I am also working on my portfolio for submission for certification for review by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG.) I hope to submit the portfolio during the Fall of 2016 after my Midwest driving/research trip.
You probably noticed, if you are a regular reader, the countdown clock now has enough months to get me to 2017. BCG allows you to be “on the clock” for 1 year, then you have to extend (pay $75). I have extended twice. I now have until 12 May 2017 to submit. Some things changed when I submitted because the “rules” changed. I must now keep the portfolio to less than 150 pages (shouldn’t be a problem) and instead of a resume, I have to report my learning activities with a short statement of what I learned. This will now be graded; whereas, the resume was not.
One of the requirments is to submit a real client report. I don’t take a lot of clients, but I had the opportunity to do so right before Christmas. We mutually agreed to wait until I returned from my driving vacation #1 to begin. Here are some observations after I have almost finished the report:
- I thought I had a couple of good reports in the bag that I could submit. I was wrong.
- BCG has a monthly webinar about the segments of the portfolio. Any one can listen in; they are outstanding. I was lucky. Right before I started writing this client report, Tom Jones gave a BCG webinar on writing a good client report! Lucky? You bet! Here are a few things I learned.
- Have a header on every page that identifies you so no page can “get away from you” without your authorship being attached to it
- A good client report starts with a good contract, which does not have to be long or formal. (look to ProGen for some more formal ones; they can be simpler.)
- Write your research plan with citations of where you are going to start.
- Write as you research
- Do a minimum of two client reports and then pick which one you think is the better. (I will do a second one in May.)
- Read the standards carefully–I think you almost have to “read between the lines,” but a genealogist who had done multiple reports, would probably call me to task and say that to him/her, the requirement was obvious! You can find the standards by which all portfolios are graded, on the BCG website, or you can click here.
- look at what the standards use as examples which are usually within parentheses. For example, standard 67, bullet no. 8, says you should include sources you researched that did not result in any findings….OK, got that. But it goes on to say “along with findings of direct, indirect and negative evidence…”  Hmmm. I will have to review what I have done to see if I am being consistent, not only in my vocabulary but also with where I apply the analysis of the source.
I hope these hints are helpful.
What I have done since the last posting: gave my first (and not my last) Legacy Software webinar on Fire Insurance Maps. The reviews were terrific and I was on “cloud 9” for two days–but, what are “clouds 1-8 about?” I worked on my client report and worked on the client report and worked on…you get the idea. I am now prepping for my NGS presentations. My next blog will probably describe how I do that.
 Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (Nashville: Ancestry.com, 2014), 39.
 Elgin watch, photo taken by Jill Morelli at the Elgin Historical Society, Elgin, Illinois, 2012.