[APG Public List] Forensic Genealogy

Alvie L Davidson floridasearch at verizon.net
Fri Jan 21 01:37:11 MST 2011

Good morning Elizabeth, et al  <g>
There was a huge winter thunderstorm woke me this morning so I said why try
to go back to bed.  Here I am reading email and found your latest are
somehow being dumped into my Junk Mail folder.
After reading it I wanted to make a comment to your entry into this thread.
I do a load of "forensic genealogy" for attorneys and real estate title
companies.  The comment I wanted to make is that most of them are surprised
as to how much "in-depth" my research goes and how diligent I am toward
offer strong proof evidence.  They said they had never had any researcher
offer sometimes a second level of evidence where the first document might
appear a bit weak.  I told them that I just wanted to make sure that
Circuit Judge did not reject my report when his judicial assistant (JA)
reads it and writes his/her report for the court.
I recently worked on the family genealogy of a lady who died in Tampa and
she was supposed to have no family.  She was the baby daughter and last
child in a family of 9 children.  Two children had no lineal descendants but
the other six left a total of 41 heirs.  Sad part about all this is that the
estate was only $30,000.00.  No matter how much money was left, the proper
and correct heirs-at-law need to be proven.
Love my work.  Hope to see you in Birmingham.

Alvie L. Davidson 
Lakeland, FL 

-----Original Message-----
From: apgpubliclist-bounces+floridasearch=verizon.net at apgen.org
[mailto:apgpubliclist-bounces+floridasearch=verizon.net at apgen.org] On Behalf
Of eshown at comcast.net
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 7:19 PM
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Forensic Genealogy

Leslie wrote:
>One of the lead supervisors for a project being done by the City of 
contacted me this morning with a problem.  She has contacted me in the past
for advice on various matters for finding family members the city would like
to contact - but this time, she had a request that I didn't have an answer
for.  Well, I thought, I should just post it to the APG list, and I KNOW
someone there will have the answer.  So here goes:

>Where does one get certification for the title of Forensic Genealogist?  
have checked the BCG page and there is really nothing there that helped... I
know that there are forensic genealogists out there that do this kind of
thing for lawyers and such, but I am stumped as to how you get that
professional title (what schooling is involved and where?) - if it is even a
title - and what would the post nominal be?

Leslie, those who earn the credential Certified Genealogist (granted by the
D. C. based Board for Certification of Genealogists) must demonstrate
significant skill in four areas:
1. problem analysis and problem *resolution* 2. research (i.e., expertise
with both sources and methodology) 3. evidence evaluation (thoroughly
grounded in evidentiary distinctions that hold up in a court of law) 4.
reporting (specifically, the ability to present findings and build cases)

Successful applicants demonstrate these skills through projects that focus
upon the geographic or subject area in which they specialize, projects that
are expected to reflect a knowledge of the law that governed each legal

The term "forensic genealogist" is one that embraces a variety of
activities. Some track living individuals but are never called upon to
appear in court as an expert witness. Others are called upon to build cases
for identity, kinship, and legitimacy and to defend on the stand. Depending
upon the region in which they work, they may need a knowledge of other
languages, as well as local judicial preferences for the style in which they
report their findings. 

In any case, their effectiveness to attorneys and the courts depends upon
their skills in those four core areas in which Board-certified genealogists
are tested.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
BCG Outreach Committee
(And a court-approved "expert witness" with a successful track record,
although I do not advertise as a "Forensic Genealogist")

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