Genealogy Alphabet Challenge – “B is for BCG, The Board for Certification of Genealogists”

When I first started researching my family history, I did not know that this hobby of mine could actually be a profession for others. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered that there were actual ethics, guidelines and standards that had been set for genealogical research. The BCG or the Board for the Certification of Genealogists, I would say, are at the forefront of professional genealogist accreditations, and have been since 1964.

There is a wealth of information on their website including application information, work samples and a blog called “Springboard” that is updated on a regular basis.

A lot of genealogists will begin their portfolio requirements before they are officially “on the clock”, although their are some requirements to the portfolio which require information from the BCG that cannot be done until you have officially applied.

A great webinar that I have watched a couple times is on the Family Tree Webinars website. It is called “Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation” presented by Judy G. Russell

Other webinars that are worth a look in regards to certification are:

“Thinking About Becoming a Board-certified Genealogist?” presented by Elissa Scalise Powell

“Educational Preparation for Certification: Many Paths to the Same Goal” presented by Angela Packer McGhie

Jill Morelli’s “Genealogy Certification: My Personal Journey” is a blog I recommend if you are interested at all in pursuing a certification in genealogy. Although Jill Morelli is now “off” the clock and has achieved her credential, her blog is full of her experiences as she prepared to submit her BCG portfolio.

Come back on Monday for the next letter in the Genealogy Alphabet Challenge. I will be writing a post on “C is for Church Records”.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Happy Digging!







“What is Social History and Why Should a Genealogist Care?”

I attended a webinar last night from the Minnesota Genealogical Society that was FANTASTIC!

Annette Lyttle presented “What is Social History and Why Should a Genealogist Care? Her presentation was chock full of interesting information and websites that we can utilize to learn more about our ancestors’ daily lives.

We all research the big life events such as wars and immigration, but the case studies that Annette used last night were interesting in that they examined our ancestors’ lives without using what is called “presentism”. It is important that we put their lives in the context of their “present” and not our “present”, if that makes any sense.

Once of the websites she recommended was Envision the Past. I was a bit hesitant in the fact that this website focusses on the Great Lake States and with my research being mainly based in French Quebec, I didn’t think the website would really offer me much.

I was happily surprised that the above website lead me to a book that was first  published in 1852 titled “Roughing it in the Bush” by Susanna Moodie. This is an account of her life as she immigrated and settled into life in her new home in Upper Canada during the 1830’s.

I read quite a few pages before bed last night and I can’t wait to go home and read some more. I think this book will give quite a bit of insight into the trials, tribulations and hopefully successes that my ancestors had while living in the bush.

I believe the webinar is now only available to members, but check out the above website and see if maybe you can find something that can help you put the lives of your ancestors into historical context.

Thanks for reading and happy digging!




Digging in! 

On Wednesday afternoon after a long day at work, I rushed home to check the mail for my package that contained this!

Unfortunately, when I received it, it was very damaged with the front and back cover almost completely off the book 😦 I contacted Amazon and they sent me a new copy out the very next day. I received my new copy on Friday and had plans to dig into it this weekend!
I was not able to get to it until this evening as my sisters’ turned 16 yesterday and we spent the day celebrating!

I went through this book with post-its to mark the citations that will help with Canadian records (as that is where I primarily research).

This book is huge and it is a gold mine of information! Even if you do not aspire to be a professional genealogist this book will still serve you well for your personal genealogy as well!

I will be watching DearMyrtle’s study group on Youtube based on the first two chapters of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained.

I am very excited to delve deeper into this book and start keeping proper source citations for all the records and information I find and have found in the past. My tree is a mess and I am putting everything aside and “starting over”.

I just received this book, but from what I have read of it so far and from the reviews of others, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book to add to your genealogy resources!

Have a Great Day!


How I Have Been Using Evernote For My Genealogy Research

When I first started researching my family history, I quickly started to collect mounds of papers and documents and I was getting overwhelmed with how fast everything was piling up. I looked to the internet for information on how to get started and the best ways to organize all the information that I was starting to hoard! There were SO many different systems that I read about, but none of them quite fit what I was looking for. I tried filing by the 4 colors, but I would always get confused as to what color went with which surname and where to move the folders when a person got married etc. I tried binders and filing by document (birth/baptism, marriage, death/burial, census records, land records etc) but I found that while working on one ancestor, I needed ALOT of room to spread out the binders so that I could reference each one as I was working. I would start to take pages out and they would never make it back to their proper spaces at the end of the session and I ended up with a mismatched pile anyways! What was the point of being organized?

About a year and a half ago I found Colleen Greene’s website at Once I read through her posts on “Evernote for Genealogy” I started to get excited about organizing again! Her system was one that I could work with and tweek to my liking. A system that clicked for me!

And so it began. Several years of research had to be imported while some documents still needed digitization. I got to work and this is what I came up with.

I took the templates from Colleen Greene’s website and modified them a bit to work for me.





Each person in my family has their own “Person Notes”. It starts with their name followed by birth year and death year (if confirmed). Underneath that are two links. One that takes me to their research log (in excel) and the other to their family groups sheets (also in excel) that includes a timeline in chronological order.

I tag each person with their surname, MRIN number, RIN number and whether they are a direct ancestor or a collateral ancestor.

On the same page underneath this chart, I include a “Question” section with checkboxes for all the questions that I think of as I am researching. Once they are answered I check, it off and continue on my way.

Underneath that I have each record that I have found for the individual transcribed or abstracted. Since most of my records are in French, I also include my English translation of each record.

I will also add maps where I have pinpointed each location and what happened in each location.maniwaki-and-surrounding-areas-map

Next, if you are still with me (which I hope you are!) each record that provides evidence of an event or detail is notelinked (in green) beside the event or detail in the “Person Notes”.

You can click on a notelink and it will take you to that record.


I include a complete source citation as well as a tag for record type, location, surname and RIN. I will then include a tag that states what still needs to be done to the record.

Transcriptions, abstracts or translations are also copied and pasted below their record.

All my documents are notelinked back to the “Person Notes” and all “Person Notes” have a link to the records.

The “Master Genealogy Index” brings me to a list of everyone that I have in Evernote. When I am in the index I can just click on an individual and I am brought to their “Person Notes”.


I have stacks in my Evernote for my Genealogy files, History files (this includes all information I have found on certain locations or events that may have impacted my ancestors) and Resources (this includes extra information on each record type).

My system is always evolving, but I hope that if you have been stuck trying to figure out an organization system that works for you, you can come away from this post with some ideas!

Thanks for sticking with this very long post and I hope you come and visit again!

Have a great day!