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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

The 2017 schedule includes a lecture at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, 10 – 13 May 2017; and at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) National Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 30 August – 2 September 2017.

2017 Leary Distinguished Lecturer

JRussellJudy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, will be the featured speaker at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, and at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2017 National Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her topic at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, is “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Professional and Personal Genealogical Standard” and will consider how, as professional and personal genealogists, we can enrich our family histories, client bases, and collaborations with fellow researchers by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard. Her topic at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, continues the focus with “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Society and Corporate Genealogical Standard” and will consider how genealogical societies and companies can better grow their memberships, serve their constituencies, and increase their revenues by adopting inclusion as a genealogical standard.

The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree who writes and lectures on topics ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. On the faculty of IGHR, SLIG, GRIP and GenFed, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠. Her award-winning blog is at

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.
  • J. Mark Lowe, CG, CGL, FUGA. “Who Owned the Cow? and Other Common Conundrums: A Reasoning From Evidence Example.” 2015 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. “Ethics in Genealogy - Professional and Personal,” 2016 NGS Conference. “Ethics in Genealogy - Commercial Products and Services,” 2016 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 workshop, Tuesday, 9 May 2017, National Genealogical Society (NGS) Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina.

    The BCG Education Fund Workshop will be Tuesday, 9 May 2017, prior to the NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. The registration fee of $110 includes lunch, hands-on exercises, syllabus, handouts and active class participation. NGS Conference registration is not required. Registration is through the NGS Conference registration site at

    NPetersNancy A. Peters, CG, will lead the session “Make Your Case: Correlating Evidence to Solve Genealogical Problems.” Are you facing what seems like a brick wall in your research? Solutions to complex kinship and identity problems require skill in working with direct, indirect, and negative evidence. This session provides practical methods and hands-on experience in correlating evidence to recognize patterns, connections, and inconsistencies that will help you make your case. Prerequisite: working knowledge of basic record types—census, probate, land, and vital records—which are used in classroom exercises. 

    Nancy A. Peters, CG, is a full-time genealogist. She serves as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and as the editor of BCG’s OnBoard newsletter. She has been an instructor for the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and a lecturer at local and national conferences. Her client work, publications, and classroom instruction focus on using complex evidence to solve problems of kinship and identity. Nancy’s client and personal research encompasses the Southeastern U.S., upstate New York, England, and Germany.

    SScribnerSara A. Scribner, CG, will lead the session "Make Your Case: Constructing and Writing Proof Discussions." You solved your brick wall problem. But can you prove your case in writing to the toughest critic? This session deconstructs creating a convincing proof. Session participants learn how to resolve conflicting evidence and construct proof discussions from the self-evident to the complex. The session covers logic used in genealogical proof, and useful structures for the written part. Hands-on practice includes dissecting proofs written by published authors, and creating a practice proof for a personal genealogical problem. Prerequisites: Come prepared to practice writing up a personal genealogical problem. Also, thoughtfully read a few articles from The American Genealogist, The Genealogist, The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register, or The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

    After 44 years working as a research librarian and library administrator, Sara A. Scribner, CG, now owns Salt Lake-based Scribner Genealogy. Her articles have appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, and she has lectured on the local, regional and national level. She divides her own research activities between her mother's side, deep south Confederates and her father's Canadian Loyalists.

    Roster of Putting Skills To Work Instructors

  • Mary McCampbell Bell, CG. “Abstracting Records: Land Records,” 2003, 2004. “Abstracting Documents,” 2007.
  • Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. “Spreadsheets 201: Manipulating Data to Dismantle Brick Walls,” 2016.
  • 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. “Evidence Analysis, Correlation, and Resolution: The Heart of the Genealogical Proof Standard.” 2015.
  • David McDonald, D.Min., CG. “Reach for the Power Tools: Transcriptions & Abstractions,” 2016.
  • 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.
  • Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. “Tested Strategies for Efficient Research Reports.” 2015.
  • 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.
  • Roster of Special Workshop Instructors

  • Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL. "Genetic Genealogy: Effective Analysis and Correlation of DNA Test Results."  2015.
  • 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.

    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.
  • Victor S. Dunn, CG, “Virginia Business Records and Manuscript Index” hosted by the Virginia Genealogical Society at
  • 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.

    J.H. Fonkert, CG, Trustee
    Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG, Trustee
    Angela Packer McGhie, CG, Trustee
    Patricia Hackett Nicola, CG, Trustee
    Alice Hoyt Veen, CG, Trustee
    Donn Devine, JD, CG, Counsel

    Former Trustees and Supporting Associates

    Mary McCampbell Bell, CG
    Bettie Cummings Cook, CG
    Stefani Evans, 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
    Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG
    George B. Handran, JD, CG, Counsel
    Beverly Rice, CG, Donald Mosher Memorial Award Administrator
    Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL


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