My Path to Certification – Issue No. 7

Another month gone…not much writing done, but some serious research accomplished. Hopefully over the next month (and holidays), I will find a stretch of time to do some serious writing.

California State Capital, Sacramento, 2017

I’ve been chasing information for my proof argument instead of my KDP this month. Additionally, I am looking for a good document to transcribe for Part 4: Document Work (Applicant-Supplied Document). Two years ago at Jamboree, when the BCG had a table in the vendor hall with portfolios, I was able to talk to several certified genealogists at length. One of my takeaways was that most portfolios do not feature cases from the western United States. My family waited until the 20th century to migrate to California, providing me with little reason to learn much of California’s rich history and how to access the documents. However, I live and work in California. While volunteering at the library the past few years, I have helped many patrons with California-rich family histories. California has an estimated population of almost 40 million people, ranking her as the most populous state in the nation. Currently, only 15 certified genealogists live in California. There are fewer than 250 certified genealogists around the world, the vast majority from the United States. Hopefully, in the next few years, the number of certified genealogists in California will increase. While I would like to count myself in this group, I know several outstanding genealogists in California who are also working toward this goal as well.

For my document work, I want to highlight someone local, plus learn a little more about the people who founded my city/county. I live in a suburb of Sacramento. We have several small and old cemeteries, the resting places of some well-known historical figures. Elitha (Donner) McCoon Wilder was one of the surviving children of the tragic Donner Party. Our school district named an elementary school for her. Alexander H. Willard is believed to be last surviving member of Lewis and Clark’s expedition when he died in 1865. He, too, ended up in my town, buried next to another elementary school and the roller skating rink. Many of our early citizens (of European ancestry) came west during the gold rush and stayed on as farmers and ranchers.

William McGraw, c1870

One of the tasks I “completed” this month was tracing the ownership of several parcels of land for my proof argument. I used a combination of original land grants, county land deeds, and a county plat book to determine when my ancestor acquired and sold a particular 40 acre plot of land. Understanding the United States government’s system of townships and ranges and how land was divided and distributed during the 19th century is essential for genealogists. For example [Note: this is not the problem I am using for my proof argument], my ancestor William McGraw married a woman named Martha Higgins. I have no direct evidence of her parents’ identities. However, William purchased a parcel a land adjoining a parcel owned by Jonathan Higgins around the time of his marriage to Martha. The location of the land and the Higgins surname provide indirect evidence of a connection between William, Martha and Jonathan. This evidence would prompt me to research Jonathan Higgins further and determine if there is a connection between him and Martha. Without knowing the physical proximity of these people to one another, I might miss a valuable clue to their relationships and identities. Being a visual person, I also like to look at maps (and draw my own) to see how close people lived to one another.

Another project I have been working on this month is obtaining permission from living persons. Any information that I include about living people in any of the part of my portfolio, I must obtain permission from them. For example, I potentially wish to include some of my DNA research in one of the papers. I must obtain permission from everyone whose DNA I reference. Additionally, one element of the portfolio is a client report. Permission from the client must also be granted before inclusion in the portfolio.

Happy Holidays and happy hunting!

©2017 copyright owned by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2017/11/20/my-path-to-certification-issue-no-7/

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