About NGS

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the National Genealogical Society consists of the elected officers (President, Vice Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer), nine directors, and the most recent former president willing to serve.

Article VII of the National Genealogical Society Bylaws details the responsibilities of the Board of Directors. >

NGS Board Members (Effective 1 October 2020)
Position Name Home State Term Expires
President Kathryn M. Doyle California 2022
Vice President Ellen Pinckney Balthazar Texas 2022
VP Soc & Org Management Cheri Hudson Passey South Carolina 2022
Secretary Ronald V. Hodges, PhD California 2022
Treasurer Deborah Lebo Hoskins, CPA Pennsylvania 2022
Director Region 1 Angie Bush, MS Utah 2022
Director Region 2 Faye Jenkins Stallings, CG Texas 2022
Director Region 3 Marlis Humphrey Florida 2022
Director Region 4 Bernice Alexander Bennett Maryland 2024
Director at Large Janet A. Alpert, FNGS South Carolina 2022
Director at Large Ed Donakey Utah 2022
Director at Large Andre Kearns Washington, D.C. 2024
Director at Large Judy Nimer Muhn Michigan 2024
Director at Large David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA Utah 2022
Past President Benjamin B. Spratling, JD Alabama 2022

2020 NGS Region Map

NGS Current Board Biographies

The following are biographical sketches of members of the Board of Directors:

President: Kathryn M. Doyle, California

Kathryn DoyleKathryn M. Doyle has been a member of the NGS Board of Directors since 2016. She served as vice president for two years and chaired the policies and procedures committee while overseeing the society’s social media channels. She joined the NGS membership committee in 2015 and served as its chair through 2018. Doyle was the communications director at the California Genealogical Society (CGS) from 2007–2013 where she edited the CGS e-News and wrote its award-winning blog.

Doyle has been researching her mother’s Japanese, her husband’s Greek, and her father’s Irish and English ancestry since 1999. Her genealogy education includes Boston University’s Online Certificate in Genealogical Research (OL5), ProGen28, Genealogical Institute of Federal Records (Gen-Fed), and several institute courses. She holds a degree in pharmacy from the University of Michigan and pursued a career in hospital pharmacy administration until retirement. She resides with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Vice President: Ellen Pinckney Balthazar, Texas

Ellen Pinckney Balthazar joined the NGS Board of Directors in 2018. She currently co-chairs the planning committee, focusing on building organizational capacity and strategic planning. In the Austin, Texas, area she leads a collaborative initiative to preserve the collections and advance public access and programming of the local history center. A member of DAR for more than forty years, Balthazar got hooked on family history when she collected stories, pictures, and recipes from descendants of her great-grandparents to produce a cookbook.

A retired marketing and non-profit executive, she honed her consumer research skills at Procter & Gamble, her brand marketing expertise at Frito-Lay, and her public relations acumen in the international division of PepsiCo’s restaurant businesses. In 2005, Ellen successfully transitioned this business and marketing experience to the not-for-profit sector, becoming CEO of a leading 501(c) (3) organization in Austin, Texas, focused on children’s issues. Under her leadership, the organization doubled the number of families served, as well as the budget. Since retiring in 2012, she has enjoyed being a volunteer mentor and consultant to non-profit organizations. She also has served her local community as a trustee on the school board since 2001. A University of Georgia Bulldog (BSHEJ, MS), she and her husband live in Austin with their children and grandchildren right around the corner.

Vice President Society & Organization Management: Cheri Hudson Passey, South Carolina

Cheri Hudson PasseyCheri Hudson Passey is a professional genealogist, instructor, writer, and speaker and the owner of Carolina Girl Genealogy, LLC, which provides research services as well as instruction and coaching through her Genealogy 1-on-1 classes. Passey is the host of the genealogy chat show GenFriends seen on YouTube and is a genealogical researcher, subcontracted by Eagle Investigative Services, Inc., for the US Army Past Conflict Repatriations Branch. Passey enjoys volunteering and serving the genealogy community. She is a past president of The Grand Strand Genealogy Club and currently serves as program chair. She is treasurer of GeneaBloggersTRIBE and served as secretary for the Federation of Genealogical Societies before its merger with NGS.

Secretary: Ronald V. Hodges, PhD, California

Ronald V HodgesRonald V. Hodges has served on the NGS board and the technology committee since 2014.  As of October 2018 he became chair of the technology committee. In 2018 he joined the education committee. A scientist and amateur genealogist, he began researching his family’s genealogy in 1999. In 2004, he and Terry Barton founded the Hodges-Hodge surname DNA project at FamilyTreeDNA. He is co-administrator of the project, which has more than 400 participants with seventeen identified Hodge(s) lineages. He is a member of the Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group, NEHGS, and NYG&B.

Hodges studied chemistry at Southern Nazarene University and the California Institute of Technology. He is a retired senior staff chemist from the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center and lives in Palo Alto, California.

Treasurer: Deborah Lebo Hoskins, CPA, Pennsylvania

Deborah Lebo Hoskins wrote her first family history in the fifth grade as a requirement for her social studies class. Her interest in genealogy was sparked when she cleaned out her mother’s attic in 2009 and found many original genealogical records. She is her family’s historian and her current focus is on a surname study of her mother’s maternal line beginning in the mid-1700s. She has attended the last seven NGS annual conferences, classes at GRIP and SLIG, and has taken part in the Mastering Genealogical Proof online class and an NGSQ study group.

A 2015 graduate of the NGS Home Study Course, Hoskins completed the Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research Program in May 2016 and the APG ProGen Study Group in November 2017.  She plans on starting her certified genealogist journey in 2020–2021.

Hoskins recently retired as vice president of finance for Hunterdon Healthcare System in Flemington, NJ. She is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.  She received a BS in accounting from Elizabethtown College Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in public administration from Penn State University. She and her husband currently reside in Pennsylvania but have become “snowbirds,” wintering in Florida.

Director Region 1: Angie Bush, MS, Utah

Angie Bush has served on the NGS Board of Directors since 2014. In addition to her responsibilities as Region 1 director, she is chair of its genetic genealogy committee and a full-time senior genealogist with Ancestry ProGenealogists in Salt Lake City. As one of the most sought after genetic genealogists and internationally recognized educators in the field, Bush combines years of experience in biotech with a passion for genealogical research and a unique ability to solve seemingly impossible cases. Her primary research interests include cases of unknown parentage, such as recent adoption and donor conception; triangulating answers to tough genealogical questions using traditional records and genetic evidence; non-traditional families; and the LGBTQ community.

Bush is an active, national lecturer, presenting frequently on new trends in genetic genealogy. Behind her passion for research lies the belief that genealogy is an opportunity to connect with people from around the world and to enable them to connect with each other. She enjoys attending conferences and events where she can connect with others who share her passion for genealogy.

Director Region 2: Faye Jenkins Stallings, Texas

Faye Jenkins Stallings is an avid genealogist conducting family history research in the south for more than 30 years. As President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, she was instrumental in the successful execution of the merger with NGS. Faye also currently serves as a board member for her local Montgomery County Genealogical and Historical Society and she is the Director of the Family History Center in Conroe, Texas. She is a professional genealogist at Southern Hearts Genealogy and received her Certified Genealogist® credential in 2018.

In her prior professional career, Stallings was a Certified Public Accountant and has held various corporate positions with a Fortune 100 company, including Assistant Corporate Controller, subsidiary Controller and Chief Financial Officer, General Auditor and Chief Ethics Officer. She also served as a volunteer for the Houston Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors in a number of positions, including Chapter Governance Task Force member, President and Board member. She is now very happily retired, and enjoys spending more time with her family, both the living and the dead.

Director Region 3: Marlis Humphrey, Florida

Marlis HumphreyMarlis Humphrey is a professional genealogist and a frequent speaker at genealogy conferences. Humphrey serves as president of the Florida State Genealogical Society and past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. She is CEO and co-founder of the L’Dor V’Dor Foundation and its Documentation of Jewish Records Worldwide project. Elected to the NGS board in 2020, Marlis served on the NGS Mar/Com Team and currently sits on the Governance and Development Committees.

Humphrey is a senior executive who drives global growth through innovation in the face of disruptive technology in both the commercial and non-profit sectors. She has served on and led national and international non-profit and trade association boards for three decades. She has an MS in Management of Technology, University of Miami, and a  BA in Russian Language with a minor in Math and Computer Science from Knox College, Illinois, She is passionate about the discovery of unknown ancestors, teaching others to be successful, and the sharing of family histories.

Director Region 4: Bernice Alexander Bennett, Maryland

Bernice Alexander BennettBernice Alexander Bennett is a genealogist, author, lecturer, storyteller, and producer-host of the popular Research at the National Archives and Beyond! Blogtalkradio show. Bennett serves as the chair of the membership committee for NGS. She is a founding member and vice president of the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute and serves on its faculty. She is the author of Tracing Their Steps: A Memoir (2019) and co-author of Our Ancestors, Our Stories (2014). In addition, she has published in several genealogical journals and other publications, and she has presented at the major genealogical meetings and conferences.

A graduate of Grambling State University (Louisiana) and the University of Michigan, School of Public Health, she enjoyed a thirty-five-year career in domestic and international public health. Bennett also has served on several non-profit boards, including Planned Parenthood, National Capital Area, and the Infusion Nurses Association and is a former board president of the YWCA National Capital Area.

Past President: Benjamin B. Spratling, JD, Alabama

Ben Spratling Ben Spratling has served on the NGS Board of Directors since 2012, including four years as president (2016-present) and two years as vice president (2014-2016). He is a coordinator and lecturer at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) where he has been a member of the faculty since 1992. He is the author of the “Court and Legal Records” chapter of Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records.

Spratling is a member of the Birmingham, Alabama, law firm, Haskell Slaughter & Spratling, LLC. He received his law degree (JD) from Vanderbilt University Law School and his undergraduate degree (BS, Economics) from Auburn University. He also received a master’s degree (LLM, Taxation) from the University of Alabama School of Law. Spratling is a former adjunct instructor of Business Law at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. For the past 20-plus years, Ben has received the highest “Peer Review Rating” (AV Preeminent) from Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, and he has been listed in each annual edition of The Best Lawyers in America since 2010.

Director at Large: Janet A. Alpert, FNGS, South Carolina

Jan AlpertJanet A. Alpert served as secretary of NGS from 2004-2006 and as president of NGS from 2006-2010. She has recently served on the NGS Board as a past president. She returned to the NGS Board of Directors in the summer of 2018 to fill an unexpired at-large term. She also serves the genealogy field as chair of the records preservation and access committee (RPAC). A member of DAR, Alpert’s genealogical research extends from New England, New York, and Pennsylvania to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. She also works with DNA cousins to help identify new family relationships.

Alpert accepted leadership roles for three of the NGS Family History Conferences. She was conference chair in 2011 for the Charleston, South Carolina, conference and in 2018 for the Grand Rapids, Michigan, conference. In 2014, she was a co-chair for the Family History conference in Richmond, Virginia. She currently serves as chair of the NGS conference committee.

A resident Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Alpert is retired from a thirty-five year career in the title insurance industry.

Director at Large: Ed Donakey, Utah

Ed DonakeyEd Donakey is vice president of strategic relations and deputy chief genealogical officer at FamilySearch International where he manages the Chief Genealogical Office. Additionally, he works with genealogical societies and others to identify partnerships and fund-raising opportunities and to develop solutions to acquire critical genealogical data. A professional strategist and past CEO, he also provides business and technology support to genealogical societies, non-profits, and emerging businesses. Donakey’s genealogical interests keep him in the Deep South, Ireland, and Scotland as he researches his ancestors daily. He served as a member of the FGS board of directors, and was their past vice president of development, responsible for fundraising and partnerships. While the VP of development, Donakey also served as the National Conference co-chair for the 2014 FGS Conference in San Antonio, Texas. He also completed a five-year term on the advisory board of the Utah IT Symposium and served as the chair of the Kids On The Move board of directors. Rounding out his schedule, he sits on, or has sat on, executive advisory councils or boards at Calera KK, Dell, HP, Oracle, Altiris, and other technology organizations. A happily married father and grandfather, Donakey was elected six straight years to the v|Spring v100, recognizing the top one hundred entrepreneurs in Utah. His undergraduate and graduate studies were in philosophy and political philosophy respectively at BYU.

Director at Large: Andre Kearns, Washington, DC

Andre KearnsAndre Kearns serves as chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee. He is a genealogist, public speaker, commentator and writer with deep roots in the American south and a passion for discovering new ancestors and learning their stories. As an African American, he knew he descended from enslaved persons and likely slave owners which DNA analysis has helped to confirm. Through his research he also discovered ancestors who were free people of color long before the civil war, Native American, and multi-racial persons. Discovering this ancestry has unlocked previously unknown rich aspects of American history. Genealogy has been Andre’s hobby for fifteen years. He holds a BA in Business Administration from Morehouse College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He shares his research findings at CumboFamily.com and regularly blogs on race, culture, history and genealogy at www.medium/@andrekearns.

Director at Large: Judy Nimer Muhn, Michigan

Judy Nimer MuhnJudy Nimer Muhn has been researching her family from the age of twelve, specializing in French-Canadian, Acadian, Native American, and Michigan research. Since starting her career as a professional genealogist in Europe in 1993, she has lectured at NGS Family History Conferences, RootsTech, and Federation of Genealogical Societies as well as conferences in Europe and throughout the United States. Traveling extensively around the world, Muhn has visited and researched in the villages and archives of Germany, Scotland, France, Quebec, and Ontario where her or her husband’s family lived.

Muhn owns Lineage Journeys and is the president of the Oakland County Genealogical Society, vice-president and social media committee member and blogger for the Michigan Genealogical Council, and serves as secretary for the GeneaBloggers. She is a member of NGS, Ontario and Quebec genealogical societies, Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, and many more. A nonprofit specialist, Muhn is an organizational development consultant for NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work) in Ann Arbor. Previously, she was a member of the executive staff for Girl Scouting, the American Red Cross, and various United Way locations.

Director at Large: David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, Utah

David E RencherDavid E. Rencher is employed as the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. A professional genealogist since 1977, he is one of the rare few who have earned both credentials: Accredited Genealogist® with ICAPGen in Ireland research (1981) and Certified Genealogist® with the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2006). He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) in Athens, Georgia, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a BA in Family and Local History. He is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 1997–2000, a past-president of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) 1993–1995 and a Fellow of that organization. He is a fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London. He is the past chair of the joint National Genealogical Society and International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies committee for the Record Preservation and Access Coalition; he serves as a director on the board of the National Genealogical Society and as a counselor for the New England Historic Genealogical Society.