Friday, October 9, 2015


Previous posts in this series:
Benchmarks – Part I
Benchmarks – Part II
Education – Foundational
Education – Intermediate

The first two aren’t educational opportunities per se but going through the process will be the best education you will probably ever get.

Both the BCG and ICAPGen have all kinds of resources that you can use to help bring your research skills up to the advanced level even if you don’t plan on actually submitting anything to them.

My portfolio for the BCG is over half done BUT I am having to take an extended break from it because I have a grandbaby on the way.  Family is always first for me and when my daughter goes back to work I will be watching the baby for her in addition to my full time job at Legacy.  It just isn’t in the cards for me right now but going through the process taught me a lot.  To see what is required, you can look at the BCG’s Application Guide. I already told you about BCG’s Standards Manual but you can also take a look at BCG’s Rubrics which is used to judge the portfolios. 

Another great advanced learning opportunity is submitting an article to a peer-reviewed journal such as the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), The Register (published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society),  The Record (published by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society), or The American Genealogist.  The editorial process can take up to a year depending on the article and the journal.  Each journal has its own style of what type of articles they accept and how they need to be submitted so your first step is to acquaint yourself with their submission guidelines. 

Here are two educational opportunities that are definitely on my bucket list. You can read descriptions of the courses on their websites.

Here are some new ones from Excelsior College that look VERY interesting. 

These have not been scheduled yet but I have put my name on the list.  It just so happens I received my bachelor’s degree in nursing from Excelsior so I am familiar with the school and they have an excellent reputation.  Since full descriptions of the courses aren’t available yet I don’t know what level these courses are but knowing the types of courses that Excelsior have these will be at the intermediate level at the very least.

There are A LOT of great webinars out there on specialized topics.  Cyndi’s List has a clearinghouse of Online Courses and Webinars you can take a look at.  Just make sure you vet the instructor so that you know the course is legit.

You can get CDs of presentations given at the national level by the top genealogists in the country/world.  This is a great way to take advantage of national conferences when you can’t travel.  My favorite source is JAMB Tapes, Inc.

I highly recommend that you keep track of your education.  I have a friend that designed a really cool form in MS Word that I use.  You could also use MS Excel or other spreadsheet program.  I would not only include the specifics of the course (name, date, location, description, cost) but also your personal evaluation of the course. 


Copyright © 2015 Michèle Simmons Lewis


  1. Glad to hear about your background with Excelsior College - I agree that these look interesting! I know that the Cold Case class will have Silvia Pettem as an instructor (the author of "Someone's Daughter: In Search of Justice for Jane Doe" - her Books page at )

    1. I am very excited about it. I have signed up to get more info and I am looking forward to that email :)

  2. Thank you, Michele for these posts as I am considering what move to make next in genealogy.