Association of Professional Genealogists Elects Billie Stone Fogarty President

Executive Committee, Board Members, and Nominating Committee Elected for the Next Term

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 5 November 2015−Today the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) announced election results for its 2016–17 executive committee, as well as for nine board members, and two nominating committee members. Billie Fogarty, M.Ed., of Oklahoma City was elected president. An APG Life Member, Fogarty has served in many different capacities within the organization. She recently completed her fourth year as president of the Genealogical Speakers Guild. A frequent speaker at national conferences, she is also active on the regional, state, and local levels in advancing genealogical research and open records access as a state liaison for the Records Preservation and Access Committee. She has worked diligently for the Oklahoma Genealogical Society, with seven terms as president.

“What an exciting time to be a professional genealogist!” said Billie Fogarty, APG President Elect. “Our chosen field continues to make significant strides with APG standing strong beside us. The talent of the elected board members plus the dedication of members working at all levels in the chapters and committees will ensure that we make positive contributions to the goal of promoting the highest ethical standards for genealogy.”

Fogarty will succeed Kimberly T. Powell of Oakdale, Pennsylvania, who will continue on the board as APG Past President.

“We thank Kimberly for her service,” said Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG, APG Executive Director. “Among her many contributions to the organization, Kimberly was instrumental in developing the APG webinar series, a successful educational program that showcases our members and furthers genealogical learning. She passes the baton to Billie Fogarty, a proven leader in the field and longtime advocate for APG. I look forward to working with her, the new executive committee, and the new board.”

APG Executive Committee

Catherine Desmarais, CG, of Vermont, was elected for a second term as APG Vice President. She is a professional genealogist and works on U.S. Army military repatriation cases. She serves on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy and is an APG Quarterly Advisory Committee member.

Amy E. K. Arner, of Pennsylvania, will serve as APG Secretary. Arner specializes in Western Pennsylvania research and editing genealogical works. A current board member, she was previously president of the Great Lakes Chapter of APG. In 2015, she received APG's Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit. She serves as chair of APG’s Publications Advisory Committee and proofreads the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.

Sandra Hildreth Ball, CPA, of Utah, was elected as APG Treasurer. She holds a Masters in Accountancy and spent most of her career in financial services at a large nonprofit. She also has served as treasurer for her local Red Cross, the Community Services Council, and more. A longtime genealogist, she has published three books and a journal article in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

APG members elected the following board members for two-year terms:

Region 1 West: Barbara Ball, CG, of Arizona, is a professional genealogist with a background in GIS (geographic information systems) analysis. She would like to serve as an advocate for the genealogists in areas where access to large archives is difficult and research opportunities scarce.

Region 2 Midwest: Cari Taplin, CG, of Texas, is a past president of the Boulder Genealogical Society and has also served as on board or committee positions with the Austin Genealogical Society, Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She has had articles published in the Boulder Genealogical Society Quarterly, Digital Genealogist, and the NGS Magazine.

Region 3 Southeast: Clarise (Fleck) Soper, CG, of Mississippi, specializes in Mississippi and Alabama genealogy and is the corresponding secretary for the Mississippi Genealogical Society. She, with others in 2012, founded the Jasper County (Mississippi) Genealogical and Historical Society and served as its first president. She is also a volunteer coordinator for the ProGen Study Group Program.

Region 4 Northeast: Vicki Wright, J.D., of New York, is a genealogist and family historian who grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from the Boston University Center for Professional Education. She is an alumna of ProGen Study Group 11 and is a member of several societies, including the Minisink Valley Historical Society, the Orange County (New York) Genealogical Society, and the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society.

Region 5 Canada: Christine Woodcock, of Ontario, is the Scottish-born, Canadian-raised owner of Genealogy Tours of Scotland. She blogs, lectures, edits several newsletters, and is a past editor of British Connections. She chairs the Scottish Special Interest Group of the Ontario Genealogical Society and is responsible for planning the annual Symposium on Scottish Genealogy as well as a webinar series promoting the skills of experts in Scottish research.

Region 6 Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales: Fiona Fitzsimons is a genealogist and a director for Eneclann, a Trinity College Campus company, and findmypast Ireland. She was invited by the White House to present to First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters the Irish roots of President Barack Obama. Her research credits include more than 20 television episodes, including Who Do You Think You Are? and PBS’s Faces of America and Finding Our Roots. Her goal for APG is to promote the study of Irish family history worldwide.

Region 7 International: Benjamin Hollister of Australia specializes in German research, as well as specialist services such as digital photo restoration and collection management. He has a background in training and corporate management and has served on the board of the South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society. Committed to ongoing professional development, Benjamin has completed several graduate certificates in leadership, management, and applied history and heritage studies.

APG members elected three at-large board members:

Sharon Atkins of Arizona is a genealogist with a background in marketing and sales. She is a cofounder of GenBiz Solutions and the author of several books and guides on genealogy and other topics. She is immediate past president of the Arizona Council of Professional Genealogists.

Valerie Elkins of Utah manages a successful genealogy research company and serves as an International Research Specialist for the Family History Library. For the Utah Genealogical Association, she has served on the board of directors, as publicity chair, and on the executive board. For APG, she has a particular interest in encouraging more involvement and representation for more countries, ethnic groups, and cultures.

Eric Stroschein of Washington runs a genealogical research firm with his wife, Karen Stroschein, and is a 26-year veteran of the Seattle Fire Department. Eric is the current chair of APG’s Advocacy Committee. He serves as an APG representative on the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) for the Federation of Genealogical Societies and is also a state representative for the RPAC. He is past --resident of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Elected to one-year terms on the nominations committee are: J. H. (Jay) Fonkert, CG, of Minnesota, a professional genealogist and lecturer who has served on the APG board since 2010, and Darcie M. Hind Posz, CG, of the District of Columbia, a professional genealogist and writer who serves as president of the National Capital Area Chapter of APG.

“Congratulations to our new and returning board members,” said APG President, Kimberly T. Powell. “It has been an honor to serve the members of APG, and to work with such an outstanding, passionate group of board members. Please join me in thanking Kathy Hinckley, my fellow executive committee members, and our retiring board members, for the time and talent they have gifted to all of us in the genealogy community. I’m proud of what the board has and continues to accomplish, and look forward to APG’s continued commitment to increasing public awareness of and trust in professional genealogists, and advancing the genealogical profession. I’m excited to see where the new board takes us under Billie’s leadership.”

Retiring from the board:
Kenyatta D. Berry
J. H. (Jay) Fonkert, CG
Michael Goldstein
Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG
Valerie Eichler Lair
Joan Peake
Darcie M. Hind Posz, CG
Janice Prater
Tina Sansone
Louise St Denis

About the Association of Professional Genealogists

The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents more than 2,700 genealogists, librarians, writers, editors, historians, instructors, booksellers, publishers, and others involved in genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy and history. Its members represent all fifty states, Canada, and thirty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter (, and Facebook (