that will benefit my portfolio.

When I have been especially busy and have only small bursts of time or energy, I work on transcription and abstraction.

Transcription and abstraction of a provided document is part of the portfolio. BCG sends you one handwritten document that could be found in the region and time period you mentioned on your initial paperwork. You also will do a transcription and abstraction of a document that you provide.

Practicing the techniques for transcription and abstraction is important. Because abstraction had not often come up in my past research experience, I have had to study that more so than transcription.

One of the best resources for learning the ins and outs of transcription and abstraction is chapter 16 in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. 

I was still a bit confused as I read the chapter and compared it to other transcription and abstraction examples found in the document samples on the BCG website. I mentioned my confusion on the Google Group for those "on the clock." Judy Russell said it best when she said (and I quote), "There is No One Right Way. All together now. Repeat after me: There is No One Right Way." End quote.

I think the most important thing to learn during the certification process is this: There are standard operating procedures. As you learn and apply these standards, the finished product may look different than others. That's your style and that's okay. When it comes to transcriptions, the guidelines and essentials are pretty straight forward and Ms. Mills lists them in chapter 16 of the book I mentioned above.

As for abstracts, I found them...well, more abstract! Abstract examples can have different styles. Some may be written more like a list and another may be written similar to narrative format. I decided to not choose one style over another, but let my gut direct me. I ask myself, "Who is my audience? Will this be logical to my reader?" If a numbered or list abstract would help my reader to understand the document best, I use that style. If I think the narrative format might be best for the reader, I use a narrative format.

As I have said before, these are just my impressions as I go along. Please don't use these words as advice for your portfolio, I may be doing it all wrong! We shall wait and see.

In the meantime, when my life gets busy,  I do something. Read, watch a video, or practice a paragraph or two of transcription/abstraction. The important thing is to not lose your momentum! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

Read "My Journey of the Certification Process: Entry 2" here.


  1. Amie,

    I want to let you know that your post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!


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