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  • Writer's pictureKristin Wenger

NGSQ/MGP Study Group

As I mentioned in my last post, my spring calendar has been completely obliterated.

So how incredibly refreshing it was to find one appointment in my schedule that is continuing just as planned in its originally-intended format.

Part of my continuing education plan for 2020 is participation in the NGSQ/MGP Study Group facilitated by Cari Taplin, CG.

For those unfamiliar with those acronyms, that alphabet soup represents two publications: National Genealogical Society Quarterly and Mastering Genealogical Proof.

Multiple NGSQ study groups are available, but I appreciated the opportunity to combine the study of the authors’ research and writing methodologies with the additional focus on application of principles from Mastering Genealogical Proof by Tom Jones.

The monthly routine follows this format:

  • Read the selected article multiple times to note research methods, study citations, and evaluate evidence and logic. [1]

  • “Deconstruct” the case study using a standard analysis sheet. [2]

  • Consider and respond to additional questions posted by Cari (often incorporating MGP principles).

  • Discuss with the group via a monthly Zoom session.

This month’s assigned article was Mary Kircher Roddy, “John C. Ahern a.k.a. John Lockren of Sonoma and Alameda Counties, California: Who Were His Parents,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 107 (September 2019): 219–230.

Our discussion was a special treat because the author joined us and gave us a glimpse “behind the scenes.”

Mary Roddy shared insight into her years of research that went into the article. She also provided interesting perspective on the editorial process. Mary generously gave us access to two of her previous drafts of the same article to demonstrate how she made multiple revisions for publication. We had the unique opportunity to ask questions and Mary fielded them with both grace and enthusiasm.

In the midst of strange times and disruprted schedules, it was a pleasure to carry on with this discussion just as planned.

Photo note: I always try to include at least one photograph in my blog posts, and I discovered it's quite challenging to find an old family photograph of a study group! Why did I choose this one? It represents gathering to share. We may not be gathering around a table to share food anytime soon, but we can still gather online to share ideas, wisdom, and meaningful conversation!

Undated photo (circa 1920s) of a Landis family reunion in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

No names were recorded, but I think my great grandma Lizzie (Landis) Hornberger (1905-1975) is seated fifth from left.

[1] This method is based on William M. Litchman, “Teaching Analysis, Logic, and the Research Process: A Seminar Approach,”; accessed at University of New Mexico ( : 7 April 2020). [2] Based on Melissa Johnson, “What is an NGSQ Case Study?” NGS Monthly (February 2015), ( accessed 7 April 2020).


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