07 February 2018

A Journal That Educates

The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) is likely the most prestigious journal in North America. Published by the society based in Washington, DC — yes, it's American-produced — it serves as a model for learning and writing ( Both readers and writers benefit from the published results. "The Q" is more than worth the price of membership, available in print or electronic form.

Each issue contains several articles describing how a genealogist identified an elusive ancestor or solved an intricate lineage problem. They are the type of research obstacles every family historian runs into sooner or later — missing records or missing names; too many "same name" occurrences or language or handwriting barriers.

In such case studies, the reader learns about detailed research processes or potentially new resources that could apply to his/her own research. The editors ensure a teaching medium that often traces family lines into their international origins. Skilled research methods transcend borders.

Writers who submit articles also learn. They understand it's a rigorous process, demonstrating the Genealogical Proof Standard. In fact, the editorial contribution is a master lesson in fashioning a "soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion based on the strongest available evidence." I know whereof I speak; working with the editors is like an advanced class in analysis and exposition.

The "Q" has a long history (since 1912) of being headed by distinguished editors; the appointment of new co-editors to take position in 2019 is no exception. Alison Hare CG® is a remarkable Canadian who has served nine years as a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). That service includes editorial assistance in various capacities and work on the standards manual committee, as well as chairing the NGS newsletter competition at times. She comes from a background of journalism experience and genealogical research in different regions.

To quote from the announcement in the NGS newsletter UpFront, Alison said, “NGSQ has played an important role in my personal development, inspiring me with its high quality and continual demonstration of approaches to solve genealogical problems. It is an unexpected honor to serve as its co-editor. Alison will meet the new challenge with her personally meticulous style.

Co-editor Nancy A. Peters, CG®, CGLSM, is from North Carolina, also a BCG trustee; as a professional genealogist, she has wide research, writing, and teaching experience. May both these special women find great inspiration in their predecessors and great satisfaction in shaping a new era next year.

Correction: Dyslexic blogger has corrected Alison's comment.

© 2018 Brenda Dougall Merriman