Thursday, October 25, 2012

Forensic Genealogy Institute - Day One

It has been a very full day here in Dallas. The morning started out with a Practicum Discussion presented by Cathi Desmarais. She presented a case to us with some pertinent information, which we then used in a work session to try and track down more information. The exercise was meant to illustrate a typical (more or less) type of forensic work that one would encounter.

After a break, Kelvin Meyers presented Overview and Introduction to Forensic Genealogy. This session covered all of the types of work that one would associate or encounter with forensic genealogy. He also discussed the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, what their objectives are, and what they hope to accomplish for the future.

The following two sessions were presented by Michael Ramage, Forensic Genealogy Fees and Contracts, Part 1 and Part 2. I have to admit I was a little cross eyed and my brain started to hurt during these sessions. As a genealogist, doing historical research on ones ancestors, you encounter legal terms and become familiar with... say inheritance laws in the 1800s, so that you can figure out what great great great granny was legally entitled to when her husband passed away. Today was focused on current laws, and legalese within a contract that you may have or in one you encounter. After all, one needs to know how to protect yourself in today's legal environment. There was quite a lengthy discussion on due diligence and on Champerty Laws.

Next, Dee Dee King and Cathi Desmarais presented Work Products and Client Documents. The title is fairly self explanatory. They showed us some of the work they have produced and gave us some examples of verbiage they have in their own contracts. There was also a discussion on research reports and submitting affidavits. I admit that it took me a little bit to figure out the difference. From my observation, the affidavit was more of a legal document that gave information trimmed down to pertinent facts pertaining to the case. A research report would have this information, plus any negative findings that you found, and it would not be a notarized/sworn statement. A research report has an appendix and an affidavit would have exhibits.

The final presentation was given by Leslie Lawson, titled Finding the Dead to Find the Living. This was an information packed session with many sites and links discussed. The main theme was how one would go about finding the living and what you do once they are found. She also used a case study to illustrate these points and stressed to become familiar with the resources in the states you are working with. At the closing of the session Leslie gave us some ideas on how to get practice using our new skills, or even better get work.

Before we left for the day, we traded business cards. Anytime you attend a conference or institute this is a great thing to do, especially if you are working within a professional capacity. Our dinner plans for tonight are Texas BBQ (yee haw!). Then I'm sure we will come back, collapse in exhaustion (happily), and get some rest for another information packed day.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Cinamon for sharing your conference experience! Look forward to hearing more.