Monday, March 20, 2017

2012 vs. 2016

You now know that my portfolio passed the Board for Certification of Genealogists but what most of you don’t know is this was my second attempt. I submitted my first portfolio in 2012 and it failed. It took me four years to get up the courage to go through the process again.

In 2012 I was confident that I would pass, too confident. That confidence was my downfall. When I received the judges’ comments I was mad, dejected, and embarrassed all rolled into one. It took some time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself. The judges had been right, I wasn’t ready for certification.

From 2012 to 2016 I took advantage of every learning opportunity I could and I made sure that I stayed up to date with current events within the genealogy community. After four years I finally had the courage to go through the process again. For those of you that don’t know, the process can take up to a year (longer if you ask for an extension) and then you wait for up to six months for your results. I wasn’t looking forward to that part of it.  Also, on a second attempt you are not allowed to use your previous work. You have to start over completely from scratch.

I am looking forward to seeing the judges’ comments.  I should be receiving them this week. I will be evaluating my weaknesses and creating an educational plan to address them. Even though I won’t be recertifying for five years you can bet I am already working on it.

Tomorrow I will post my best advice for those of you that are thinking about certification or are already “on the clock.”


  1. Congratulations! I am looking forward to reading about your insight on the certification process. I have been nervous about certification but finally bit the bullet. I'm on the clock this month.

  2. I'm sure you probably didn't mean to imply this, but I think some people could think that it only takes a year to do all the work needed for submitting a portfolio. A lot of us already had major portions of research completed before the year you can have from the time the preliminary application is submitted and the portfolio submitted. It probably is possible for someone to perform all the research and writing in the year, but it would take a lot of concerted effort with little distraction.

    1. Working on your portfolio before you formally apply can be a good strategy because after one year on the clock you have to apply for an extension which means you have to pay the application fee again.

  3. Michele, Thanks for sharing your story! I plan on becoming certified, but also have that fear of "failing" It's a good lesson to remember that it isn't "failing," but learning what you need to learn to do better. But, I sure can imagine it being hard to go through the process a second time! Again, congratulations on your certification!!!! That's HUGE! ((happy dance!))

  4. What a huge accomplishment whether it was the first or second try. Congratulations!

  5. Michele - you are not the first, nor the last genealogist whose portfolio did not pass the first time around. Congratulations for sticking with it and achieving the gold standard of genealogy - certification. If you're up to it, sharing some of the reasons why your portfolio didn't pass the first time would be so very helpful to those of us who are lurking in the shadows trying to muster up the courage to submit their portfolios. Again - Well done you! Congratulations!