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ProGen PPS now available for order

There’s a new book that’s just been published that belongs in every genealogist’s library.

Its title is Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards and — despite the title — it’s really not just for professionals or aspiring professionals: there’s a ton of content there worthwhile for every genealogist who wants to do things right.1

Edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills, it’s the long-awaited sequel to the 2001 volume Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians,2 and it’s just hit the virtual shelves at the website of the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Company, and at Amazon.

The Legal Genealogist has a special place in her heart for this volume, which will be known for short as ProGen PPS to distinguish it from its predecessor, generally called ProGen.3

In part it’s because two of the chapters are ones that I wrote: “Copyright & Fair Use” (chapter 7); and “Genealogical Lecturing” (chapter 25). And a third chapter, “Genetics for Genealogy” (chapter 16), is one I contributed to with Blaine T. Bettinger. (Blaine really carried the laboring oar there.)

But there’s another much more personal reason why this volume will always have a special place in my heart. The reason is this:

Yes, that’s the cover of the new book. And if you look closely you will see that there’s a faded image behind the DNA double helix there on that cover — three little kids, two boys and a girl, balanced on a fence. The older boy is holding the younger boy’s hand; the girl is holding the younger boy steady so he stays balanced as well.

The photo was taken most likely by Opal (Robertson) Cottrell. The date was sometime around 1927. And the place was Midland, Texas.

How do I know that?

I know that because I happen to know the likely photographer and the three little kids in that photo.

The likely photographer — likely because she was almost always the family picture-taker — was my grandmother. And the three little kids her children, my mother’s siblings.

The boy on the left — my Uncle Billy Rex Cottrell (1919-2008) — was my grandparents’ second child and their oldest surviving child.4 He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps as a young man, left there to join the Navy, and rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer before he retired.5

The girl on the right — my Aunt Cladyne (Cottrell) Barrett (1921-2009) — was the third born, the only one born in Mitchell County, Texas. As you can see, she got more than her fair share of the family height even as a child. And — sigh — I miss her more and more every day.6

The little guy in the middle — my Uncle Monte Boyd Cottrell (1923-1994) — was the fourth born, also a Navy veteran who was just 18 when he enlisted — and still 18 when the ship he was on was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine.7

I was delighted when Elizabeth selected this photo8 to be part of the cover of this book. I’m just tickled to have my Cottrell kin as part of the libraries of so many genealogists.

Now if somebody will just help us figure out who in the world their Cottrell second (my third) great grandparents were…9


  1. Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor, Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2018).
  2. Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor, Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001). By the way, the earlier book remains in print and it’s still worth having in your library: some of its content is timeless, and it addresses some needs not covered in the new book like transcribing and abstracting.
  3. And just for the record, I don’t benefit from sales of the volume. I was paid a one-time fee as a contributor and that’s that. So I’m recommending it solely because I think it’s a great book, not because I’m going to benefit from any sales.
  4. The first-born, Ruth, died as an infant. Interview with Opal Robertson Cottrell (Kents Store, VA), by Bobette Richardson, 1980s; copy of notes privately held by JG Russell. See also receipt, Baby Cottrell Funeral, 22 February 1918, Dutton Funeral Home, Iowa Park, Texas; digital copy in possession of author.
  5. Judy G. Russell, “One veteran’s tale,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 9 Nov 2013 ( : accessed 24 Apr 2018).
  6. See ibid., “The comfort of being held,” posted 30 July 2016.
  7. See ibid., “The untold story,” posted 10 Nov 2012.
  8. The original can be found here.
  9. See ibid., “Chasing George,” posted 18 Nov 2017.
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