About ProGen Study Groups

The History of ProGen

2007 to 2008 . . .  The Beginning

In 2007, a study group was formed to review articles published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. That initial NGSQ study group experience led Lee Anders to the idea of a peer study group using the first edition of Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills, as the study focus.
The core group began by studying a chapter or two each month and discussing it. About six months in, Lee Anders had some health issues and Angela Packer McGhie stepped up to create assignments and manage the group. Word spread about the popularity of this first group, and others wanted to join. A new group was started and named ProGen 2.

Technology Using Basecamp

By the time ProGen 3 was formed, participants realized that something exciting was taking place, and that technology could support their efforts. The Basecamp communication platform was adopted at that point as a way to submit assignments, share information, administer the program, and facilitate the monthly text-based chats.
Each month's assignment was distributed through Basecamp. To prepare for monthly “chats,” study group members wrote up their answers to each of the assigned chapter discussion questions. Group members would then meet each month in a designated “chat room” and as each question was asked "live" during the monthly hour chat, participants posted their answers in a group text meeting. Subsequent discussion ensued via text chat.
Interest continued to grow among those who wanted to study from the book Professional Genealogy and 3-5 new groups were organized each year. They are managed by a team of dedicated volunteers including Angela McGhie and then Rebecca Koford as the administrator, over 30 Certified Genealogists®  and Accredited Genealogists® that serve as mentors, ProGen alumni that serve a new group as coordinators, and many who have stepped up to be their discussion group leaders.

Angela's Vision

Over the years, some suggested that Angela convert ProGen into a profitable venture by charging higher fees, but the program is built on volunteers and colleagues helping each other to learn and develop business and writing skills. The fee has always been (and remains) nominal, covering only the costs of administering the program. At less than $100, ProGen is the most accessible virtual genealogy education available. Angela has steadfastly stood by what this independent education opportunity means to the aspiring genealogist.
As technology developed, the ProGen groups converted to live video meetings instead of text chats. This has helped participants get to know each other better and feel more comfortable offering monthly peer feedback on assignments. ProGen participants enjoy the advantage of interacting and getting to know each other “in person.” The opportunity to network and build relationships is often cited by ProGen alumni as a core benefit of the ProGen study program.

ProGen Alumni

Ashley Gonzalez

ProGen Study Groups, Inc.

Organizational Structure

ProGen is run by a group of volunteers at every level of the organization. The board of directors serve voluntarily, as do the other ongoing volunteers. Each group's administration - comprised of the mentor and coordinator - are also volunteers who generously donate their time to the education process so embraced by the ProGen heredity.

Legal Structure

ProGen is a non-profit entity registered in the state of Maryland as ProGen Study Groups, Inc. It was formally incorporated on 15 May 2020.

Connect With ProGen Study Groups

Our alumni, current students and fans stay connected with ProGen through our Facebook Page. You can too!  Check us out HERE




  • 2020 Logo Design – Samantha Koford
  • 2020 Curriculum Review Team:  Pam Anderson, Shannon Green & Cyndy Richardson
  • Website Development – Reed Powell
  • 2021 Locality Guide Procurement Team - Carolyn Williams, Barb Bombaci & Peggy Jude
  • 2021 Coordinator Tracking Sheet Development - Katie Crichton
  • 2021 Source Citation Updates - Shari Crandell
  • 2021 Onboarding Video Creation - Tamara Hallo



  • Suzanne Hoffman in honor of her ProGen 46 group, mentor Shannon Green and coordinator Kristine Smets

ProGen Alumni

Peggy Lauritzen
Peggy Lauritzen

Board of Directors

Angela Packer McGhie, CG®

Founder, Director and Past Program Administrator

Click on video to the right to watch Angela talk about the history of the ProGen program.

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG®, CGL(SM)

Director and Past Program Administrator

Click on video to the right to watch Rebecca talk about the history of the ProGen program.

Jan Joyce, DBA, CG®, CGL(SM), AG®

Director and Program Administrator



Current Administrative Volunteers

Katie Crichton


Katie Crichton
Nutley, NJ
ProGen 45
ProGen 53 Coordinator
Nicole LaRue

Application Manager

Nicole LaRue, CG®
Arnold, MD
ProGen 3 ProGen 11 Coordinator ProGen 43 & 52 Mentor
Kim Thurman

Events Manager

Kim Thurman
Shady Cove, OR
ProGen 46
ProGen 56 Coordinator
ProGen Logo


We often have single projects for which volunteers would be great. If interested contact us via
the CONTACT US page

Past Administrative Volunteers


Name ProGen Group Position Dates
Lee Anders ProGen 1 Founder April 2008 - July 2008
Allison Bowers ProGen 45 Zoom Coordinator September 2020 - Present
Stephanie Cardin ProGen 18 Secretary February 2018 - March 2020
Carla Cegelski ProGen 2 Webmaster May 2013 - 2020
Kathie Crichton ProGen 45 Secretary May 2021 - Present
Fran Ellsworth ProGen 9 Wait List Work Reviewer November 2015 - 2019
Shari Fenley ProGen 1 Wait List Work Reviewer November 2015 - 2019
Debra Hoffman ProGen 1 Board Member January 2015 - 2019
Robbie Johnson ProGen 37 Secretary March 2020 - April 2021
Jan Joyce ProGen 25 Program Administrator
Board Member & Vice President
March 2020 - Present
December 2020 - Present
Rebecca Whitman Koford ProGen 4 Program Administrator
Board Member & Board Secretary
January 2015 - December 2020
January 2015 - Present
Nicole LaRue ProGen 3 Application Manager August 2011 - Present
Angela Packer McGhie ProGen 1 Founder
Program Administrator
Board President & Treasurer
July 2008
July 2008 - December 2015
July 2008 - Present
Lynn Parent ProGen 31 Events Coordinator 2014 - February 2021
Kim Thurman ProGen 46 Events Coordinator 2021-Present

Description of ProGen Volunteer Roles in Each Group

ProGen Mentor

Each ProGen group has a mentor who is either a Certified Genealogist® or an Accredited Genealogist®. The mentor guides a ProGen study group by participating in monthly group discussions, providing expert guidance, and sharing comments on each topic. Each mentor is certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists or the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.  See the carousel below for the names of all ProGen mentors and coordinators along with their ProGen group numbers.

ProGen Coordinator

Every ProGen group also has a coordinator. The coordinator manages a ProGen study group of about 30 members who are divided into three discussion groups. The Coordinator monitors participation and reviews assignments to ensure engagement levels are met. Each coordinator is an alumnus of ProGen Study Groups.

ProGen Discussion Leader

Each student enrolled in a ProGen Study Group will take a turn as a Discussion Leader. The Discussion Leader moderates monthly discussions in a his/her own group of approximately eight study group members by asking the predetermined questions on the monthly calls and keeping the conversation moving.

Past Mentors & Coordinators