Program Description


The ProGen Practicum is a program that has been developed and implemented annually since 2021, by its founder, Jan Joyce. The objective of the program is to help prepare participants for certification through BCG by practicing the main elements of the BCG portfolio.

Mixing a combination of techniques, the program aims for significant improvement for each participant from giving and receiving peer reviews as well as receiving individual mentor feedback.


Portfolio Elements

The Practicum syllabus covers the following elements:

  • Deconstruction of a published case study (warm-up)
  • Case Study
    • Writing a common case study*
    • Writing your own case study
    • Revising your own case study*
  • Document work, including transcription, abstraction, document analysis, identifying a research question, and crafting a research plan
  • Kinship Determination Project (KDP)
    • Writing a common KDP.
    • Writing your own KDP
    • Revising your KDP*

* Individualized mentor feedback provided.



Unique techniques are provided throughout the program that maximize learning. These include:

  • Utilization of “common” research subject for the first case study and family narrative.
  • Peer review techniques to isolate concepts, case study, citations, sources, analysis, and more.
  • Application of BCG rubrics to each appropriate assignment.



Little outside reading is required other than Genealogy Standards, the BCG Application Guide, and the BCG Rubrics.



Writing is the core of this program. The majority of your time will be spent writing, as most of the research will have been done prior to beginning the program.


Peer Reviews

Giving and receiving peer feedback is an important aspect of the program. It maximizes learning when you receive a variety of constructive feedback comments as well as when you are forced to constructively critique others. “Aha” moments occur when you realize how well a peer addressed an opportunity.


Mentor Reviews

You will receive individual feedback from the mentor on four assignments (noted above with the single asterisk). This feedback will be posted in the Basecamp forum, and other students will be able to access it if desired.

An example of the common proof argument will also be provided for you to compare against your own (noted above with a single asterisk).



  • Time: A significant time commitment is required. Students spend between 15 and 60 hours for each assignment.  Assignment cycles vary between 4 and 6 weeks.  Thus, plan on up to ten hours a week on average.
  • Commitment: Dedication to this educational opportunity is required. It is suggested that no other major commitments are on your calendar.
  • Recommendation:  A positive  recommendation from your ProGen mentor and coordinator is required for program acceptance.
  • ProGen: Participating students must have successfully completed ProGen and ideally, GenProof.
  • Attendance: Review the calendar. You must be able to meet and participate in all of the planned meetings.
  • Attitude: A great attitude and flexibility will go a long way in this program. It is still being tweaked and tested, and your input to improving it is appreciated.
  • Work Level: Your work sample must meet educational and experiential requirements that will make you, and your peers, successful in this program. This will be assessed in advance of matriculation.
  • Certification: Your goal is to become certified.


Before Program Begins

  • If you are accepted into the program, these pre-program activities are required.
  • Identify your own research subject(s) for the proof argument and family narrative. Use ProGen assignments if possible. There is not enough time to do new research. The assignments must meet the requirements of the BCG Application Guide, so confirm yours do. For example, the Case Study (Proof Argument) must be a question of significance usually regarding identity, relationship, or activity.
  • Begin reviewing documents for the common assignments (in Basecamp).
  • Familiarize self with the BCG Application Guide and Rubrics and Genealogy Standards.


Meetings and Calendar

  • Assignments are due two Sundays before the meetings (see orange shading on calendar).
  • Peer feedback is due on Sundays, two days before the Tuesday meetings (see green shading on calendar).
  • Meetings will occur approximately every five weeks on Tuesdays as per the calendar (see yellow shading).
  • Tuesday meetings are expected to begin at 12 noon ET / 9 am PT and may take up to 120 minutes.


Program Cost

  • The cost of the program in 2024 is $600.
  • No refunds will be given after the student has committed to the program if the student drops out.
  • If the enrolled student does not perform to expectations for any reason and is asked to leave the program mid-term, a portion of the program enrollment costs will be refunded, calculated as follows: $200 non-refundable. Remaining balance prorated by the number of assignments completed.

Julie Ann Smith-Morrow

ProGen 42
GenProof 54
ProGen Practicum 01

Our small peer group worked with each other and mentor Jan Joyce for about eight months. We took deep dives into deconstructing peer-reviewed articles, and into three requirements for portfolio submission to BCG, including Requirement 3 — BCG Supplied Document Work, Requirement 5 — Case Study, and Requirement 6 — Kinship-Determination Project.  After preparing and submitting our own portfolio assignments, we reviewed the work of one or more peers and received feedback from Jan. We joined in regular Zoom sessions to discuss our work and the program. We were asked to prepare our own work as if we were submitting to BCG, and to evaluate our peers as critically and thoughtfully as a BCG judge. I studied the BCG application guide and the rubrics for evaluating new applications for BCG Certification and applied the requirements and standards to our work. I learned much from preparing the assignments and at least as much from reviewing my peers’ work and learning about different approaches that can be successful. It was particularly enlightening to read varied reviews.

I experienced “Aha” moments in seeing how well the BCG application guide lays out the requirements for each portfolio element and how careful study of the BCG standards and rubrics allow both preparation and review of our work. I was surprised with the great value of giving and receiving peer review. Another unanticipated but wonderful benefit of the Practicum is that several of our group are continuing to work together in practicing and reviewing others’ work.

For me, the ProGen Practicum built on valuable ProGen and GenProof experiences. ProGen introduced a broad range of professional genealogy topics, and peers came with different experiences and professional aspirations. GenProof was a notch above ProGen — serious and especially focused on BCG standards and rubrics in developing genealogical proofs. The ProGen Practicum builds on educational experiences from both ProGen and GenProof and is tailored for someone serious about preparing a portfolio for BCG. The Practicum provided more than “demystifying” the certification process and created a niche for me to practice portfolio preparation and review. It also better prepared me to anticipate and understand judges’ comments.

Because of the ProGen Practicum, I am more prepared to create my portfolio. I know many ways to improve my work. I know more about completing work and receiving review on portfolio pieces.  The Practicum has been a game changer for me!

What ProGen Practicum Alumni Are Saying…