15 August 2007
Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG, Executive Director, Association of Professional Genealogists
P.O. Box 350998, Westminster, CO 80035-0998
Phone 303-465-6980, fax 303-456-8825, e-mail

APG Honors Helen F. M. Leary and Elizabeth Shown Mills

Members of the Association of Professional Genealogists gathered in Fort Wayne Indiana on August 15th to honor two members for their professional accomplishments.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) named Helen F. M. Leary, CG as the first recipient of the new APG Honorary Lifetime Membership Award and Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL as the first recipient of the APG Professional Achievement Award. The awards were presented during the APG Professional Management Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The two new awards were created in 2007 to recognize significant contributions to the field of genealogy by APG members. APG created the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award for achievement in genealogy which has spanned a significant length of time and the Professional Achievement Award to highlight a record of exceptional professional achievement through individual excellence and ethical behavior.

Before making the presentations, Sharon Tate Moody, APG President, explained that APG has never given awards that highlighted member contribution to the field of genealogy itself. Traditionally the association’s major award has been the Grahame T. Smallwood Award of Merit for significant contribution to APG itself.

“APG is proud to have the caliber of members who significantly impact an entire profession. Both of the recipients set the standard for which all members can strive to excel,” Moody said.

Leary, a noted author, speaker and professional genealogist from North Carolina, has been recognized for creating an excellent body of work in the field of genealogy.

Her contributions to the genealogical community include service as president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and the North Carolina Genealogical Society. She has also been a trustee for BCG and APG. Leary is considered a leading authority on early families of the Upper South and is widely known for her study of Sally Hemings’ children and for the subsequent publication of her work in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ).

As evidence of her vast contribution to the genealogical community in October 2006 the BCG Education Fund established the Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series in her honor. At the award ceremony, APG President, Sharon Tate Moody, described Leary’s contributions to genealogy saying that “at no point in our lives will many of us able to look back on our careers and say we made such significant impact on the field that we love so much.”

Mills, author of thirteen books, has been recognized for her excellent example of genealogical professionalism and continual contribution to the field through writings, lecturing, and service.

Mills has served the genealogical community in many capacities including former editor of the NGSQ, past president of the American Society of Genealogists, past president and trustee of the BCG.

Mills has delivered over 500 lectures nationally and internationally, and has appeared on radio and TV talk shows on three continents. Two of her books made a lasting impact on the profession of genealogy. She authored Evidence and edited Professional Genealogy, considered classics and essentials to the shelves of every professional genealogist’s book case. Her newest endeavor, the newly-released Evidence Explained, promises to become the definitive word on genealogical source citations.

When presenting the award Sharon Tate Moody noted that “all of us watch Elizabeth and what she does and says. We strive to understand why she does the things she does – so we can emulate her and perhaps achieve one or two of the things she has. Isn’t that real achievement: when people can look at you and say ‘that is a professional genealogist’?

APG (, established in 1979, represents professional genealogists, people in related professions, and others who do professional-quality work for hire or for themselves. It has more than 1,800 members worldwide.