1. Do I have to travel to Salt Lake City to take the exam?
Not necessarily. Arrangements may be made to take the exam at a location near you.
2. How do I choose an area for Accreditation?
- Think of an area in which you enjoy doing research. It must be a place in which you have had extensive research experience. You must have 1,000 hours of research experience and education to qualify for testing. At least 500 of these hours should be in the region of interest.
- If you do not have any direct ancestors who lived very long in your chosen geographic area, you may gain experience by researching descendants of a family who did stay in one place. Researching individuals who are not related to you, but lived in your chosen area, could also give you experience that would be valuable on the examination.
3. Why the regional focus?
The regional focus allows you to demonstrate your depth of knowledge of the key records, history, geography, and language of the region of interest in measurable ways.
4. What does prior to 1900 mean?
Person #1 on the pedigree must have a birth date on or before 1900. Other children in the family may have later birth dates.
5. What do you mean by turning in a “four-generation project?”
- The research project requires a treatment of four couples in a direct lineal ancestry, e.g., child, parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent.
- You may follow the male or female ancestral lines or it can be a combination of both.
- The person of interest on the most recent generation must have been born on or before 1900.
- Each generation of the families you are submitting must have lived in the region for which you are applying.
- The project should include the following elements:
- A well-written four-generation project research report . Recommend length of report about 25 pages but not to exceed 40 pages.
- Documented family group records for the chosen direct line ancestors.
- Pedigree chart
- Research calendar (a.k.a. “research log”) listing all sources researched
- Scanned images of only the documents mentioned in the research report that proves the generational links.
See The Four-generation Research Report for additional help.
6. Do the people I submit have to be my relatives?
No, you may choose any family that you have personally researched and that meets the requirements of the project.
7. How do I find qualifying people for my project?
Here are some options:
- If your subject was born after 1900, did he/she have a sibling born before that date? Select any sibling born on or before 1900 as the first person in the study.
- Look for siblings of the people in generations two and three. They may have descendants born on or before 1900 in the geographical area.
- If all else fails, choose another family entirely. One way to fulfill this requirement is to pick a family that is known to have lived in the region of interest for several generations and research and report on them.
8. How much information should be included for other children in the family (siblings of the direct line ancestor) if they have no direct bearing? Their marriages? Their military service? Probate even if it doesn’t name other siblings/the direct line ancestor? Or can I just say “they were born x date and place; maybe research them in the future.”
A complete family group record would include research on each of the children in the family as well as the parents. You don’t need to go into great detail but at least give names and report on completion status of the family analysis. Primary focus is on generational links. Show that you know complete research involves the entire family. You may refer the reader to “see family group record” unless it’s key to proving the linkages.
9. I’ve been researching my family for several years, but when I began my research I didn’t keep a research calendar. Should I try to re-create my calendar or research a new family for my accreditation project?
Here are some options:
- Treat the project as an update of previous research. Create a research log (calendar) to reflect the previous research and any additional research that you do.
- Use a recent project. You can showcase your best work in a recent project. You will not have to reconstruct anything and you will be using current resources.
10. What method of source citation should I use?
ICAPGen does not require the use of one particular source citation method, but expects that applicants will select and consistently use a method that contains all the primary source elements.
11. What if I have conflicting information about a significant event, such as a birth, marriage, or death?
Genealogists know that there are times when two or more sources give conflicting information. Be sure you have thoroughly researched as many sources as possible to resolve this conflict. In your report, provide all the information you have and where the information was found. If you believe one source is more reliable than another, give your reasons.
12. May I use the published research of other people?
Many secondary lineages contain errors, and a good researcher uses these lineages only as guides to begin the project. If you find that the secondary source is correct, you must cite the documents used to prove its accuracy. Be sure to include the secondary source on your research log to show your research process.
13. Will I be required to translate documents?
If your area of accreditation is a country that uses another language besides English, you should be able to translate a document from that language into English. You should also be able to request a record from that country in their language. In some cases you will need to translate a few lines in Latin if your area of accreditation uses Latin consistently in its work. Remember the tests are open-book tests so you can bring with you any printed aids with which you feel comfortable.
14. What documents should I be able to recognize?
It is expected that the candidate has had sufficient experience in the key documents of each state/or region represented in their selected geographic area. In addition, they should be familiar with the key general United States (or foreign federal government if their area is not in the U.S.) documents to recognize the document on sight, and to know the value of those documents in genealogy. Refer to our recommended record types pages.
15. How does your examination process determine how well a candidate transcribes and abstracts a sample document?
You will be given documents to transcribe and abstract. A distinction is made between a transcription and an abstraction. When the candidate is asked to “transcribe” a document, every letter is expected to be written as it appears in the original document. To be true to the original document, no updates such as spelling or grammatical changes are made. When “abstracting” a document, it is important that a test candidate captures the information that would be useful to a genealogical researcher including names, dates, relationships, or items that could prove a name, date, or relationship.
16. If I don’t pass a section of the exam, do I have to start over at the beginning?
No. You do not have to start at the beginning of the process again. Retakes are given on the section of the exam for which you did not pass with 90% or better.
17. When researching a line where adoption is involved, do we need to include information on the biological family?
Information about the biological family would not be required. If you choose to trace the court-appointed parents of an adopted child, it is the same as if the child was a blood descendant. Be sure to include information in your research report to show the child was adopted or lived in a guardianship relationship.
18. What are the accreditation renewal requirements?
- Renewal every five years
- Annual fees are current
- Renewal application form
- Verifiable active participation in research and education specific to the region of accreditation
- Current research report
- Signed Professional Ethics Agreement
One must be an Accredited Genealogist® professional and logged in to view the specific requirements on the “Renew Your Credentials”
19. If I have a CG credential or an AG credential in another region am I expected to meet the same requirements as someone without any credential?
ICAPGen recognizes that a person with a genealogy credential has demonstrated a high level of genealogical research ability. ICAPGen offers genealogists with either a CG or an AG credential the opportunity to apply for a second credential with reduced (by half) experience hours.
20. How much does it cost to become an Accredited Genealogist professional?
For cost see Pay Fee page.
21. What are ICAPGen’s testing levels?
The levels program segments the accreditation process into three distinct levels, allowing applicants more time to prepare for each level. The three levels are:
- Level 1:
- Level 2: four sections of the written exam that test knowledge of record content and usage.
- Level 3: two sections of the written exam that test skills in data analysis, research planning, methodology, and report writing, with the oral exam following.
22. How do you evaluate a candidate’s understanding of the Genealogical Proof Standard?
ICAPGen exams are designed to measure the skills needed for a professional genealogist to solve a client’s research problem as quickly and cost effectively as possible. ICAPGen exams assess the depth and breadth of a professional’s knowledge of the key records, history, geography, and language of their region of interest, along with their skills in research planning, evidence analysis, methodology, and report writing. Professional genealogical research standards, including the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), are used in the evaluation of the submitted four-generation project and ICAPGen exams. Information about the GPS can be found on the Board for Certification of Genealogists website.
23. Do we need a separate research calendar/log for each generation?
Most applicants use a separate one per generation but other research calendars/logs are accepted. Projects sometimes dictate that a research calendar/log is used for each repository, locality, or objective. Cross-reference calendars/logs as needed for clarity.
24. When some of the families lived outside the region of interest for a period of time, how much attention should be given to the research of other regions?
Summaries of research for other regions might be necessary to provide background but the main focus of the report should be on the region of interest.
25. How do we record localities when political jurisdiction changed over time?
Record the political jurisdiction that existed at the time of the event (e.g. born 1800, Union District, South Carolina). However, when quoting a source that uses a different format, quote the jurisdiction as it appears in the source and include a bracketed note that clarifies the applicable jurisdiction (e.g. “. . .he was born in 1838 in Simcoe, Lincoln County, Ontario, Canada” [at the time it would have been Simcoe, Upper Canada]).
26. For the pedigree analysis, do the steps of research need to be listed in the order that we suggest they be performed or can we just list the suggested steps?
The requirements vary by region. Follow the instructions given.
27. I don’t use pedigree charts and family group records for my client research. Why do I need to include them with my four-generation project?
Pedigree charts and family group records (also referred to as “family group sheets”) are common
tools for planning, managing, and summarizing genealogical projects. It is necessary that you
demonstrate your familiarity with these forms. You will also be expected to use them during the
Level 3 testing.