Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Coaching Lab: Forensic Genealogy from Inquiry to Affidavit

As part of my ongoing series where guest authors review courses from genealogy institutes, I welcome my friend Cari Taplin, CG with her take on the “The Coaching Lab: Forensic Genealogy from Inquiry to Affidavit” course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy from January 2017. 

“The Coaching Lab: Forensic Genealogy from Inquiry to Affidavit”

            Forensic genealogy is one of the most interesting and potentially rewarding niches in our profession. The course “The Coaching Lab: Forensic Genealogy from Inquiry to Affidavit” was an excellent course that took the students through the process of handling a forensic case from start to finish. The course was coordinated by Amber Goodpaster Tauscher and Catherine Desmarais, CG, with instruction also by Bethany Waterbury, Jerry Smith, CG, Judy Russell, CG, and Kelvin Meyers.

            The course began with what a typical day might look like from some practicing forensic genealogists, learned about how they work to attract clients, and discussed some tips for working with lawyers. This course also took the class through the process of building research reports and affidavits in great detail. Other topics we covered were on being expert witnesses, issues in real estate, mineral rights, and adoption cases. Tips on locating living people were also shared.

            This course was very helpful in that it demonstrated the nuts and bolts of forensic work in great details and took the students through a real case from start to finish. The main portion of the course focused on the actual creation of the forensic research report and affidavits. The instructors demonstrated several tricks designed to save time while also creating thorough reports. Templates were shared that the class customized for their own use. Then we used those custom templates to proceed through a case together, creating the report and affidavit as we worked. We also practiced how to create professional exhibits with labels and source citations.

            The class size was smaller than other institute courses typically are, but this allowed for a lot of in-class discussion, networking, and class bonding. Students in the class had adequate time to share their own experiences, ask detailed questions, and were given excellent answers from all of the instructors. This course was taught by a team of fantastic and fun practicing forensic genealogists from a wide variety of experiences who were more than generous with their knowledge, expertise, and professional tips.

—Cari A. Taplin, CG

Cari Taplin is related to Roy Rogers. Or at least that’s what her family told her. As a result, she has been working on finding her true heritage since the year 2000. She is a native of Wood County, Ohio but migrated to Wyoming, Colorado and now Pflugerville, Texas which is just outside Austin. Cari holds the Certified Genealogist® credential and has served in a wide variety of volunteer and leadership positions for several state, local, and national societies. She currently serves as the Education Chair for the Austin Genealogical Society, and on the boards of the Association for Professional Genealogists and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. As the owner of GenealogyPANTS, she provides speaking, research, and consultation services. Cari focuses on midwestern states, methodology and researching family legends. When she’s not working on her genealogy, she is a wife and mother of two/too cute kids.

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