Friday, September 14, 2012

Portfolio Choices for BCG Certification, Part 1 of 5

When we start thinking about seeking certification from the Board for the Certification of Genealogists, one of the first things that comes up is our choices for the five items on which we choose to be evaluated: one document, one client report, one case study or complex-evidence proof argument, and one three-generation kinship determination project. What should we choose for each one? How can we even decide?

This intermediate level of thinking and worrying comes in between the decision to go for it or not and the level of generic tips and thoughts. And it's harder than it may look.

My thoughts here and elsewhere are unofficial, neither endorsed nor condemned by BCG as far as I know. And if you read anything here that contradicts the standards or the application guide or the judging rubrics, believe them and not me. (There is no surer guarantee of failure than to think you know more about what BCG wants than it does, or to think you're above following basic directions.)

In general, most of us want to choose the hardest problems that we can deal with well. Of course, that's tough to calibrate. If we already knew exactly what we could do well, we might feel less need to test ourselves against an objective standard!

There is an alternative view, based on the fact that BCG evaluation is pass-fail. If we meet the standards and rubrics, we pass. So we could just submit our regular work, not something "special." I have no quarrel with this, but I think it works better for those of us who are going through the process for the second time after having been turned down once. I had a much better grasp of the meaning of the requirements the second time around! Trying to calibrate just what meets requirements could also be difficult. We could fail by trying only to pass.

Another way to think about it is that a certification portfolio does not just reveal how many record types we know about, or whether we know what to do with them once we've got them. It also shows our underlying mindset, or disposition, or orientation. Do we care as much about how we get there as what we find out? Can we remember, and do, the right research thing at the end of a long day or a long project as surely as at the beginning? Professionals are people who can.

Tomorrow: the document (requirement #4).

Harold Henderson, "Portfolio Choices for BCG Certification, Part 1 of 5," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 14  September 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

1 comment:

Teresa Costa Fraser said...


Thanks for sharing this information. I look forward to readimg the rest of your articles on this topic.

Regards, Teresa Costa Fraser