Find a Genealogist
Springboard Blog
BCG Education Fund
About BCG
Contact Us
Become Certified
Certification FAQs
Genealogy's Standards
BCG Publications
Work Samples
Educational Preparation
Associate Login


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

2016 Leary Distinguished Lecturer

DRencher David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, is the 2016 Leary Distinguished Lecturer. His topic at the National Genealogical Society Conference at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is “Ethics in Genealogy - Professional and Personal.” His topic at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference at Springfield, Illinois will continue the subject of ethics with “Ethics in Genealogy - Commercial Products and Services.”

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, is employed by the Family History Department in Salt Lake City as the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a B.A. in Family and Local History. A professional genealogist since 1977, he holds both Accredited Genealogist® and Certified Genealogist® credentials. Since 1997, he serves as the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. He is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Utah Genealogical Association. David is a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association and the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London and is currently an instructor for the British Institute where he also serves as the vice-president of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History. He currently serves on the Board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies

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.
  • 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, 3 May 2016, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

    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.

    JBloomJeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, will lead the session “Spreadsheets 201: Manipulating Data to Dismantle Brick Walls.” Students will use spreadsheets to reveal otherwise hidden patterns that can resolve problems of kinship and identity. Prerequisite: knowledge of basic spreadsheet skills..

    Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, is a full-time professional researcher specializing in Chicago and Cook County research, forensic genealogy, problem solving, and multi-generational family histories. On behalf of the Department of the Army, Jeanne searches for and identifies family members of unaccounted for servicemen from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

    Jeanne writes articles for scholarly journals and society publications. She is a frequent lecturer at conferences, workshops, and institutes. She is a Trustee and the president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.


    DMcDonaldDavid McDonald, D.Min., CG, will lead the session “Reach for the Power Tools: Transcriptions & Abstractions.” Students will work with various documents to transcribe, abstract and analyze the material, with an eye toward developing effective research plans.

    David McDonald, D.Min., CG, has more than thirty years' research experience throughout the United States, Canada, and in various European countries, particularly the British Isles and Germany. Dave's research specialty is in the "Old Northwest," those states (or parts thereof) formed from the "Territory Northwest of the River Ohio": Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In addition to these states, Dave has conducted extensive research in neighboring states, such as Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri and Pennsylvania and elsewhere across the United States. He has research interests in transcontinental migrations of New England families, the effective use of Christian church records and repositories, and fraternal organizations and societies and their records of genealogical interest. Dave served six years on the board of the National Genealogical Society, and has lectured throughout the US and UK. His personal research includes work in England, the Mid-Atlantic, colonial-era New York and Virginia, Kentucky, the Midwest and the Great Plains. He has also done extensive work in the UK and on Germanic lines from the sixteenth century onward.

    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. “Evidence Analysis, Correlation, and Resolution: The Heart of the Genealogical Proof Standard.” 2015.
  • 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.

    Stefani Evans, CG, Trustee
    J.H. Fonkert, CG, Trustee
    Patricia Lee Hobbs, 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
    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


    © Copyright 2007-2015 Board for Certification of Genealogists ®. All Rights Reserved.