How can working on a class project also help the BCG certification?

There are many ways to go about the process of doing the 7 components of the application for BCG certification.  As you know I am taking a history course oriented towards genealogy while also working on my certification.  Being basically a lazy person (I like to think of my self as “efficient”) I would like to not do double work while still advancing certification and the class.  Of course, I have to be careful that what I submit for the class I do not also submit to BCG, otherwise, I could have a review by someone of my work that I would then “correct” based on their input.  My understanding is that the review==>corrections process is not allowed.

With that in mind, I have been working on Jens T. Dahle’s Civil War record, which I received yesterday in the mail.  I have only one ancestor (a remote great great uncle) who served in the Civil War so it is particularly fun.  I am tracking his movements (he spent a considerable amount of time in the hospitals in Washington DC) and the battles he did fight in.

Right now I am doing preliminary research identifying sources of information.  Obviously the file I received from NARA is filled with original records, but other information I am gathering from the Internet is derivative.  His Civil War Military file provides me with information, some of it is primary (muster in/out records) and some secondary (Prisoner of War summary document).  After evaluation and an exclusion process, the information leads to conclusions based on evidence, most of which is direct and very relevant for the Client Report.  This is all part of the evaluation process providing proof of his Civil War experience.  If all this sounds like ESM NGS Quarterly article, “Working with Historical Evidence,” you are right.

So, how does this help my class?  BCG requires that the final report be turned in but it does not require any of the intermediate tools you use to get there.  One of our class assignments is a chronology of historical events paired with your ancestor’s action.  I have used chronologies in the past for genealogical purposes and find that they simplify certain kinds of information so it can be better analyzed.  The use of this tool was imperative to understanding the movements of Jens and his regiment over the 3 year period of the time of 1862 to 1865.   I generated a table composed of four columns:  what was happening nationally, what was the regiment doing, what was Jens doing and the date.  This time line, for the purposes of the assignment will have to be condensed (he’s asked for 1 page and I am at four!).

I struggled with the identifying of the focus for the chronology for a while and almost decided on Grietje Wientjes and her immigration.  I would really like to understand her immigration motivation (she left a twin sister behind), but I decided to flow with the information I had rather than having to work for information that might be difficult to get. And, so, I am doing Jens instead.

And, I now know much more about the Civil War than I did two days ago and I am getting familiar with Civil War original sources.

I would be interested in knowing how you have used chronologies in your genealogy work.  Why not leave a comment to this article and let us know.

Happy hunting!


What I have been doing today:  reading through carefully the Civil War record and developing a table to understand the historical context.  I have a couple of people to find in Anna Oline Seim’s lineage and I suspect in a very quick time I will have what I am looking for.


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