6 Ways the Forensic Genealogy Master Practicum Will Advance Your Career


By Wanda Smith
Course Coordinator, Forensic Genealogy Master Practicum

If you’ve gotten a little complacent about your forensic genealogy business—or your business has stalled because you’ve been confused about how to move forward—the Master Practicum at the Forensic Genealogy Institute in March 2015 will hone your skills and reignite excitement about your business.

It’s also excellent preparation for anyone pursuing CAFG membership, wanting to move up a level in CAFG membership, and/or pursuing the professional Forensic Genealogist credential.

At the end of the Master Practicum’s 3 days, you will have created:

  • 3 professional forensic reports and/or affidavits for different types of forensic cases you may encounter
  • Templates for client contracts, customized to your needs or business
  • A variety of different report and affidavit templates that allow you to jump-start forensic projects
  • Fast and easy citation templates that are simple to drop into your reports and affidavits
  • Exhibit templates readily adaptable for reports and affidavits (we’ll cover how to produce professional, oversized exhibits for court)

Master Practicum registration is open at https://fgi2015.eventbrite.com.


Need more reasons to attend? Here are 6 ways the Master Practicum will advance your career:

1. Hands-on practice and guidance through 3 different forensic projects—in just 3 days.
This is an intensive course that will guide each student through three substantially different forensic projects from initial client interview through expert witness preparation and defense at trial. In the hands-on, interactive sessions, you will be taught by and work with top experts recognized in the field. You’ll create projects in collaboration with other attendees, and you will give and receive continual review to and critique from your professional peers.

2. Tools to conduct professional-level client interviews.
Observe and role-play in various client-interview situations. Learn what questions to ask a potential client to fully understand their expectations. Are you savvy and experienced enough to determine if a client lies or misleads you, hoping for specific finding in your report? Will you be needed to testify about your report or submit an affidavit? How (if at all) does a client want to be told about unexpected parentage or bad things about their ancestors? The instructors may pull some surprises on you, so expect some unusual and interesting clients to interview!

3. Applied training in managing complex international cases.
You will walk through managing a complicated case involving a number of countries, unusual sources, numerous international subcontractors, and documents in a variety of languages. Prepare to work with foreign contractors, often a very different process than working with US document pullers, and to locate a translator for a certified translation. Students will write an affidavit based on an actual international case.

4. Experience creating map layers and geo-reference plats that tie a client to a specific land grant.
Students will examine deeds from the early to mid-1800s, then figure out how to locate the legal descriptions and original land surveys from the Bureau of Land Management. Using those historic plats, you will create historic map layers and geo-reference the plats in Google Earth. Each student will write a forensic report using Google Earth exhibits and a variety of maps and documents tying the client to a specific land grant.

5. Familiarity using the new Genealogical Proof Standard to resolve identity and kinship.
You will work on a forensic case to resolve the identity and kinship involving an African American, fraud, and a mineral estate. Using the new Genealogical Proof Standards, students will write a short forensic report.

6. Practical preparation to testify as an expert witness.
An attorney with more than 25 years of litigation experience will lead you through what to expect at trial and how to prepare to be an expert witness. Then you’ll participate in a mock trial, overseen by an experienced sitting judge. Three volunteer students will be seated in the expert witness chair to defend the affidavits created earlier in the practicum. The entire class will sit as the jury and critique and review the witness’ performances.

Practicum survivors (whoops! I mean, students) will receive the Master Practicum certificate of completion. You’ll also have an unprecedented chance to mingle with other forensic genealogists working at the top of the field. Many of the instructors will be available for conversations throughout the 3-day seminar.

Ready to take on the Master Practicum? Register today at https://fgi2015.eventbrite.com.