Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review of "Writing Logical Proof Arguments" Course by Michael Hait

As a part of my ongoing series featuring guest authors' reviews of genealogical institute courses, my friend Patricia McIntyre shares her experiences with the "Writing Logical Proof Arguments" course at the Virtual Institute of Genealogy Research.

REVIEW of "Writing Logical Proof Arguments." By Michael Hait, CG. 1 & 8 November 2014. Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research (

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research

Yet another opportunity has come forth to become a more educated genealogist. Imagine attending a genealogical institute with four 90-minute lectures by a noted expert on the topic, complete with syllabus materials and a recording of each lecture. Now imagine having all of this in the comfort and convenience of your own home. No travel and hotel costs included. This is the objective of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research, found at

The Virtual Institute is newly formed and has webinar-style classes in a variety of topics that are scheduled through September of 2015 at the time of this writing. J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, will present the next institute series titled, “Preparing the Field: Understanding the Agricultural Records of our Ancestors.” This particular institute will be held on the 24th and 31st of January 2015. Others are scheduled on an almost monthly timetable. Besides Mark Lowe, presenters include Maureen Taylor, Donna Moughty, Blaine Bettinger, Billie Stone Fogarty and Rick Fogarty, Melanie Holtz and Melissa Johnson, Paul Milner, and Angela Packer McGhie.

The home page for the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research promotes that each institute course will include six hours of instruction, syllabus material, “practical exercises,” and a personal copy of the recordings of the classes for use afterwards. This would be helpful if you have to miss a session or if you would like to study the material again. The Virtual Institute courses are priced at $69.99. For many of us who are used to free webinars, this may seem a little steep. But, if you have ever traveled for training at an institute or conference to be taught by experts of their field, this is very reasonable, not to mention convenient.

Writing Logical Proof Arguments

The first offering by the Virtual Institute was presented by Michael Hait, CG, and titled “Writing Logical Proof Arguments.” The course was broken down into four 90-minute classes. The first, “Principles of Logic and Arguments,” blended the Genealogical Proof Standard element of “a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion based on the strongest available evidence” and the philosophical style of arguments, not to be confused with what we as genealogists commonly call proof arguments.[1] Michael taught us, in a very understandable format, the standard argument form, what a complex argument consisted of, and the difference between a deductive and inductive argument. Next, he moved on to the types of inductive arguments and what were considered logical fallacies. All the while, Michael related this knowledge to genealogical proof and the GPS.

The second class, “Dissecting a Published Proof Argument,” used an article that Michael Hait had authored and had been published in the NGSQ called “Parents for Thomas Burgan of Baltimore County, Maryland,” (National Genealogical Society Quarterly 101 (2013): 19-33.) We had all been asked after registration to read and become familiar with the article. During the class, we were able to analyze the premises that were formed to lead to the conclusions. Individuals in the class were given time to ask questions using the “Go To Meeting” format.

During the week, between the two sessions, we were given homework using evidence that Michael had gathered on a particular family. We were to use what we had learned in the first two classes and develop one proof statement and one proof summary. The exercise was beneficial and helped solidify the new concepts of logical thinking. As with most educational experiences, the more you put into it, the more you benefit.

The next Saturday, the classes were “Turning Evidence into a Logical Argument” and “Putting Your Argument into Writing.” The instructor used the homework assignment to show us his method of organizing the premises or evidence to come to conclusions, which when built one upon another, become the coherently written conclusion that is a part of the GPS. The last class of the course gave examples of different forms of genealogical writing, where to find examples of those forms, and some principles of good composition and writing. Michael Hait used The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White as a resource for this information.

At the conclusion of the classes, I felt that my participation in the institute course had been time and money well spent. Michael Hait had taught me a new way to look at proof arguments and proof summaries using logical thinking. As I read my next NGSQ article, I was able to see the premises and conclusions built one on another. A new sense of literary construction was understood – a light bulb moment, if you will. I had hoped for more time spent on the actual process of writing of the article and organization of it, but came away having learned something far more important. I would urge any genealogist who wants to learn – which should be everyone - to check out the new offerings on the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research website.

Patricia McIntyre
Professional Genealogist & Consultant
Linked2Ancestors LLC

[1] Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards, 50th anniversary edition (Nashville, Tennessee:, 2014), 1-2.

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Openings in Genetic Genealogy and Advanced Practicum Courses at SLIG

Right now is the time to get your foot in the door at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy! Due to cancellations there is space available in three of the previously sold out courses, including:

Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG (four spots available)
Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum with Angela McGhie and Kimberly Powell (three spots available)
Advanced German Research with Warren Bittner, CG (one spot available)

If you are interested in registering for fany of these courses please contact Valerie Hansen, the SLIG Registrar, at

There is also space available in the following courses, and you can register for these on the SLIG registration website:

Finding Immigrant Origins with David Ouimette, CG
Research in Original Source Repositories with John Colletta, PhD
Resources and Strategies for U.S. Research with Paula Stuart Warren, CG

For more information on the courses see the 2015 SLIG Tracks.
For more information on the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy see the main SLIG page.

NOTE on all genealogy institutes:
If there is a course that you are very interested in at a genealogy institute, even one of those that sold out in under 20 minutes, put your name on the waiting list. Almost every year spots open up in the courses as some people have conflicts arise and need to cancel their travel plans. During the last two months before the institute begins there is shifting and openings and those on the waiting lists often get in the courses they want. Some people register for another course and plan to travel to the institute anyway, and at the last minute get into the course that is their first choice.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Virtual PMC -- APG Opens Registration to Participate Online

I was excited to receive the following press release, as I appreciate it when organizations make their conference content available to those who are not able to travel and participate. I will definitely go to the APG PMC and participate in person whenever I can, as I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to network with colleagues, but I also would want to benefit the the presentations in years that I am not able to travel. This year there are a variety of Virtual PMC options where you can sign up for the full conference, one day, or even one presentation. Read on for all the details.


Virtual PMC 2015 Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for the 2015 Virtual Professional Management Conference at

The largest Virtual PMC to date offers TWO full days -- that's 9 total sessions -- of PMC's must-have instruction streamed live to your computer or mobile device. Choose from the full Virtual PMC line up, one-day only, or individual sessions. All registrations include 3-month's access to recordings of the same sessions!


Thursday, 8 January 2015
10:45-11:45am MST -- Taxes and the Professional Genealogist, James M. Beidler
1:15-2:15pm MST -- Finding the Law, Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL
3:00-4:00pm MST -- Mind Maps for Genealogy, Ron Arons, MBA
4:15-5:15pm MST-- DNA and Genealogical Proof, Angie Bush, MS

Friday, 9 January 2015
8:15-9:15am MST -- Get Paid for Your Passion: Setting Fees, Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL
9:30-10:30am MST -- Finding Your Niche: Matching Passion, Professionalism & Pecuniary Interest, James M. Beidler
10:45-11:45am MST -- How to Have Difficult Conversations with Clients and Colleagues, Christina Grover
1:15-2:15pm MST -- Time Management: Successfully Balancing the Demands of Our Many "Clients," Angela Packer McGhie
3:00-5:15pm MST -- Genealogy Professionals Needed: Help Adoptees Discover their Genealogical Roots with DNA (workshop), CeCe Moore

Visit for class descriptions and speaker bios.

Register now for Virtual PMC 2015 at


Create a Virtual PMC package to meet your development needs! Choose from full-conference or single-day options or select only the individual sessions that you want to view. You will receive access to the live streaming of the sessions you register for as well as 3-months' access to recordings of those same session. (Recordings will be available online beginning 5 February 2015.)

The Virtual PMC 2015 registration packages are:

Full VPMC -- Thursday and Friday
Gives you access to all 9 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Thursday 8 January 2015 and Friday 9 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 9 sessions.

Thursday Only
Get access to the 4 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Thursday 8 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 4 sessions.

Friday Only
Access to the 5 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Friday 9 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 5 sessions.

DNA Bundle
Gives you access to Angie Bush's "DNA and Genealogical Proof" on Thursday, January 8, and CeCe Moore's "Genealogy Professionals Needed: Help Adoptees Discover Their Genealogical Roots with DNA" workshop on Friday, January 9, syllabus materials for both presentations, and 3 months of access to the recordings of the 2 sessions.

Live Streaming of Individual Sessions
Receive access to the live stream of a specific individual session, syllabus materials for the individual session, and 3 months of access to the recording of the individual session.

PMC Digital Syllabus
You can also purchase a downloadable version of the PMC 2015 Syllabus. The syllabus is available only with a purchase of a VPMC session or bundle. Some VPMC registrations include a full digital syllabus, see descriptions above. Please note that download is not immediate, a link will be sent to you via email.

Register for Virtual PMC today at

Virtual PMC registration is a benefit of APG membership and is open only to members of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Virtual PMC registration closes 6 January 2015.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

APG Offers Discount on New Membership and PMC

Register Now: APG PMC
                       8–9 January 2015, Salt Lake City

Association of Professional Genealogists Offers Limited-Time Discount on New Membership and PMC Registration

Unique, Professionally-Focused Educational and Networking Opportunity for Those Interested in Genealogy; Savings for New Registrations Runs One Week Only

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 22 October 2014 −The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) today announced a discounted, limited-time bundle that includes 1-year membership in APG and registration to APG’s Professional Management Conference (PMC) being held in January 2015. This week onlyWednesday 22 October to Wednesday, 29 October 2014registrants can receive a new APG membership plus full-conference registration for PMC for $245, which is $20 off the cost if purchased separately.

Themed “Professional-Grade Genealogy,” the conference will be held 89 January 2015 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Register for this special bundle at

“Membership in the Association of Professional Genealogists is key to the educational and networking needs of professional genealogists,” said APG President Kimberly Powell. “APG’s Professional Management Conference pairs advanced lectures with unique networking opportunities, appealing to the needs of professionals of all skill levels. If you’re new to professional genealogy or know someone interested in APG membership, this week’s offer makes now an excellent time to join.”

PMC 2015 – A Must-Attend Event
The 2015 PMC is the only genealogical conference focused on providing professional genealogists with opportunities for networking, advanced education, and professional and business development:

  • Keynote by Tim Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of, who brings a unique perspective on business, genealogy, and the professional genealogists’ vital role in the industry. Ancestry ProGenealogists is a Diamond-Level PMC sponsor.
  • 15 breakout sessions offer training on key topics for professional genealogists: DNA, time management, genealogical standards, citation writing, having difficult conversations, setting fees, adoption research, and professional writing and speaking.
  • Lunch with FamilySearch's Chief Genealogical Officer, David Rencher, AG, CG. PMC Diamond-Level sponsor FamilySearch is supplementing the cost of lunch on Thursday, 8 January -- making this plated lunch just $10 per person! Seats are limited and open only to PMC registrants.
  • New in 2015, PMC Poster Sessions offer one-of-a-kind networking opportunities by providing PMC attendees with an informal, interactive opportunity to showcase research, share work, and exchange ideas.
  • Complimentary attendee-benefits from PMC Platinum-Level sponsors: One-year subscription to online data-backup service BackBlaze (value $50). Registration to online course “Business Skills: Business Administration” from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies ($89 value). 
  • The annual APG member meeting and the complimentary APG reception.
  • And MUCH more!

Register today for PMC 2015 and a 1-year APG membership at The website also includes full conference details, class descriptions, speaker bios and more.

The new-member-and-PMC-registration offer will run from 22—29 October 2014 and applies only to applicants who are not currently members of APG (and/or have not been for the past two years). Applicants must sign up for APG membership and a full PMC registration to receive the discount.

Breakout Sessions Will Include:

Thomas Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS—You’ve Got Options: Many Ways to Cite Right (3-hour workshop)

Angie Bush, MS—DNA and Genealogical Proof

CeCe Moore—Genealogy Professionals Needed: How Adoptees Discover their Genealogical Roots (2-hour workshop)

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL—Finding the Law

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL—(1) Measuring Yourself against Standards: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Skills (2-hour workshop) and (2) Get Paid for Your Passion: Setting Fees

Angela Packer McGhie—Time Management: Successfully Balancing the Demands of Our Many "Clients"

Kimberly Powell—Organizing Your Research and Writing with Scrivener

James M. Beidler—(1) Finding Your Niche: Matching Passion, Professionalism, and Pecuniary Interest
 and (2) Taxes and the Professional Genealogist

Anastasia Harman—Professional Writing Foundations: 5 Ways to Improve Your Writing Today (2-hour workshop)

Ron Arons, MBA—Mind Maps for Genealogy

Thomas MacEntee—Self-Publishing for Genealogists

Billie Stone Fogarty, MEd—So You Want to be a Genealogical Speaker

Christina Grover—How to Have Difficult Conversations with Clients and Colleagues

About the Association of Professional Genealogists
The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents more than 2,700 genealogists, librarians, writers, editors, historians, instructors, booksellers, publishers and others involved in genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy and history. Its members represent all fifty states, Canada and thirty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter ( and Facebook (

Media Contacts:
Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG
Executive Director
Association of Professional Genealogists
P.O. Box 535, Wheat Ridge, CO 80034-0535
Phone: +1-303-465-6980

Corey Oiesen
Communications Officer
Association of Professional Genealogists

APG is a registered trademark of the Association of Professional Genealogists. All other trade and service marks are property of their respective owners.