Accredited Genealogists: By the Numbers!

statisticsIn a previous blog post, I crunched the numbers on individuals who certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. I thought it would be equally interesting to crunch some numbers related to the “density” of Accredited Genealogists from the International Commission for Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. The identification of AGs is by residence.[1]

If you decide you are interested in sharing this post, please do not copy the data, the bullets or the conclusions but rather link to this site. You are welcome to make your own observations and I would enjoy knowing what you think.

How I gathered the data:

  1. I took a count of all AGs on the website of the International Commission of Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).[2]
  2. I used the population numbers for the states from the 2010 U.S. census. [3]
  3. To make the results more understandable I based the numbers on 1M people of  the state’s population . To “read” the density numbers and using Utah as an example, 40.52 means there are 40.5 AGs (rounded) for each 1,000,000 people residing in the state of Utah in 2010.

Here are some interesting fun facts:

  1. Thirty-three states have no listed Accredited Genealogists.
  2. It is no surprise that Utah has the most AGs–112. The next two highest are Idaho with 6 and Virginia with five.
  3. The three states that have the highest density of AGs per 1M people are:
  • Utah                  40.52
  • Idaho                   3.82
  • Oregon                1.04
  1. The three states that have the lowest density of AGs per 1,000,000 population and which have at least 1 AG are:
  • Florida          0.0532
  • Ohio              0.0867
  • New York     0.1032
  1. The average number is 2.94 AGs per state (50).
  2. Removing Utah as an “outlier,” the average number of AGs per the remaining 49 states is .714 AGs per 1M population.

It is possible that not all AGs are listed on their website.

Hope you thought this was interesting! I did.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: traveled from Boston Logan to the Denver Airport to our condo outside of Silverthorne, CO. My “office window” (tip of the hat to Judy Russell) is of the Continental Divide. LOTS of snow for December.

[1] Note: AGs can specialize in an area other than where they reside. ICAPGen is a registered trademark.

[2] International Commission for Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, “Find an AG(r) Professional,” ( : accessed 20 December 2016). I clicked on each state noted and counted the numbers of certified individuals listed. Some states were not listed; I assumed their count of AGs was 0. Some states were listed but had no AGs.

[3] US Government, Census Office, “Population Distribution and Change, 2000 to 2010,” ( : accessed 19 December 2016) 2.



Certified Genealogists: By the Numbers

statisticsI thought it would be interesting to crunch some numbers related to the “density” of those individuals who hold the Certified Genealogist credential by state.

If you decide you are interested in sharing this post, please do not copy the data, the bullets or the conclusions but rather link to this site. You are welcome to make your own observations and I would enjoy knowing what you think.

How I gathered the data:

  1. I took a count of all Certified Genealogists (CG) on the website of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® (BCG).[1] I realize that some CGs elect to not post their information on the site which would warp the numbers downward. Should I get the  numbers I will correct and repost.
  2. I used the population numbers for the states from the 2010 census. [2]
  3. To make the results more understandable I based the numbers on 1M people of  the state’s population . To “read” the density numbers and using Delaware as an example, 7.796 means there are 7.8 CGs (rounded) for each 1,000,000 people in the state of Delaware in 2010.

Here are some interesting fun facts:

  1. Eight states have no listed Certified Genealogists on the BCG website: Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
  2. The states with the most CGs are California & Virginia (19 each), Utah (18), Massachusetts & New York (10 each).
  3. The five states that have the highest density of CGs per 1M people are:
  • Delaware                7.796
  • Utah                        6.513
  • DC                           4.986
  • New Hampshire   3.033
  • Maine                     3.011
    I thought it interesting that the “densest” state (Delaware) is ~2.5x more dense than the 5th. That is a big gap. It is no surprise to me that Utah and DC are as dense as they are. Obviously lower populated states have a bit of an advantage here.
  1. The five states that have the lowest density of CGs per 100,000 population and have at least 1 CG are:
  • Washington         0.149
  • Michigan              0.202
  • Louisiana             0.221
  • Oklahoma            0.267
  • Texas                    0.318
    Again I thought it interesting that the 5th least dense state (TX) is ~2x more dense than the lowest state (WA).
  1. Of course, I am very interested in the state of Washington as we recently “lost” a CG to Utah (50%). WA has the lowest density number of all states recording a CG—WA would have to increase its numbers of CGs to 51 to equal Delaware, the densest state! Washington would have to increase its number of CGs to 7 just to get to average!
  2. The average number of CGs per 50 states + DC is 4.22 CGs per state.
  3. The average density of CGs per all 50 states + DC is 1.08, or about 1 CG per 1M people.
  4. Colorado is most “average” of all the states at .99 per 1 M people.

Hope you thought this was interesting! I did.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: submitted an article to the Family History Writing contest; submitted my Case Study from my portfolio to NGSQ (it’s now out for peer review); and submitted lecture proposals to the Northwest Genealogical and to APC/Professional Management Conference for 2017. But most importantly, I attended (and had a very fun time) at the rehearsal dinner, the wedding and the dinner of my daughter to Michael Shannon in Boston! The bride was gorgeous. So much fun!

Note: Certified Genealogist is a registered trademark and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists ®, used under license by Board certificants who meet competency standards.

[1] US Government, Census Office, “Population Distribution and Change, 2000 to 2010,” ( : accessed 19 December 2016) 2.

[2] Board for Certification of Genealogists, “Find a Genealogist,” ( : accessed 19 December 2016). I inserted the code for each state and counted the numbers of certified individuals listed.

KDP Writing Weekend #1: How Did I Do?

2013 0818 writingIn looking back over this intensive writing weekend when I put in a minimum of 21 hours writing on my KDP, I discovered some new/old truths which may help others of you who are also procrastinating about certification….

Truth #1: starting is the hard part.  While I may not be having all the “fun” that Judy Russell did when she wrote her KDP, I did find it liberating to get started. (You can find her webinar by clicking here.)

Truth #2: Mix it up!  I did some reading, some writing, some citations until I found, I really wanted to tackle the genealogical proof summary–and so I did that all day Sunday.

Truth #3: Take breaks.  I didn’t take enough of them but should have taken a few more–maybe even a nap.  These can be as small as watering the plants (Lord knows they need it.) or going to a picnic. They were great ways to disengage the mind.  I even played a few computer games.

Truth #4:  Get some sleep.  I missed on this one.  I didn’t go to bed until 1:00 am most nights and woke up groggy the next mornings.

Truth #5: Take time to read the BCG Application Guide, to remind yourself of what you might have forgotten and re-read Genealogy Standards. (It’s just dawned on my that I don’t have the latest edition on my iPad.)

Truth #6:  Make sure you have Numbering Your Genealogy and Evidence Explained close at hand.  I cannot tell you how many times I opened both.  For a while I thought I was catching a breeze but it was only the fluttering pages of those two books! 🙂

Truth #7:  I stunned myself how organized I was when I first started researching my family. I have used Master Genealogist (sigh) since 2002, and my goal then, as it is now, is to find every source with the desired evidence within 20 seconds or less and I can!!  I found a critical 1978 letter that I forgot even existed — in 20 seconds.  Course, I also found that I had misfiled a probate file and now I have to go back and get it. Most of the sources I am missing, I never had.

Truth #8: Don’t store your BCG envelope next to a window.  It can get wet.  Luckily, none of the truly important stuff did–but still–where was my head?

Truth #9:  I found myself losing focus on Sunday at 8:30 pm.  So I quit and watched WDYTYA and went to bed.  It was time.

Truth #10:  Do it again!  The next KDP Writing Weekend #2 is scheduled for Labor Day.  3.5 days!  I don’t know if I can stay focused that long.  I may have to mix it up with some library work.  We’ll see.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  Well, you pretty well know, but I also structured the OGSA program for the 2016 conference in Excel and sent it off to the Board for their review, attended a PS-APG picnic, prepped my next presentation on “House Histories–Thank You Taxman!” for the Northwest Genealogical Conference (NwGC). I present on Saturday.  Saw a Call for Proposal that looked right for my librarian friend and I to apply for. (She and I have been looking for some time to find the right venue for us to present–we are going to sit down and brainstorm a presentation.)


The BCG Application Guide. Board for Certification of Genealogists: Washington, DC, 2011.

Board for Certification of Genealogists. Genealogy Standards. Nashville, Tennessee: Turner Publishing, Company, 2014.

Curran, Joan Ferris, Madilyn Coen Crane and John H. Wray. Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2008.

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: City History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Third edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015.

BCG Extension: oh, so easy; oh, so needed!

Clock 1I have missed a number of interim milestones in my plan to become certified genealogist through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). I had committed to using the entire 6 weeks following Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy (SLIG) in January to focus on my portfolio.  Didn’t happen! I think I might have spent 5 hours on it–maybe.  So….if you look at the calendar on the right it is now a year further out. And on the left is a beautiful Elgin watch on display in Elgin, Illinois.  It’s my symbol for being “on the clock!”

BCG certainly makes it easy to extend and I do not think I have met a person yet who didn’t extend at least once; some go through 3- one- year cycles.  I feel I am in good company. (rationalization #1)

I am the victim of my own lecturing success and have been developing presentations, syllabi and websites to support the lectures I give. (rationalization #2)

I am divesting myself of other tasks–I will no longer be on the Board of Seattle Genealogical Society, nor will I be their Publications Director after one more newsletter this April and one more Bulletin.  I have also turned down the City of Seattle and will not serve on the Pike Place Market Oversight Committee–which was a very tough “no!” (rationalization #3-too busy volunteering)

Working against me: I continue to be very aggressive in submitting to national, regional and local conferences and societies.  The latest submission is six proposals to the Ohio Genealogical Society for their 2016 conference in Mason, Ohio.  They turned me down last year, but my resume looks much better this year.  In addition, I have eight proposals into National Genealogical Society (2016, Ft. Lauderdale) and Federation of Genealogical Societies (2016, Illinois). Now, normally they do not pick all of them and in fact, I will be lucky if they pick one.  Presenting this June at Jamboree in Burbank, CA is a great boost–now I have to do a good job–er, “great job.” (rationalization #4)

I truly do need to refocus on the Case Study and the Kinship Determination Project (KDP), both significant papers.

So, wind the clock again and lets get started…but first I have to judge the Family History Writing contest submissions and lay out the newsletter and… and… 🙂

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post:  Thanks to all of you wishing me a successful outpatient surgery.  Everything went more than fine and exceeded my expectations by a significant amount!  I have been cleaning up a presentation on nonpopulation schedules after changed the method for accessing the records!  Lesson Learned:  ALWAYS review your presentation before you give it and compare it with reality–as reality changes. Has everyone been watching “Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies”?  If not, check out PBS.  I really thought the book was better than the series but one can also get bogged down in the book.

Observations: Judy Russell on the KDP

[Readers: I found this draft deep in the list of my blog postings and felt it still had some great content to share. I decided to update it and post it.]

elgin watchBeing “on the clock,” I decided it was prudent to listened to Judy Russell ‘s presentation on the writing of the Kinship Determination Project (KDP) given on 15 October 2014 and sponsored by BCG. [1]   (We who live on the west coast find the presentation time is right after work and so I had my ear buds in as I walked the mile to the bus stop only to find I had just missed the bus—but that’s another story.)

More importantly, I want to share a few major “take-aways” from her presentation on this major component of the portfolio.

One: Consider doing the report as a Lineage Narrative
That took about a nano-second to agree with this recommendation! I decided to write my KDP as a lineage narrative.  It is easier. The KDP is a narrative of three generations of a family.  A lineage format focuses on three generations and gives only the basic information about the siblings.  I really don’t know how I missed this–I usually take the path of least resistance.

Two: Look for the best stories
I looked at a fan chart of my family, drew circles around those family groups that might work (there were 4). I then placed all four into a possible outline and one family stood out.  My family is boring compared to Judy’s.  In my family, there is no gunfight at the Rhododendron Lodge; no one spent time in jail and no one was a Revolutionary soldier.  I am thinking about calling the narrative “Unexceptional Lives: Three Generations of _______”.  We would not make good reality TV material.  Thanks goodness.

Three: Get inspired!
Judy inspired me to work harder on the KDP which I will do. See KDP Writer’s Block Busted!, a previous post where I committed to writing 500 words per day.  I think in the past couple of weeks since that posting I have only missed one or two days at the most and some days certainly made up for the lack of writing on another day. I am committing to work on the KDP 6 hours each of Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  I do find, however, that the number of words is deceptive….I can spend an hour working on a few footnotes which amount to about 75 words.  So I am not devoting time, not word count—both important, but it depends on what you are doing.

Four: Have fun!
Judy kept exhorting us to “have fun.”   While I view writing the KDP only slightly above cleaning the bathtub, some have noted the bathtub cleaning is looking better and better!  I outlined the story and then write where I feel inspired to do so.  I am working on generation 3 now but this morning the introduction fell into place. The paper looks very chaotic and will probably get even more chaotic this long holiday weekend.

I am now putting some serious time toward the KDP.  And, amazingly enough–I am enjoying it–sort of.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  talked to my friend Michael Purcell who writes fictional mysteries and who is working on his second book.  I wanted to know about his process of idea generation and translating that into a book.  He is considering hiring a “book coach”.  I did not know such a person existed but it is logical that it does so.  We had fun brainstorming his next book.  We started with a common knowledge of a terrific boutique hotel called the Tabord Inn in DC.  We then brainstormed that something happened there.  It has to do with the Mayor of DC and some clandestine meetings involving his inappropriate use of funds.  (and if this sounds like reality for DC—it is!)

[1] The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) stated it will post these podcasts on line but to date they have not yet appeared. Keep checking their website.  I am sure it will be soon.  Two other presentations have been given:  Tom Jones on the new/old Standards Manual for Genealogists and Michael Hait on Probate records.  I missed Michael’s but caught Tom’s presentation.

What happened today?

(I started this blog posting on the ship.  Unfortunately, due to connectivity problems it did not get posted.)

We had two great days of presentations while we sailed from Skagway, Alaska, back to Seattle.

There were a couple of the presentations that warrant some comment and they may be of help to you.  (Note:  I asked the presenters if i could blog about their presentations and they gave approval.)  Here are my comments about Tom Jones’s presentation on the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).

In an early lecture, Dr. Jones mentioned that the BCG Standards Manual was being revised (1).  At a scheduled on-on-one session, I asked him the extent/type of changes that we might expect.  Dr. Jones stated that the changes were more clarifications of some concepts (2).

In a lecture later that week, Dr. Jones presented “This Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS): What It is and What It is Not,” and outlined specifically what constitutes “a reasonably exhaustive search.”  He made special note of the fact that the emphasis should not be on the phrase “exhaustive search” but rather on the word “reasonably”.  He pointed out that “overkill” was to be avoided.

He outlined six criteria:

“GPS Element 1–A reasonably exhaustive search:

  1. At least two independent sources in agreement
  2. All sources competent genealogists would examine (varies with time, place, and the research question and answer)
  3. Some primary information
  4. Some original sources
  5. Relevant derivative sources or secondary information replaced by findable corresponding originals and primary information
  6. All findable sources suggested by relevant sources databases and indexes.” (3)

My “takeaways” were:

  • Dr. Jones is defining for us what a “reasonably exhaustive search” constitutes, a discussion topic by genealogists for many years.
  • He may be “testing’ the standard before it is incorporated into the BCG certification criteria.
  • I could see that we may need to assess our sources in the reports we write for certification.  Perhaps this will take the form of an additional rubric or it might be an internal assessment within the report itself.
  • In a presentation later in the cruise and not yet presented at a national conference, “Overcoming Surprising Research Barriers: A Case Study,” he presented a methodology for the assessment of sources which was very helpful.
  • Researchers who wish to achieve a high standard of professionalism should not use transcribed indexes as the source, e.g. SSDI, CaDI, or many of the family search finds which do not have an image.  One must go to the source of information on the index if it exists.
  • Books should be considered “finding aids.”  When using a book as a source, we need to assess where the author obtained the information and go there instead.  (This also was stressed later in the week by Craig Scott in his “Brick Walls” sessions.)

This was one lecture on one day!  And the rest of the lectures were “chockablock” with info throughout.  I will blog about some of my other enlightenments I received on the way to and from Alaska in subsequent postings.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: Arrived in Seattle this morning, and was picked up by our neighbor and friend, Joan.  Very well coordinated exiting of 2500 people from a ship to the ground (an amazing feat).  I went to yoga but for some reason couldn’t do “tree” very well!  🙂 ; cleaned out the suitcase and petted the cat.  Did an BCG assessment of 5 client reports I have completed.  I will post that assessment and solicit your input in the coming few days.

(1) Lecture by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG (SM), CGL (SM), FASG, FUGA, FNGS,  (address withheld), “Missing Something?  Getting the Most out of Genealogical Evidence,” referring to the Board for Certification of Genealogists, The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual, (Orem, Utah: Ancestry,2000), 1a. 2012 Genealogy Conference and Cruise, 16-23 September 2012.  Syllabus held by Jill Morelli (address withheld).

(2) Interview with Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG (SM), CGL (SM), FASG, FUGA, FNGS, (address withheld), 2012 Genealogy Conference and Cruise, 20 September 2012.  Notes held by Jill Morelli (address withheld).

(3) Lecture by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG (SM), CGL (SM), FASG, FUGA, FNGS,  (address withheld), “The Genealogical Proof Standard: What It Is and What It Is Not,” 2012 Genealogy Conference and Cruise, 16-23 September 2012.  Syllabus held by Jill Morelli (address withheld).

That age old genealogy question….When is it proven?

That is my dilemma on the recently discovered possible second marriage of my great great grandmother.

While I was in Illinois this past week I was luck enough to carve out some time to do personal research.  I was in the Freeport Public library and the adjacent courthouse and county offices for 3.5 days.  Since I will probably never be back I tried to maximize my time!

Some background:

Ida/Eda Van Hoorn (b.1811, Ostfriesland, d. 1889, Iowa) married Siben (van) Berg(en) (b. 1811, Ostfriesland, d. 1858, Illinois) in 1838.  they had seven children.  The family immigrated in 1857 and that same year purchased a small parcel of property just outside of Freeport IL.  Siben died in 1858, leaving Ida with six children (one died in Ostfriesland) between the ages of 3 and 17.  I have a record of her joining the church in Silver Creek IL (nearby township) in 1863.  And the two daughters get married in IL in 1862 and 1863 respectively.

She cannot be found in the 1870 census.  She, under the name of Berg, and the rest of the family are all found in Iowa in the 1880 census.

Back to the present…..

I looked at the marriage indexes for Illinois for all Bergs and saw three, the two daughters and one for an “Ida Berg” and Frederick Eilers.  Is this my Ida Berg and a second marriage?

  • The name “Ida Berg” is relatively common in the Nordic countries but not so in the Ostfriesen community.  A look in the 1870 census index reveals no other Ida Berg in Stephenson county.
  • This Ida married a Frederick Eilers.  No previous record of Frederick has been found; no past record of Frederick has been found in IL.
  • The officiant of the wedding is Rev. Wm. Kampmeier.  The county history records him as the pastor of the Freeport German Reformed Church.  This was my Ida’s religion; however, the church no longer exists in the Freeport community. The Freeport German Reformed church was within walking distance to where Siben had bought land a few years prior and which Ida held until 1864 when it was sold under her own name of Berg.
  • The librarian and I researched the “genealogy” of the church and discovered that the “descendant” church is the St. John’s Presbyterian Church and which held the old records.  I made arrangements to visit, hoping that the church entry would contain more information (an age of the bride and groom would have been really nice!).  While ages were not given, there was the additional information stating the location of birth of the bride and groom.  Ida was recorded as being born in Ostfriesland!

The Genealogical Proof Standard (see below) states that one much conduct:

  • a reasonably exhaustive search;
  • complete and accurate source citations;
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information;
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

So far about all I can say I have done is started to do the search, the first bullet. There is a lot of information which does not exclude this person being “my” Ida but I am still not convinced.  I will continue to pursue this problem.  Some of the areas I will look will include:

  • Does she show up in the 1870 census under a married name? In Illinois or in Iowa?
  • Where is Fredrick before and after the marriage?
  • One daughter was married by a justice of the peace.  The other daughter was married by a pastor other than Wm. Kampmeier.  Since no records other than the marriage of Eiler and Berg were found at St. Johns, perhaps the family most normally attended a different reformed church?
  • Frederick did not own property in Stephenson County.  What was his trade?
  • Did Frederick die early?  Did he fight in the Civil War?

All are possible leads to pursue.  Your thoughts about other avenues to pursue would be appreciated.

But, first I have to file what I found and work on my client work!!

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post: gone to WW where I weighed in at goal for the month (a monumental task given that I was in IL for 10 days!), walked around Green Lake (3 mi.), made bacon and waffles for the family, our traditional Saturday morning meal and answered a couple of e-mails related to the conference.

* source: