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Professional Genealogy | ThinkGenealogy
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ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award #4

Saturday, 4 Jul 2009 | by Mark Tucker

Writing about this next innovation has been on my backlog for many months (at least 3). In a previous innovator award, I spotlighted one of the first genealogy software packages to support source citation templates following those found in Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  These templates help the beginning and professional genealogist to accurately cite sources as part of their effort to do professional-quality work.

As early as the 1997 book, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, Elizabeth Shown Mills has covered the topics of citation and analysis.  It is this second item, analysis, that is the focus of this innovator award. In Evidence! we start to see the formation of the current classification for sources (as original or derivative) and evidence (as direct or indirect).  The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual published in 2000 supports the classification of sources (as original or derivative), adds a classification for information (as primary or secondary), and continues the classification of evidence (as direct or indirect).  These classifications remained unchanged in Professional Genealogy which was published in 2001.  By 2006 as seen on quick sheet, Evidence Analysis: A Research Process Map by Elizabeth Shown Mills we see the formation of a new evidence classification so in addition to direct or indirect we can classify evidence as negative evidence.  When Evidence Explained was published in 2007 it restated these same classifications for sources (original or derivative), information (primary or secondary), and evidence (direct, indirect, or negative).

The winner of the next innovator award not only supports Evidence Explained citation templates but has coded these professional analysis practices into their software in a way that is approachable to all.  So a big congratulations goes out to Bruce Buzbee and his RootsMagic team!

Innovator Award - Thinker's PickRootsMagic logo

Let’s look at the implementation in more detail.

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ProGen Study Group #9

Wednesday, 4 Feb 2009 | by Mark Tucker

The ProGen Study group assignment for December 2008 was to simply read two chapters and then later talk about them with your group.  There was no practical assignment this month.

The chapters that we studied in Professional Genealogy were:

  • Chapter 19 - Genealogy Columns by Regina Hines Ellison, CGRS
  • Chapter 21 – Book and Media Reviews by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG

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ProGen Study Group #8

Tuesday, 3 Feb 2009 | by Mark Tucker

The ProGen Study Group assignment for November 2008  was about research.

Our reading assignment from Professional Genealogy was:

  • Chapter 15 - Research Procedures by Linda Woodward Geiger, CGRS, CGL

As professional genealogists we often specialize in a location, type of record, topic, or ethnic group.  We need to be knowledgeable and prepared before research begins and effective while researching.

This paragraph does a great job summarizing the chapter contents:

“Regardless of our specialty, effective research on any specific project comes from long-range preparation, followed by a literature survey and an actual on-site search.  This chapter provides strategies for identifying available resources, determining their locations, using electronic finding aids, and otherwise preparing ourselves before we arrive on site.  Finally, it offers suggestions for the research itself – both good work habits and goodwill builders.”

This chapter is also a helpful reminder to personal genealogists that preparation before research is important.

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ProGen Study Group #7

Tuesday, 3 Feb 2009 | by Mark Tucker

Oh how the months go by.  Back in October 2008, we completed ProGen Study group assignment #7 and I am just getting around to blogging about it.

The original plan was to cover Chapters 14 and 15 of ProGen, but that proved to be too big of an assignment, so we tackled only one chapter.

You can find this in Professional Genealogy in:

  • Chapter 14 - Problem Analysis and Research Plans by Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL, FASG

The chapter discusses two different types of analysis: preliminary and detailed.

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ProGen Study Group #6

Wednesday, 8 Oct 2008 | by Mark Tucker

This month the ProGen study groups studied a single topic: Time Management

You can find this in Professional Genealogy in:

  • Chapter 13 – Time Management by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG

A key paragraph at the beginning of the chapter states:

“Dozens of times each day we make decisions – consciously or unconsciously – to begin, continue, or terminate various activities. Many of the time management problems genealogists face do not have solutions, but if we recognize the problems, we can make more informed decisions.”

The rest of the chapter identifies and discusses 10 problems that genealogists face:

  1. Creating boundaries
  2. Identifying clients
  3. Organizing time
  4. Planning for unbillable time
  5. Cutting time waste
  6. Identifying procrastination
  7. Making time for growth
  8. Saying “no”
  9. Giving away time
  10. Controlling the inquiring mind

As an additional resource, we were encouraged to watch a time management lecture given by Professor Randy Pausch and review the accompanying PowerPoint slides (11 MB).  This lecture was given in 2007 after Randy knew he was dying of cancer. 

Also provided was a link to an article titled, “The Pickle Jar Theory.”   This reminded me a lot of the “big rocks” story from Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Practical Assignment

Our assignment this month was pretty straight forward 1) keep a time journal for a week, 2) identify time “thieves”, and 3) begin eliminating wasted time.

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ProGen Study Group #5

Tuesday, 7 Oct 2008 | by Mark Tucker

It is hard to believe that we have finished our fifth and now sixth month of the study group.  I am a little behind in reporting month five. Here is a link back to ProGen Study Group #4.

Our reading assignment from Professional Genealogy was:

  • Chapter 6 – Executing Contracts by Patricia Gilliam Hastings J.D.
  • Chapter 10 – Setting Realistic Fees by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking

In chapter 6, the author discusses the need for a contract and breaks it down into its essential elements.  The chapter gives two sample formal contracts for genealogical lecturing and research services.  As a less formal alternative, there is a sample agreement for genealogical research services in letter form.

In chapter 10 we read about the process of setting realistic fees:

  1. Identify annual salary needs
  2. Calculate annual expenses
  3. Set a profit margin over and above salary
  4. Determine billable hours
  5. Calculate hourly fee
  6. Evaluate and adjust

 

Practical Assignment

This month the assignment came in two parts:

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