2023 Virtual Academy

Course Information

DNA Dreamers in Action: Writing Proof Arguments

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CGThis course’s objective is for students to craft a genealogical proof argument demonstrating that a conclusion about a genetic relationship meets the Genealogical Proof Standard. Genealogical proof arguments are complex source-cited narratives that explain the evidence and reasoning that support a conclusion. When the conclusion addresses a genetic relationship, the proof argument discusses and integrates DNA evidence with evidence from documentary research. A convincing proof argument details the evidence in a meaningful and organized sequence. Proof arguments incorporating DNA evidence include reader-friendly tables and figures showing how numerical DNA data do—or do not—help support hypotheses about genetic relationships.

This hands-on course is designed for those students who have completed research about a biological relationship and now wish to “write it up” into a polished complex proof argument. We will study examples and principles in the morning. Students will have the opportunity to incorporate the morning’s learning into their own proof arguments during private writing time in the afternoon and as homework. Faculty will be available during afternoon private writing time for consultation. Each day concludes with a paired peer review experience.

Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy

Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CG

Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CGCome explore your potential role in the fast-growing field of forensic genealogy. The instructors—all experienced, practicing forensic genealogists—will introduce students to a broad spectrum of topics. The first class each week will be spent exploring business practices, work products and skill development, and the second class will delve into the types of work in which forensic genealogists engage. Homework and social media discussions between sessions will strengthen the learning. Students will learn the fundamental skills needed to establish or strengthen their own forensic genealogy practice.

The Art of Writing Client Reports

Angela Packer McGhie, CG

Angela Packer McGhie, CGWriting effective research reports can be a difficult skill to master. This course will provide instruction and hands-on experience creating each section of a report. A team of professional genealogists will share their expertise in technical writing, evidence analysis, incorporating visual elements, organizing material, time-saving strategies, and documentation. They will share examples of a variety of reporting formats covering simple to complex research problems from a variety of professional perspectives. Participants will learn both by evaluating provided reports and writing a research report during the week. Students should bring a laptop to work on practice exercises in class and complete writing assignments.

Writing and Documenting for Peer Review

Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, FUGA

Peer review is an essential element of every academic pursuit, including genealogy. The vetting of articles and other work products ensures that the author or applicant is conforming to standards dictated by that discipline. Within the field of genealogy, our scholarly journals present peer-reviewed written work adhering to best practices and genealogy standards. Peer reviewers/judges for our credentialing bodies—the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Genealogists (ICAPGen)—determine whether our knowledge, our analysis, and final products demonstrate consistent high-quality work. Study groups and writing groups present us with opportunities to act as peer reviewers ourselves. This course will examine the peer-review system from several angles, arming students with the tools and knowledge they need to achieve success.