I received the credential of Certified Genealogist in January 2017. During the time I was “on the clock” (after pre-application but before submittal), the Board for Certification changed the The BCG Application Guide and added the 150 page limit. If I submitted before my extension date, I could submit a portfolio that was as long as I wanted. If I extended then I would come under the 150 page rule. I needed the time and it was appearing that my portfolio would easily be under 150 pages (it was–it came in at 134 pages). I extended.
In May of 2019, BCG again changed the Application Guide, the Genealogy Standards and the Rubrics for Evaluating New Applications for BCG Certification (or Rubrics) The rubrics change more often than you think–always make sure you have the latest, which right now is May 2019. The most significant change in the Standards and the Rubrics was the inclusion of directives about DNA and how to integrate genetic evidence with our more traditional documentary evidence.
In the spring Certification Discussion Group, I noticed that a number of individuals were either hurrying to get their portfolios submitted before they had to renew again and some were opting out of submitting at all.
One of the problems was that there were no examples of successful portfolios that complied with the new DNA standards. There probably won’t be any examples until a year has passed. This is not to say that portfolios haven’t been submitted showing expertise with DNA, but rather that it is not clear that they have followed the newest standards.
I am the kind of person who will tread where angels fear to.
I looked at my portfolio submission and thought….what if I wrote up what I thought would adhere to the standards based on my portfolio and its Kinship Determination Project (KDP)? I had already proven the documentary links between the generations; could I also prove the genetic relationships? My argument against me doing so was that I am not an expert in DNA–but my argument against THAT argument was that it is unlikely that every portfolio submitter will be highly skilled either.
Of the seven elements, I picked the KDP to use as my example because the point of the KDP is to present and prove relationships–that’s why it is called “kinship determination.” Now, that isn’t to say a Research Report or a Case Study cannot have a significant component of DNA, but it also might not. The client could not request it; your research question might be so far in the past that DNA won’t answer the question, etc. I think it is harder to manipulate the selection of 3 (really 4) generations so that DNA does not need to be considered.
But, it is also important to remember that DNA is just one type of evidence. If you ignore probate records as a record type in your portfolio, you do so at your own risk. So, too, is it with DNA.
I have attached the document. It is written as a continuation of my KDP. It has a number of parts:
- my comments, assumptions and caveats.
- the inclusion that I would add to my portfolio (you can see my submitted KDP at the BCG table)
- What I would add to the Findings
- some resources that were helpful to me as I wrote this section.
I open myself and my work product to your comments and criticisms. Some of which might spur me to revise and repost! Your thoughts would be appreciated.
What I have been doing since my last post: Mostly recovering from B-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma since November 2018. I am now 6 months in remission and getting stronger every day. I am taking advantage of this “down time” to write more and work up a new online class. I am also now presenting to local societies and major conferences. My most recent publication is in the Swedish American Genealogist (March 2019). I am working on my own family–a luxury that time allows.