Family History Research

ProGen Study Group December 2011 Update

Time flies when you are having fun! This fall has been a whirlwind of activity on all fronts. Business has picked up a lot with some exciting Chicago genealogy clients.  The boys have been busy in school and activities. I’m writing a new book to be released by April on Kids Genealogy. And I’m still finishing the NGS Home Study Course and ProGen.

ProGen has been very challenging this fall. We have delved into Research. This means conducting research, writing a plan and report. The members of my group all presented differing research reports. I learned so much from their layout and information included. There is not just one way to write a research report.

January focuses on proof summaries. I need to figure out what I’ll write mine on. I’ll let you know how that goes. April concludes the ProGen Study Group for me. Seems like the time flew by!

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Military Monday – NGS HSC Lesson 14

I continue to work my way through the graded version of the NGS Home Study Course and am getting closer to reaching my goal of completing it by April 1, 2012. ProGen ends in April and my plan is to finish both and begin focusing on certification.

Today I submitted Lesson 14 on Military Records. I learned some new things about pre-Civil War records which is very helpful considering my newest clients have families that go back that far.

My assignments were to first choose one of my grandfathers and create a list of all wars he could have participated in during his lifetime. Then list all his known male ancestors and the wars they may have participated in during their lifetimes starting with the Revolutionary War and working forward. That part of my assignment was super short. My grandfather on my mom’s side was an immigrant and didn’t serve. I didn’t even list him. I listed my paternal grandfather who was a first generation Bohemian-American. He served in World War II in the Naval Armed Guard. His father was the immigrant and could have served in World War I. End of assignment one.  I have pretty short roots on most of my lines here in America.

Assignment two allowed me to compare and contrast a World War I Draft Registration Card to a World War II Card. I used my great grandfather, Joseph Kokoska for this assignment. The one big informational difference between the two cards was his address. Pretty much everything else, even his occupation and place of employment remained the same.

At this point I have six lessons left to complete. Lesson 6 on marriage and Lesson 10 on local land records I will partially finish next week and read those lessons. I need to visit repositories to complete one section of each lesson and will do that so I can submit both lessons by September 5 before I go to FGS.

I’m still transcribing the 1910 U.S. Census for Joseph Kokoska for lesson 11 and that is only one part of that assignment. My goal is to finish that by October 1 along with Lesson 7, Church Records.

Lesson 15, Kinship will take a while so my goal is December 1 submission. Then when I receive the word it is complete I’ll start Lesson 16, Biography which I plan to finish by April 1. If I reach my goal it will have taken me almost a year and a half to work through all three CDs.  Gosh time flies when you are having fun!

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Motivation Monday – Going for Certification

Michael Hait wrote some very interesting posts recently called, How Not to Become Certified, part one and part two. Today’s post, So, Are You Ready for Certification? was an interesting read also.

Last summer when I started my genealogy business, Generations, I thought I was ready for certification. I got the application guide and started working through some of the pieces. I quickly realized I needed more client work and education behind me or I would fail miserably.

Here I am one year later with almost two of the NGS Home Study Course CDs finished and the third on its way, I’m over half finished with the ProGen Study Group, and increased my conference and meeting attendance over the last year. I even published a book and have had several articles published in a couple of journals and magazines.

Am I ready for certification today? No but I’m closer than last year. I downloaded the updated BCG guide to review over the coming weeks. I plan to seriously look at the process, what is required and make a plan to start the work. ProGen ends in April and I plan to complete the NGS HSC by then as well. Both plus all my client work will put me in a much stronger position to work on the portfolio starting next summer.

I plan to be one of those names you see on the certification list for Illinois. Right now there are eight listed. Will I succeed the first try? I hope so, but if not, Michael Hait has given me a lot to think about if I am rejected. It isn’t failing, but a major learning experience that will only help me grow as a researcher. I am a lot less afraid to give this a try in the spring than I was. Thanks Michael for being so honest about what you went through to achieve certification!

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June ProGen Study Group Update

I’m still feeling a little out of sorts even after being home a week. Still getting caught up on things. ProGen keeps moving along though and that is one thing I have focused on the past week.

Our May assignment was to read about Accreditation and Certification. Our practical assignment was to use the transcript of a document we created in April and submit a statement identifying a research focus. Then we analyzed the data and created a research plan.

Now that June has arrived we are learning about Evidence Analysis. We read a chapter in the Professional Genealogy book and Chapter 1 of Evidence Explained.  My reading is done but I need to work on the assignment which is to select an individual I have been researching and list documents I have for that individual and my analysis of those documents. We will write proof arguments in the future.

I may select James Shannon, a man I have been working on for a friend. I found a lot of information on his family while I was in Missouri in May. It will be exciting and maybe I’ll discover something I overlooked in my initial research and review of documents.

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