Monday, December 19, 2016

My Journey of the Certification Process: Entry 6

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It sure has been a long time since I have written on the old blog and even longer since I have updated my readers in my certification process. If you didn't know, I am "on the clock" for certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists. This is a pretty big deal and if I "pass," I will have the letters CG after my name for the next five years.

[If you would like to go back and read my certification blog posts in order, here are the links: Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Entry 4, and Entry 5.]

Progress in 3 Easy Steps

I have made some serious progress over the last several months in completing the portfolio. I attribute this to three things:

1. I took out an extension. One year is just not enough time for a wife and mother of three, a person trying to work, and an active servant in the community and church, to still have time for sleeping and eating, much less working on the portfolio. If you think you are not going to finish within the designated year, you can file for an extension. An extension does cost you ($), but the good part is you have an additional year to keep working and keep learning. I found that very helpful.

The first year, I was a nervous wreck. I did not fully realize the amount of hours needed and I was easily overwhelmed. I felt I was going around in circles sometimes. The advantage to taking out an extension is to have longer to mull over your ideas and to learn with more focus. Let me explain.

Before you attempt the certification process, it is a good idea to already have an idea of what you want to research for your portfolio. It is also a great idea to start writing reports and working for clients. All this, I did. However, I couldn't have known how valuable the BCG Action Group would be. You see, once you are "on the clock," you are included in a Google Group called the BCG Action Group. Here, you are supported by the best and brightest genealogists in the field. Further, they send you regular action lists to keep you on track, descriptions of passing/failing portfolios, and lots of helpful articles. This was just one more reason I was glad I took out an extension. I feel better prepared having been a part of this group.

2. I try to work on the portfolio every day. I have written about this before, but I think it deserves to be said again. "A record a day keeps procrastination at bay." You can not keep momentum and clarity of thought when you are waiting weeks in between working on your portfolio. It takes too much time to "catch up" and pick up where you left off. Instead, working even an hour a day is better than doing nothing.

Along these same lines, you may not be able to work on your portfolio as often as you should if you have chosen to do research in a far away location. I had originally intended to do a report on my family lines in Virginia. That was plain silly. How on earth was I going to have the necessary time to visit the courthouse and other areas of importance to do exhaustive research? I live in Ohio for heaven's sake! Friends, I can't think of any exhaustive research that doesn't include a visit (more than one actually) to a local repository. If you can't get to your research location easily, pick something else. That's my 2 cents, anyway.

3. I watch the BCG webinars. Oh my goodness, friends. This has been a complete game changer. The BCG hosts regular webinars. You can see a list of titles here. These webinars are geared toward those working on their portfolios and some of the best and brightest in the genealogy community are our teachers. Some are available to view for free and others cost a small fee.

Also, if you have a subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars, they are presenting BCG webinars via their website as well. In fact, Judy Russell has an upcoming webinar on Dec. 20th, 2016 titled "No, no, Nanette! What negative evidence is...and isn't." You can register for her free webinar, here.

These webinars have been helpful and encouraging. They are an especially good way to gauge how you are doing and what you need to work on.


You are not alone when participating in the certification process. There are lots of resources and people to support and guide you. Here's to hoping by this time next year, I will have the title Certified Genealogist!

I have recently published three webinars of my own at Legacy Family Tree. If you would like to watch them, the titles and links are listed below:
"Crowdsourcing with Social Media to Overcome Brick Walls in Genealogy"
"Tech Savvy Journaling and Scrapbooking for Genealogists"
"Enriching Your Family History through Pictures & Stories"


  1. I have enjoyed learning about others' journeys to professional credentials this year, as I have just rejuvenated my own goal of credentialing after a 16-year pause for growing our family. Thanks for sharing your experiences; it is giving me confidence to continue on.

    Melissa Corn Finlay

    1. You're welcome, Melissa...and best of luck to you!!

  2. Good luck with your certification, Amie. It reads like it's a very ambitious undertaking, but also very worthwhile.

    Thank you, too, for sharing the link to the BCG webinars. They look like some good learning material.

  3. Thank you for your honesty! I also subscribe to Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Every one I've watched has been excellent. I'll have to look up and watch your webinars! Best of luck!


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