The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, internationally recognized as ICAPGen, is a professional credentialing organization dedicated to testing an individual’s competence in genealogical research. The organization is administered by a board of qualified Commissioners with many years of experience.
Examinations are given to applicants demonstrating sufficient theoretical and practical research backgrounds. A different exam is given for each geographical region, so individuals who pass an exam are rightfully designated as research experts in that region. Exams may also include subjects of specialization. See the ICAPGen website for a current list of regions of accreditation and specialty: https://www.icapgen.org/testing-regions/
There are many benefits to becoming an Accredited Genealogist professional. Some of these include:
- Holding a highly-respected credential that has been recognized by the professional genealogical community for over fifty years;
- Independent verification of genealogical skills and knowledge;
- Specialized expertise in specific regions of the world;
- Increased credibility based on adherence to ICAPGen’s Code of Ethics;
- Greater marketability as a practicing professional genealogist;
- Opportunities to serve within the ICAPGen organization; and
- Holding a credential accepted by most courts for expert witness testimony in estate and kinship matters.
In addition, ICAPGen will:
- Provide an AG identification card and a certificate for display;
- Provide space on the ICAPGen website for a customized bio of the AG professional that can include contact information, research specialties, and other relevant service related information;
- Upon request, provide a letter of introduction for the AG professional;
- Defend the AG credential and certification marks; and
- Act as an intermediary in protecting interests of both the consumer and the AG professional.
To learn about the history of ICAPGen and the accreditation program, refer to Jill N. Crandell, AG, “Chapter 23: A Brief History of the Accreditation Program,” in Becoming an Excellent Genealogist: Essays on Professional Research Skills (2012). The book is available for purchase here: https://bit.ly/2MgbHms
Read the ICAPGen mission statement here: https://www.icapgen.org/about-icapgen/mission-statement/
AG Professionals are expected to adhere to high professional ethics at all times. They are required to sign a Professional Ethics Agreement when they first become accredited and again every five years when they renew their credential(s). By signing the Professional Ethics Agreement, an AG professional agrees:
- To conduct himself in a professional and respectful manner at all times.
- To never cause or permit any action that could harm ICAPGen, ICAPGen members, the reputation of ICAPGen, the goodwill associated with the marks and/or with ICAPGen, or the business or other interests of ICAPGen.
- To never engage in illegal, deceptive, misleading, or unethical practices; or advertise or otherwise represent his services or accreditation status in a misleading or deceptive manner.
- To reply promptly to all communications that concern his work and/or conduct as an AG professional.
- To clearly inform his patrons of his fee schedule, the use of others in the discharge of his work, methods of reporting his progress and findings, his areas of accreditation, and his status as an AG professional.
- To make regular written reports to his clients.
- To establish and maintain an accounting system to protect and segregate funds deposited by his clients until he has performed services corresponding to the amount on deposit.
- To adhere to ICAPGen’s code of ethics.
- To hold ICAPGen and its representatives harmless from any and all claims, suits, causes of action, losses, damages, liabilities, costs, charges, and expenses arising from or related to: (i) his exercise of any of his rights and/or obligations under the terms of this agreement; (ii) any actions performed or neglected to be performed by any third parties under his direction and/or control; and (iii) any breach of this agreement by him.
- To allow ICAPGen to inspect and review any materials he has produced that bear any of ICAPGen’s marks to ensure these marks are being used properly and to cooperate with ICAPGen in implementing any corrective measures that ICAPGen may require of him.
- To maintain the confidentiality of all information provided to him by ICAPGen including, but not limited to, tests, standards, marks, and business operations, processes, and strategies. He understands that any such material is the sole property of ICAPGen and agrees to never disclose any such material to any third party without the express written consent of ICAPGen. He agrees to return all such materials to ICAPGen immediately upon request.
This list summarizes key points found in ICAPGen’s official Professional Standards Agreement but does not represent the complete agreement. ICAPGen reserves the right to update and modify the Professional Standards Agreement as needed.