May 11, 2019

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) has announced the first three recipients of the Donn Devine Award for Extraordinary Service. The award, established in honor of longtime BCG trustee Donn Devine, recognizes those who have made important and lasting contributions to the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Named at a luncheon held in St. Charles, Missouri, as the first recipients, were:

Alison Hare, CG®, of Ottawa, Canada. Board-certified since 1999, Ms. Hare served as Judge Coordinator for ten years from 2008 to 2018, and as a BCG Trustee from 2009 to 2018. Because BCG judges are anonymous, her service received no public acknowledgment. During her tenure as Judge Coordinator, she facilitated improvements to BCG’S judging system. She implemented rubrics for portfolio evaluation—a ‘game changer’ for both applicants and judges. She developed the supporting infrastructure, coached judges, and monitored evaluations to improve results. As Judge Coordinator, she mentored more than forty new judges as well as provided guidance to senior members of the judging pool. She produced a judging procedure manual, guidelines for evaluation comments, and a renewal manual. She revised The BCG Application Guide five times between 2011 and 2017, and rubrics numerous times to improve clarity, and wrote OnBoard articles explaining BCG’s evaluation system and standards for continuing education.

Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG®, CGL℠, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, of Monroe, New York. Dr. Jones achieved BCG certification in 1994, and earned the Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL) credential in 2000. His contributions to BCG’s mission include a collaborative leadership role in the development and evolution of genealogical standards, the education of thousands of genealogists, and a body of literature considered essential reading. He served as a BCG Trustee from 1997 to 2007 and 2011 to 2014. He was a member of the Executive Committee for three years and President from 1999 to 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. As writer, lecturer, and teacher, he has promoted the upholding of high genealogical standards to thousands.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG®, CGL℠, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, of Hendersonville, Tennessee. Ms. Mills earned the CG credential in 1976, and CGL in 1988. She has continuously served BCG behind the scenes and publicly as a trustee and officer totaling twenty-four years. She held the executive offices of President (1994 to 1996), Vice President (1989 to 1994), and Member at Large (1996 to 1997). One of America’s best-known genealogists, her service to BCG has extended beyond the offices she held—notably in her roles as scholar and mentor. She led the movement to elevate the field of genealogy to an academic social science. She encourages new genealogists and seasoned associates to uphold genealogical standards, seek the best sources, assess their validity, and critically analyze the evidence to solve genealogical problems. She has shaped the intellectual direction of the field through writing, editing, teaching, and modeling amity, generosity, inquiry, and integrity.

BCG President Rick Sayre, CG®, CGL℠, FUGA, said, “BCG thanks each of these individuals for their service. They truly epitomize the level of dedication and service shown by Donn Devine.”

In 2018, BCG established the Donn Devine Award for Extraordinary Service, which recognized that “the foundation of any great organization is rooted in service; it is the nurturing force which fuels all growth.” Mr. Devine, who died last week at the age of 90, long served BCG as trustee (1992 to 2006), and as its general counsel. He first became a board-certified genealogist in 1987, a credential he last renewed at the age of 88. He qualified as a Certified Genealogical Lecturer (SM) from 2005 to 2012. He was honored with Emeritus status by the Board on October 21, 2018.

The words Certified Genealogist and letters CG are registered certification marks, and the designations CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.