BCG Education Fund Announces New Trustee

Trish Hackett Nicola, CG

The trustees of the BCG Education Fund announce that Patricia “Trish” Hackett Nicola, CG, of Seattle, Washington, will join the board as a trustee. Trish is an accomplished genealogist specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century family history research and historical research in Washington State. Since 2001 she has volunteered with the National Archives-Seattle Branch, which holds the Chinese Exclusion Act case files. Her blog, Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, shows the types of information that can be found and how researchers can access it. Trish has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Colorado and is a retired CPA. She has a Master of Science degree in library service and worked as a reference librarian before becoming a full-time professional genealogist. The skills Trish honed as a CPA, librarian, and archive volunteer will benefit the BCG Education Fund. BCG Education Fund trustee Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, said, “We are fortunate to welcome a colleague of her caliber, and we look forward to working with her.”

Trish replaces  Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, resigning in her eighth year of service with the BCG Education Fund. Kathy led the trustees in creating the Education Fund’s substantial presence in genealogical education.

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

BCG Education Fund: Kathy Gunter Sullivan Retires from Board

After eight years of volunteer service, Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, of Charlotte, North Carolina, has retired from the BCG Education Fund board of trustees. From 2007 through 2014, Kathy was the Education Fund secretary and streamlined its administrative procedures. She led the trustees in planning and executing its programs, which are the annual Putting Skills To Work workshop, the biannual Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture series, and the Mosher Award for Colonial Virginia Research. She secured exclusive one-year rights for the Education Fund to outstanding lectures by Thomas W. Jones and Elizabeth Shown Mills. She promoted incorporating additional topics into the Education Fund’s offerings, such as law, proof arguments, and genetics. In 2015, Kathy stepped forward to serve as treasurer pro tem. Her forward thinking and organizational skills contributed to the Education Fund’s substantial presence in genealogical education.

Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG

Kathy is celebrating her twentieth year as a BCG associate. In addition to a 1992 history of her German-descent Dellinger ancestors, she edited and published nine volumes of original records of five different North Carolina counties. Her work was recognized in 1990 and again in 2003 by the North Carolina Genealogical Society with its Award of Excellence in Publishing and by the North Carolina Historical Society’s 1990 Award of Excellence. She created the Lincoln County Tax Records Project 1778–1840, making it available on  North Carolina GenWeb. She frequently teaches, presents, and publishes in her geographical region. Numerous articles have appeared in the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, and she is presenting a webinar for the Society on 18 September 2015. Kathy is an assistant editor of OnBoard, BCG’s in-house publication, and co-administrator of a private Dellinger family website.

CG and Certified Genealogist are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Patti Hobbs, CG, New BCG Education Fund Trustee

One of our new BCG associates has recently joined the Board of Trustees of the BCG Education Fund. This non-profit charitable trust furthers BCG’s standards-based education goals. It funds lectures and workshops and provides incentives for study and scholarly research.

Patti Hobbs, CG

The trustees of the BCG Education Fund announce that Patricia “Patti” Lee Hobbs, CG, of Clever, Missouri, joins the board as a trustee. Patti is an accomplished genealogist specializing in DNA analysis and working with original records. She is particularly interested in genealogical education, as evidenced by her longtime position as Local History and Genealogy reference associate at the Springfield-Greene County Library District, where she has taught classes on genetic genealogy and traditional research methodology. This summer she will teach in the genetic genealogy course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.

Patti’s teaching and library experience, her skill as a webmaster for the ProGen Study Group, and her leadership roles with the Ozarks Genealogical Society all will benefit the BCG Education Fund going forward. We are fortunate to welcome a colleague of her caliber, and we look forward to working with her.

by Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL
on behalf of the BCG Education Fund Trustees

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

In Memoriam: Merrill Hill Mosher of Coos Bay, Oregon

Merrill Hill Mosher, 2005
Image courtesy of The Coos Bay (Oregon) World

On 2 February 2015, our friend and colleague, Merrill Hill Mosher died in Coos Bay, Oregon, aged 84. She was formerly certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and was founder of Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research, administered by the BCG Education Fund.

Merrill was born and grew up near Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area. She had one son, Ashley Cooke Auld. On 5 January 1970 in Crescent City, California, she married the late Donald Mosher.

Beginning in 1974, Merrill was an active volunteer at the local Family History Center, serving as librarian sometime after their opening until 2000. She taught genealogical courses at Southwestern Oregon Community College and mentored many of her students. Merrill earned BCG certification on 15 May 1993, and in 1995 she received the North Carolina Genealogical Society’s award for excellence in publishing for her book, John Freeman of Norfolk County, Virginia: His Descendants in North Carolina and Virginia and Other Colonial North Carolina Freeman Families (Berwyn Heights, Md.: Heritage Books, 1994).

Beverly Rice, former BCG treasurer, writes that “Merrill was a mentor to many of us in Coos Bay (and Oregon), including Rhonda Edwards, Marcia Rice, and myself. She often lectured and taught classes. I still remember her handwriting workshops because she had us write and practice the early Virginia script, over and over. This was in my first years of research; it was a great learning experience and one I have not forgotten.” Beverly also stated that Merrill had been a competitive downhill-skier. An ankle injury led to difficulty walking later in life.

Professional to the core, Merrill was an avid supporter of BCG and the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). She was a founding member of APG’s Oregon Chapter and served as the chapter president from 2000 to 2001. Beverly Rice recalls, “We actually had our chapter-forming meeting in her living room overlooking the Pacific Ocean.” Former BCG president Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, adds, “Merrill was a driving force in many successful certified associates’ lives. There were probably more certified people in her area at one time than in any small town. She was a wonderful representative of the BCG spirit.”

Merrill established Mosher’s Southern Research Library, located outside of Coos Bay. In 2013 she donated her personal papers to the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.

Merrill Mosher, VIGR, 2000
Image courtesy of Marty Hiatt, CG

Marty Hiatt, CG, writes that Merrill attended the Virginia Genealogical Society’s summer institute, known as Virginia Institute of Genealogical Research (VIGR), once or twice, and became an instructor in her third year.

Merrill was a prolific writer and had family articles published as lead pieces in The Virginia Genealogist. She also wrote an article for that publication describing mapping errors for several Northern Neck counties. Another of her family articles was published in The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research.

In 2001, in memory of her deceased husband of thirty-two years, Merrill established the Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research. The award recognizes scholarly research on colonial Virginia topics in the categories of family genealogy, immigrant place of family origin, and publication of obscure or difficult Virginia resources. Mary McCampbell Bell, BCG Education Fund treasurer from 2002 through 2009, recalls, “It was my honor and pleasure to work with Merrill as we shared ideas on how her award could be implemented. She was extremely knowledgeable about Virginia, and we shared a mutual love of colonial Virginia research. Her vision for the Mosher Award was to encourage people to look for and publish little-known Virginia records.”

We will miss Merrill, but the Mosher Award will continue to inspire and benefit Virginia researchers for years to come. Tax-free donations to the BCG Education Fund, designated for the Mosher Award, will assure that the award flourishes. For more about the Mosher Award, visit the BCG Education Fund at

by Mary McCampbell Bell, Certified Genealogist Emeritus

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.


BCG Education Fund Workshop at NGS St. Charles 12 May 2015

The BCG Education Fund is sponsoring a great educational opportunity at the annual NGS conference. Aimed at intermediate to advanced genealogists, this one-day workshop features two skilled and respected instructors, Barbara Mathews, CG, FASG, and Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. They will speak about evidence and research reports, respectively. The workshops fill quickly, so if this one looks appealing, sign up right away:


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 on 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 genealogical 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.

Barbara J. Mathews, CG, FASG, 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 BCG 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 Study Group 7, GenProof Study Group 6, and currently mentors ProGen Study Group 21. She is a substitute instructor for the Boston University genealogical certificate program, a contributor to the BCG blog, SpringBoard, and a former trustee of BCG and the BCG  Education Fund.

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. Elissa will share her methodology for using available time efficiently during the research process, resulting in a sharable work product.

Elissa Powell, a western Pennsylvania researcher, is immediate past president of BCG. She is co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and instructs for Boston University’s genealogical certificate program 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.

 by Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, BCG Education Fund

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

BCG Education Fund Offers Genetic Genealogy Workshop at NGS Conference

If you’re an intermediate genetic genealogist (not a beginner) and you’re going to the NGS conference in May, treat yourself to this fabulous opportunity. The workshop is limited to thirty participants, so register soon!

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

DWayneDebbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, will present “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 United States. She coordinates and teaches week-long, comprehensive, interactive genetic genealogy courses at several genealogical institutes. She has performed research for genealogical television shows, such as the Canadian series Ancestors in the Attic, PBS’s 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 the Texas State Genealogical Society.

 by Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG


To register for this and other workshops, as well as for the conference, visit the NGS conference website.

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

BCG Ed Fund Leary Distinguished Lecture: Elizabeth Mills on “Can Trousers, Beds, and Other ‘Trivial Details’ Solve Genealogical Problems?”

Please welcome guest blogger Diane Gravel, CGSM.

As genealogical researchers, we routinely pore through records in pursuit of elusive ancestors, grabbing at apparent minutia, anything that might give us the answers we seek. But are we really gleaning all of the information and clues that lie buried in each document before moving on to the next record?

As interpreters of facts, nitpickers of every detail, innovators of new ways to understand records and apply data, we must spend the majority of our time analyzing every document we retrieve. The careful eye scrutinizes each scrap of paper in an estate accounting, noting the date of an order of velvet and fine pants, recognizing it as a likely death record. The careful eye scrutinizes tax rolls for clues of kinship among the neighbors. These are only a few of the examples used by Mills in demonstrating the fine art of record analysis.

This lecture, used with the syllabus material, easily stands alone as a course in evidence analysis. It’s one of those presentations that will be played and replayed, each time inspiring the listener to take another look at their own brick walls, in search of all those missed clues!

This session has been taped. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at This is session F312 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.

From Diane’s profile at APG:

Diane is a full-time professional genealogist and lecturer, with emphasis on New Hampshire research. She is a graduate (with honors) of NGS’s American Genealogy: A Basic Course, and attended both the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (Advanced Methodology and Military Records) at Samford University and the National Institute on Genealogical Research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


Eric Hedrick Receives 2013 Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Virginia Research

Announcement from the BCG Education Fund:

Eric Hedrick is the winner of the 2013 Donald Mosher Memorial Award for his digital publication Historical Documents from Augusta County, Virginia: Judgments. Sixth in his series on digitization of the county’s documents, it is expected to be available by 1 July 2013. The annual $500 Mosher Award rewards and funds scholarly colonial Virginia research. It is funded by Merrill Hill Mosher, CGSM, in honor of her late husband. Award criteria is available here. The annual deadline is 31 December. It is not too soon for interested genealogists to consider preparing a submission.

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. He recently discovered 1865 vital records of Pendleton County, West Virginia, and offers free viewing at his website. Eric serves as webmaster of the Pendleton County Historical Society and has instructed guitar and piano students for more than twenty years.

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.

BCG Education Fund Workshop: Putting Historical Context and Migration into Your Family History

Yesterday saw the successful completion of another full-day, preconference workshop sponsored by the BCG Education Fund. The Putting Skills to Work event focuses on sound genealogical methodology. Each day consists of six hours of genealogical workshops in which students have the opportunity to interact with teachers and each other, and to perform hands-on learning.

The National Genealogical Society’s conference blog covered the event. You can see photos by going to the blog at Thanks for the coverage, NGS!

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Elizabeth Shown Mills to present Leary Distinguished Lecture at NGS 2013

The BCG Education Fund announced that the 2013 Leary Distinguished Lecturer at the NGS Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, is Elizabeth Shown Mills, CGSM, CGLSM, FASG, NGS, FUGA, who poses a provocative question: “Can Trousers, Beds, and Other ‘Trivial Details’ Solve Genealogical Problems?” Her answer is, Yes! All can create solutions to brickwall problems. She will present the lecture at 9:30 AM on Friday, May 10th.

Elizabeth Mills, who has emphasized research methodology and evidence analysis throughout her long career, is a master at drawing clues from seemingly trivial details. In the 2013 Leary Distinguished Lecture, she presents a series of brick wall problems involving identity and parentage. For each, she demonstrates ways to develop solutions from minutiae found in everyday records, including black domestics and tacks, housekeeping bills, trousers, beds, and more.

Mills is a historical researcher and writer who has spent her life studying American culture and the relationships between people—emotional as well as genetic. A popular lecturer and past president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the international Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth is the author, editor, and translator of thirteen books and over 500 journal and magazine articles in genealogy, history, literature, and sociology. Aside from her 2004 reality-based historical novel, Isle of Canes (which Historical Novels Review called a “masterpiece” and other reviews dubbed “a cross between Roots and Gone with the Wind”), Mills is best known for Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (a Library Journal “Best Reference 2007”) and the textbook Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers & Librarians. Interviews with Elizabeth Mills are featured in the National Genealogical Society’s popular video series “Paths To Your Past” at

The Leary lecture 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.

Graphic courtesy of the National Genealogical Society.