Debbie Parker Wayne Memorial Scholarship

DebbiePWThe BCG Education Fund is pleased to announce a new Debbie Parker Wayne Memorial Scholarship. This annual award provides a guaranteed seat and covers registration for one student for the Putting Skills to Work workshop, held annually at the National Genealogical Society conference.

Debbie Parker Wayne passed away early in 2022 and left a legacy as a highly respected and valued member of our genealogy community. She volunteered as the coordinator of ProGen Study Group 2 and subsequently earned her Certified Genealogist credential in 2010. Debbie was elected as a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and she served four years as a trustee of the BCG Education Fund. She was also DNA Project Chair for the Texas State Genealogical Society and the Early Texans DNA Project.

Debbie was a pioneer in genetic genealogy instruction. She authored a regular column in NGS Magazine on using DNA analysis for genealogical research. She taught the first DNA workshop at a national conference in 2015 at the National Genealogical Society conference sponsored by the BCG Education Fund. Debbie was also the course coordinator for the first beginner and intermediate DNA courses offered at four major US genealogy institutes. She co-authored the book Genetic Genealogy in Practice with Blaine Bettinger, and she edited Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies, which includes a chapter she wrote.

Debbie was widely known for her excellence as an instructor. She was humble and kind, incredibly organized, and a generous and valued mentor to many. This award honors her memory.

Photo used with permission by CeCe Moore. 

Application Procedure

Successful applicants should demonstrate a genuine passion for researching family history and a commitment to improving their skills through quality education. The committee will be looking for a candidate who embodies many of the extraordinary qualities Debbie brought to the genealogy community.

Applications should include:

  • Contact information (name, address, email, phone)
  • A short essay (400-600 words). Please describe your passion for genealogy, previous genealogy education and/or experience, and how the upcoming Putting Skills to Work workshop will help you advance your goals.

Submit applications through this form or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The BCG Education Fund trustees will establish a committee to review applications; the committee’s decisions are final. The deadline for applications is December 1st for attendance at the following year’s Putting Skills to Work workshop. 

 Debbie Parker Wayne Scholarship Recipients

Shannon Wood Byers2024 - Shannon Wood Byers is the founder and CEO of NOKfinders, a low-profit organization that works with medical examiners, funeral homes and other agencies to find family of unclaimed and missing persons. Through NOKfinders Academy, members develop their forensic genealogy skills by working on live cases. She holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University, completed ProGen, and has training in forensic genealogy from SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy) Academy and GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh). She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists where she serves on the Professional Development Committee and is the VP of the Forensic Special Interest Group.

Sally Hamblen


2023 - Sally D. Hamblen, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, has been a genealogist for many years. She holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and recently completed the ProGen study group. Writing family history is a favorite pursuit, and she has been published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and The American Genealogist. Next year, 2023 will be dedicated to writing her portfolio for certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.



The words Certified Genealogist and the designation CG are registered certification marks, and the designations CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®.

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