My CG Renewal

Assessment of my portfolio’s Research Report against BCG’s Rubrics. Each colored column represents the evaluation of one judge.

Every five years, the credential awarded by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Certified Genealogist, is up for renewal. The submission of my initial portfolio was ridden with angst and personal doubt, and a residual worry lingered five years later! Usually, individuals celebrate for two days after receiving notice of the receipt of the credential and then start planning their renewal—and worrying!

I was no different.

The requirements for renewal are much less than the requirements for the initial portfolio, significantly reducing my worry factor. The number of documents is fewer (1-2 only); the work samples do not need to be complex; and the work product can be reviewed by someone else, opening up articles and the use of editors. You must identify your weaknesses from the judges’ comments from the initial portfolio and address them.[1] At least one submission must meet the Genealogical Proof Standard.[2]

The portfolio judges identified areas of weakness. My research report (done for a client) was very weak and it received the most yellow, indicating “partially meets standards.” (See image above)[3] In 2017 when I received the credential, I knew nothing about DNA. I spent the next five years taking classes in DNA and writing about 25 personal and client reports, honing my technique.

My renewal was composed of 4 documents:

  • A cover letter where I described the identified weaknesses from the portfolio comments and what my goals were to rectify them;
  • A genealogical resume which was arranged by weakness and included classes and self-education I had undertaken;
  • Work Sample 1: a personal research report identifying the parents of Kirstin Pehrsdotter, b. 1656, d. 1725 in Sweden.
  • Work Sample 2: an article which was published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in December of 2018 using DNA.[4]

Here are some of my take-aways from the process and my submission.

  • I had been sporadic about keeping.a record of my learning opportunities. I should have been more diligent recording the dates, name of the course and instructors. It was a pain to compile.
  • One of the two documents submitted had to represent reasonably exhaustive research. Both of my work samples did.
  • I woke up in the middle of the night a couple times wondering if I had really proven Kirstin’s parents. I would reassure myself with “Who else could it be?” and mentally “walked myself” through the evidence. Only one man was left standing and then I would go back to sleep. (See? It never stops.)
  • I had one other DNA article I could have used but it was also Swedish and I didn’t want to use two Swedish articles.
  • While the DNA article was older and didn’t need much work–it had already been reviewed by others, the RR hadn’t. I had written it about a year before and now I needed to polish it up and make sure all my citations were in order, etc. This took the longest–maybe a month.
  • I knew that submitting a DNA article and one using international records would slow down the judging process. I also knew that the BCG was getting a lot of portfolios to review. It took 5 months to review the two work samples.
  • I also submitted my application for Certified Genealogical Lecturer at the same time. Since you have to have your CG before you can submit for the CGL, I knew that if they waited and awarded both at the same time, there would be another delay. BCG did award them at the same time. I will blog about the CGL more in the future.

I am employing some new strategies for the next round in 2027. I am being more diligent in recording my educational opportunities. It is too early to identify a work product I will want to submit, but if I keep working, something will appear that will be a reasonable submission. But, there is also a good chance I won’t renew at all. I am of a “certain age” and it may not be worth it for me to do so. I have not been certified long enough to become a CG Retired.

In June of 2022, I was informed that my submission met standards and I was renewed as a Certified Genealogist for another five years! The judges’ comments were minimal—all green! Now my worry is what do I say about my weaknesses! 🙂 (not that I don’t have any…)

If you have questions, just ask!

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post: I am committing to blogging more. I find I enjoy it ….stay tuned. I have been working on my Applied Genealogy Institute class materials where I will be teaching “Write As You Research! A Methodology for Efficient Report Writing.” Check it out if you are interested in taking the course. I turned the research report into an article to the NGSQ and it was returned with comments. I made the revisions based on their peer reviewer’s comments, and sent it to two people to review before I send it back to the Q. I am co-chair of Seattle Genealogical Society‘s Centennial and it is starting to consume some time.

[1] For exact requirements see: Board for Certification of Genealogists, “The Renewal Application,” The BCG Application Guide 2021 Revised, (Washington DC : Board for Certification of Genealogists, 2021). The Application Guide is free for the download at
[2] —–, “Genealogy Standards, Second Edition Revised, (Nashville :, 2021) 1-2. This is the latest; when I submitted it had not yet been issued, but the revisions did not affect my work samples.
[3] This is a self-made Excel form I made shortly after receipt of my initial portfolio reflecting the BCG judges’ comments. It represents just the Research Report and the ratings of the three judges. Green is “meets standards” and yellow is “partially meets standards.” I did not receive any “does not meet standards.”
[4] Jill Morelli, “DNA Helps Identify “Molly” (Frisch/Lancour) Morelli’s Father,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly, 106 (December 2018):293-306.


2 comments on “My CG Renewal

  1. LisaGorrell says:

    The spreadsheet is a fantastic idea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s