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BCG Education Fund

The BCG Education Fund, founded in 2000 as an independent non-profit charitable trust, advances the educational aims of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® by funding learning programs consistent with standards promulgated by the Board and by providing incentives for study and scholarly research in accordance with the Board's standards.

Current activities are the Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series presented semi-annually, Putting Skills To Work presented annually, and the annual competition for the Donald Mosher Memorial Award. The Education Fund is always considering avenues for extending its educational offerings, and suggestions are heartily welcomed.

The Education Fund relies upon the generosity of contributors to support its educational outreach to current and future genealogists. The programs exist only because of that on-going generosity. Contributions are tax-deductible, and may be mailed to:

BCG Education Fund
P. O. Box 14291
Washington, DC 20044

Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series

The series, initiated in 2007, honors Helen F. M. Leary of North Carolina, Certified Genealogist Emeritus and a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, known for her richly informative and entertaining lectures on methodology, law, writing, and the art of lecturing.

HLearyThroughout her distinguished career, Helen F. M. Leary has worked to educate all serious genealogists. Helen embodies personal and professional work standards that the BCG Education Fund seeks to emulate and to instill in those practicing the art and science of genealogy.

 Helen served twenty-three years as a Trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She served as President from October 1989 to October 1994 and again from October 1998 to October 1999. She designed the certification logos used today by Board-certified associates. With Thomas W. Jones, Helen edited the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. She developed and coordinated the Professional Genealogy Track at Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. She was editor and contributing author of North Carolina Research, a unique publication existing only for the state of North Carolina, which provides genealogical research guidance transcending geographical boundaries. Helen wrote several chapters of Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians including the chapter on lecturing. Her extensive scholarly publications include the seminal National Genealogical Society Quarterly study “Sally Heming’s Children: A Genealogical Analysis of the Evidence.” Interviews with Helen are featured in the National Genealogical Society’s popular video series “Paths To Your Past” at

2015 Leary Distinguished Lecturer

J. Mark Lowe, CG, CGL, FUGA, is the 2015 Leary Distinguished Lecturer at the National Genealogical Society Conference at St. MLoweCharles, Missouri. His topic is “Who Owned the Cow? and Other Common Conundrums: A Reasoning From Evidence Example.” Using genealogical research skills and plans, see how a simple question and reasonable search leads to real answers and opens new barn doors for more.

Mark Lowe is a full-time professional genealogist, author, and lecturer, specializing in original records of Kentucky and Tennessee and manuscripts throughout the South. He serves as course coordinator of Research in the South for the Institute of Genealogy and Historic Research at Samford University and for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. He is director of the Regional In-depth Genealogical Studies Alliance. Mark has worked on several genealogical television series, including African American Lives 2, UnXplained Events, and Who Do You Think You Are? He is a former President of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Mark received the 2007 Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award for his outstanding service to the APG.


Roster of Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecturers

  • Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG. “Why Is ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Research’ so Important to the Genealogical Proof Standard?” 2010 FGS Conference.
  • Donn Devine, JD, CG, CGL. “Case Studies on Applying DNA to Family History Research.” 2008 FGS Conference.
  • Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL, FNGS. “Research Strategies That Work.” 2014 NGS Conference.
  • Ruth Ann Hager, CG, CGL. “Speaking of Genealogy.” 2008 NGS Conference.
  • Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA. “Honesty, Courtesy, and Confidentiality: Ethics for Family Historians.” 2007 NGS Conference.”The Genealogical Proof Standard: What It Is and What It Is Not.” 2011 NGS and FGS Conferences.
  • Barbara Vines Little, CG, FVGS, FNGS. “Locating and Understanding the Law: An Essential Part of Good Research.” 2012 NGS Conference.
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA. “Okay, I ‘Got the Neighbors’—Now What Do I Do with Them?!!” 2009 NGS Conference.“Can Trousers, Beds, and Other ‘Trivial Details’ Solve Genealogical Problems?” 2013 NGS and FGS Conferences.
  • David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA. “Proven Research Strategies that Transcend Geo-Political Boundaries.” 2009 FGS Conference.
  • Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL. “Expanding Your Genealogical Skills Through Education!” 2010 NGS Conference.
  • Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA. "Is There a Professional in the House?" 2012 FGS Conference.
  • Putting Skills To Work

    Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM
    St. Charles, Missouri

    Putting Skills To Work is a unique full-day, hands-on workshop limited to sixty participants. The focus is skills needed by anyone practicing serious genealogical research whether as a family historian, librarian, dedicated hobbyist, or writer. Materials are geared to intermediate and advanced practitioners and advocate established genealogy standards.

    The $110 registration fee includes lunch, two in-depth presentations, hands-on exercises, syllabus, handouts, and active class participation. NGS Conference registration is not required. Sessions typically book to capacity before the NGS Conference registration deadline.

    Barbara J. Mathews, CG, will lead the session “Evidence Analysis, Correlation, and Resolution: The Heart of the Genealogical Proof Standard.” Focusing on only direct evidence creates unnecessary research dead ends. This session addresses weighing BMathewsand correlating sources, evidence, and information in their many diverse forms for successful resolution of investigations.

    Barbara Mathews is a lineage genealogist specializing in colonial Connecticut and Massachusetts. She represents the Board for Certification of Genealogists on the Records Access and Preservation Committee, and is Civil Records Co-Director for the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC). Her white paper co-written for MGC, “Framing a Discussion on Vital Records Access,” provides an historic look at government policies involving ID theft, financial fraud, and vital records. She is currently working on a book about the descendants of the fourth colonial governor of Connecticut for the Welles Family Association. Barbara mentored ProGen Studies Group 7, GenProof Studies Group 6, and currently mentors ProGen Studies Group 21. She is a substitute instructor for the Boston University genealogical certificate program. She is a contributor to the BCG blog SpringBoard. Barbara is a former BCG Board member and former Education Fund Trustee.


    Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, will lead the session “Tested Strategies for Efficient Research Reports.” Many researchers EPowellassume committing research findings to paper is separate from the research process; however, Elissa will share her methodology for using available time efficiently during the research process, resulting in a sharable work product.

    Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, a western Pennsylvania researcher, is immediate past-president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She is co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), instructs for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate course and at the Salt Like Institute of Genealogy. She is coordinator of the Professional Genealogy course for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. Elissa is a frequent lecturer at national conferences as well as at venues across the United States. In 2010, she was the recipient of the National Genealogical Society’s President’s Citation for her broad support of the genealogical community.


    Roster of Putting Skills To Work Instructors

  • Mary McCampbell Bell, CG. “Abstracting Records: Land Records,” 2003, 2004. “Abstracting Documents,” 2007.
  • Melinde Lutz Byrne, CG, FASG. “Editor’s Ink: Writing for Genealogical Journals,” 2012.
  • Victor S. Dunn, CG. “I Rest My Case: Constructing a Convincing Proof Argument,” 2014.
  • Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL. “Writing Family History: Style, Index, and More,” 2009.
  • Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL, FNGS. “Planning Research,” 2006. “Writing the Ancestral Story,” 2009.
  • Marty Hiatt, CG. “Writing Reports,” 2006. “Arguing: Writing Proof Summaries,” 2007.
  • Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA. “Genealogical Documentation: What, Why, and How,” 2008. “Editing Your Own and Others’ Genealogical Writing,” 2012.
  • Connie Lenzen, CG. “Historical Context: More Than A Timeline,” 2013.
  • Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS; FVGS. “Working with Documents: From Discovery to What Comes Next,” 2011.
  • Barbara J. Mathews, CG. “Writing Genealogical Narratives,” 2006. “Evidence Evaluation,” 2008.
  • Sharon Tate Moody, CG. “In the Law Library: A Workshop on Legal Research for Genealogists,” 2011. “Passing Out The Property: A Workshop on the Probate Process,” 2014.
  • Beverly Rice, CG. “The Path To Change And A Better Life—Migration,” 2013.
  • Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG. “Abstracting Records for Accuracy and Success,” 2004, 2005.
  • Kip Sperry, CG. “Reading Early Handwriting,” 2010.
  • Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL. “Synchronized Research and Reporting,” 2010.
  • Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA. "Planning Research,” 2006.
  • Special Genetic Genealogy Workshop

    National Genealogical Society Conference
    St. Charles, Missouri
    Friday, 15 May 2015

    DWayneDebbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, is presenting "Genetic Genealogy: Effective Analysis and Correlation of DNA Test Results." This full day intermediate-level workshop is for those who understand DNA basics and want to effectively correlate DNA test results with documentary research to answer a genealogical question.

    The $40 registration fee includes hands-on exercises, syllabus, and handouts; lunch is not included. Please note that syllabus material will be provided electronically prior to the workshop. Attendees should print the material and bring it with them to the workshop. Internet access will not be available in the classroom.

    Many genealogists today have attended lectures on genetic genealogy, but putting those principles to practical use is seldom demonstrated in one-hour lectures due to time constraints. As with analysis and correlation of any type of genealogical evidence, in-depth understanding comes with experience and practice. This workshop provides that "next step" beyond what is provided in introductory lectures.

    The workshop will address analysis techniques and tools for Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, autosomal DNA, and X-DNA. Attendees should already understand the basic theoretical underpinnings in order to successfully complete hands-on exercises. There will be active class participation with examples from real DNA projects and one-on-one assistance with the exercises. While there will not be time for consultations on your personal DNA test results, you will be able to apply the techniques learned to your own results.

    Debbie Parker Wayne is a board-certified genealogist and genealogical lecturer experienced in DNA analysis, as well as traditional techniques. Her traditional research focuses on Texas, the Southwest, and the Southern U.S. She coordinates and teaches week-long, comprehensive, interactive genetic genealogy courses at several genealogical institutes. She has performed research for genealogical television series such as the Canadian series Ancestors in the Attic, the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., and The Learning Channel's Who Do You Think You Are? Debbie is a Trustee of the BCG Education Fund and the DNA Project Director for Texas State Genealogical Society.

    Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research

    This competitive $500 Award, established in 2001 by Merrill Hill Mosher, CG, of Oregon, honoring her late husband, is administered by the BCG Education Fund. The Award funds scholarly research on colonial Virginia topics in the following categories: family genealogy, immigrant place or family origin, and publication of obscure or difficult Virginia resources. The annual deadline is 31 December. Award criteria is available here. It is not too soon for interested genealogists to consider preparing a submission.

    Victor S. Dunn, CG, is the recipient of the 2014 Donald Mosher Memorial Award for his database “Virginia Business Records and Manuscript Index” hosted by the Virginia Genealogical Society at ( Dunn’s index facilitates access to obscure or difficult unpublished Virginia resources.

    VDunnIndexed business records will include merchant journals, ledgers, daybooks, and memorandums, along with account books and documents kept by individual farmers, plantation managers, physicians, and attorneys. A number of these records survive for the colonial period as early as the first half of the eighteenth century, including locations in a number of eastern Virginia burned counties. When possible, the database will include links to online resources.

    Vic Dunn is a board-certified genealogist and a full-time professional researcher. He coordinates the Virginia track at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Alabama and publishes frequently in major genealogical publications, including the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, NGS Magazine, BCG OnBoard, Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, and Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter. Vic currently serves as a governor of the Virginia Genealogical Society. He is a past trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and past treasurer and board member of the National Genealogical Society.

    Roster of Mosher Award Recipients

  • Selena Mayes DuLac, Henrico County, Virginia, Land Patent Abstracts with Some Plat Maps, vol. I, 2002; and vol. III, 2009.
  • Eric Hedrick, Historical Documents from Augusta County, Virginia: Volume 6—Judgments,, 2013.
  • James Lively of England for his study identifying the 16th and 17th century English origins of the Underwood family of Virginia, 2006.
  • Nathan W. Murphy, MA, AG, “The Devon Seafaring Origins of William Byrd’s Mother’s Family: Grace (Stegge) Byrd of London, England, Thomas Stegge of Westover Parish, Charles City County, Virginia, and Captain Abraham Reed of Charles City County, Virginia; Including Additional Details about His Father John Byrd’s Career as a London Goldsmith,” The American Genealogist, Vol. 84, No. 4 (October 2010): 241-256; 2010.
  • James Winter Petty, CGRS, AG, for his work extracting headrights from Virginia county records, 2005.

  • Trustees and Supporting Associates

    The BCG Education Fund is administered by Trustees and Associates who dedicate their services without remuneration.

    Stefani Evans, CG, Trustee
    J.H. Fonkert, CG, Trustee
    Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG, Trustee
    Patricia Hackett Nicola, CG, Trustee
    Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, Trustee
    Donn Devine, JD, CG, Counsel

    Former Trustees and Supporting Associates

    Mary McCampbell Bell, CG
    Bettie Cummings Cook, CG
    Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL, FNGS
    Marty Hiatt, CG
    Kay Germain Ingalls, CG
    Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
    Barbara J. Mathews, CG
    Joy Reisinger, CG
    Patricia O’Brien Shawker, CG
    Beth A. Stahr, CG
    George B. Handran, JD, CG, Counsel
    Beverly Rice, CG, Donald Mosher Memorial Award Administrator


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