Inspired by the stories of his elders, Thomas W. Jones launched his passion for family history research at age fifteen. Midway in a thirty-year career in higher education, Jones achieved BCG certification in 1994. He earned the Certified Genealogical Lecturer credential in 2000. Since his certification, his contributions to BCG’s mission include a collaborative leadership role in the development and evolution of genealogical standards, education of thousands of genealogists, and a body of literature considered essential reading.
Jones served as a BCG Trustee from 1997–2007 and 2011–2014. He was a member of the Executive Committee for three years and President from 1999–2002. He was a key player in BCG’s publication of The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (2000). He served as editor of Genealogy Standards (2014) and edited its second edition published in 2019.
Always an advocate for genealogical standards, Jones delivered a keynote address at the 2016 Association for Professional Genealogists (APG) Professional Management Conference, which jump-started the movement to create DNA-specific standards. He served on the BCG Genetic Genealogy committee tasked with drafting DNA standards and on the ad-hoc committee that incorporated public feedback.
Jones penned methodology articles published in OnBoard, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), and other peer-reviewed journals. Two articles were awarded the NGSQ Award for Excellence. Jones coedited the NGSQ for sixteen years (2002–2018). He authored three chapters in Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (2018). His textbooks, Mastering Genealogical Proof (2013) and Mastering Genealogical Documentation (2017), provide foundation skills necessary for BCG certification. He developed and taught companion week-long institute courses in both genealogical proof and documentation.
In 2007 the American Society of Genealogists elected Jones as a fellow in recognition of his scholarly published work. APG recognized him with the Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit (2004) and the APG Professional Achievement Award (2011). Other honors include his election as Fellow of the National Genealogical Society (2009) and as Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association (2009). His scholarly contributions earned him the UGA Silver Tray Award (2011). Jones continues to support the board with advice, mentoring, and leadership. He is truly deserving of the Donn Devine Award for Extraordinary Service to the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
The Donn Devine Award was presented to Thomas W. Jones on 10 May 2019.