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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

HLeary 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.

Throughout 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 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

2014 Leary Distinguished Lecturer

KFreilichKay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL, FNGS, is the 2014 Leary Distinguished Lecturer at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Richmond, Virginia. Her topic is “Research Strategies That Work.” Effective strategies include focused, well-developed research plans, broad investigations of people and events affecting the target person, pristine documentation, and written summaries detailing findings and evidence. Applying tried and true methodology frequently leads to successfully resolving research problems. The lecture includes case studies illustrating the value of employing effective strategies.

Kay’s substantial contributions as a researcher, author, lecturer, and volunteer in the genealogical community are well known. She served as President of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2003-2005) and as Trustee, instructed at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (2006-2012), served as a director of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Vice President of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, and in a multitude of other positions across the genealogical field. She authored the NGS publication Research in Pennsylvania, three family histories, and has published in numerous genealogical publications. Kay develops the annual BCG Skillbuilding Track at the NGS Conference in conjunction with the NGS.

In 2009, she won the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Contest, and in 2012, she was named Fellow of the National Genealogical Society for her outstanding volunteer efforts in behalf of the Society. During Kay’s tenure as an Education Fund Trustee (2003–2009), she developed its Putting Skills To Work program and the Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series. Education Fund Trustees are very pleased to welcome Kay “home” as the 2014 Leary Distinguished Lecturer.

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.
  • 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

    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 professional standards.

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


    Victor S. Dunn, CG, is presenting “I Rest My Case: Constructing a Convincing Proof Argument.” You’ve spent hours searching for proof in basements and attics of court houses, requesting antiquated manuscripts from archives and libraries, and combed every feasible internet site. At last, you find the evidence to prove that complex, seemingly unsolvable, relationship. You can breathe a sigh of relief and move on to the next generation or project. But, STOP! It’s time to commit your findings to writing for posterity either in a proof summary or a proof argument.

    This session addresses the difference between proof summaries and proof arguments and examines which type of presentation is appropriate based on evidence located in the investigation. Students’ hands-on exercises include constructing a convincing, organized proof argument for a case study.

    Vic is a board-certified genealogist and a full-time professional researcher. An instructor for the Virginia track at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Alabama, he is a frequent contributor to major genealogical publications including feature articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, NGS Magazine, BCG OnBoard, Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, and Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter. He is a current governor of the Virginia Genealogical Society, and a past trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and treasurer and board member of NGS.


    Sharon Tate Moody, CG, is presenting “Passing Out The Property: A Workshop on the Probate Process.” Death impacts family, friends, and associates emotionally and financially. The deceased’s assets pass to others according to his written directives via a will or, without a will, as intestate law requires. Both procedures usually create multiple documents pointing to relationships and providing insight into the deceased’s life. Hands-on exercises include scrutinizing and analyzing probate documents for clues supporting hypotheses or leading to other resources about the decedent’s identity or kinships.

    Sharon is a retired law enforcement officer whose career with a major metropolitan Atlanta police department spanned twenty-eight years. During this time, she became a Georgia state certified law enforcement instructor and graduated from the FBI National Academy. Through her experiences, she brings a unique perspective to finding evidence and establishing proof in genealogical investigations.

    Sharon qualified as a board-certified genealogist in 2001. Her specialties include court and land records, Civil War, research methodology, and editing and writing family histories. She lectures widely in the United States, including conferences of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society. Her substantial contributions to the genealogical community include service as past president of the Georgia Genealogical Society and a founding trustee of the Friends of the Georgia Archives. Her weekly column, “Heritage Hunting,” appears in the Tampa Tribune.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research

    This competitive $500 Award was established in 2001 by Merrill Hill Mosher, CG, of Oregon, honoring her late husband. 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.


    Eric Hedrick is the recipient of the 2013 Donald Mosher Memorial Award for his digital publication Historical Documents from Augusta County, Virginia: Volume 6—Judgments. It is available for purchase at Eric’s website http://

    Upon being notified of his winning entry, Eric responded, “I’m thrilled beyond words. I really enjoy digitizing historic records, and being chosen to receive the Mosher Award validates my feelings of the work’s importance.”

    Eric has published more than twenty-seven other CD-ROMs of historical document images, making available sources that traditionally are obscure and difficult to access. A thirty-year resident of Virginia, Eric’s research efforts focus on Virginia and West Virginia resources. Other works in progress are a Hedrick genealogy and a compilation of Virginia and West Virginia signature images. Eric serves as webmaster of the Pendleton County Historical Society and has instructed guitar and piano students for more than twenty years.


    Roster of Mosher Award Recipients

  • 2010 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.
  • 2009 Selena Mayes DuLac, Henrico County, Virginia, Land Patent Abstracts with Some Plat Maps, vol. III.
  • 2006 James Lively of England for his study identifying the 16th and 17th century English origins of the Underwood family of Virginia.
  • 2005 James Winter Petty, CGRS, AG, for his work extracting headrights from Virginia county records.
  • 2002 Selena Mayes DuLac, Henrico County, Virginia, Land Patent Abstracts with Some Plat Maps, vol. I.
  • 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 O’Brien Shawker, CG, Trustee
    Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, Trustee
    Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, Trustee
    Beverly Rice, Donald Mosher Memorial Award Administrator
    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
    Beth A. Stahr, CG
    George B. Handran, JD, CG, Counsel


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