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.

Helen Leary 150x150Throughout 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


The 2018 schedule includes a lecture at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2–5 May 2018; and at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) National Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 22-25 August 2018.

2018 Leary Distinguished Lecturer

David Ouimette CROP 150x150David Ouimette, CG, CGL, will be the featured speaker at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2018 family history conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

David will present “Growing Trees with Good DNA-Case Studies in Genetic Genealogy.”

We demonstrate the power of DNA as a family history tool, using case studies that apply genetic genealogy techniques and research standards to solve challenging family history problems.



David Ouimette, CG, CGL, BCG trustee, manages Content Strategy at FamilySearch, prioritizing historical documents worldwide for digital preservation and online publication in support of family history research. His team prioritizes camera placement and targets records in national, regional, and local archives; they also guide record selection for collaborative projects with commercial partners such as, Findmypast, and MyHeritage. David has conducted research in hundreds of archives in over fifty countries spanning all continents. Previously, David was product manager at, responsible for family trees, United States records, Y-DNA testing, and the search experience. David regularly lectures at national genealogical conferences and institutes. He serves as a Trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has served as Vice President of the Utah Genealogical Association and on the board of the National Genealogical Society. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mathematics from Brigham Young University, has contributed articles to many magazines and journals, and authored Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide. David and his wife, Deanna, live in Highland, Utah, and are the parents of eight children.

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. “Ethics in Genealogy – Professional and Personal,” 2016 NGS Conference. “Ethics in Genealogy – Commercial Products and Services,” 2016 FGS Conference.
Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL. “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Professional and Personal Genealogical Standard,” 2017 NGS Conference. “Rainbows and Kaleidoscopes: Inclusion as a Society and Corporate Genealogical Standard,” 2017 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.