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Section 3: Preparation Suggestions


Paleography Skills and Language Ability Assessment

Use the chart below to self-assess your paleography skills and language ability.

Paleography Language Ability

The Journeyman Level is necessary for ICAPGen Exams


Apprentice Level: Has the following seven skills

1.       Extract key words – names, dates, places, occupations
2.       Understands the meaning of description labels used in the FHLC
3.       Use finding aids with language assistance Reads records in an expected or common format
4.       Able to read portions of a document containing clear script Able to transcribe a document containing clear script
5.       Regularly uses a genealogical word list
6.       May be able to write a letter requesting information with unlimited time
7.       Understands main ideas of a block of text

Journeyman Level: Has apprentice level skills, plus the following fourteen skills

1.       Writes an understandable letter requesting information, within a limited time period
2.       Understands a written response to a letter giving further instructions on where to locate a desired record
3.       Accurately transcribes and translates documents within a timed period
4.       Transcribes documents from a variety of time periods and with a variety of script styles
5.       Reads a block of text and understands the content, context, relationships and events
6.       Proficient reading an unfamiliar block of text
7.       Reads the introductory paragraphs of a record/book giving an explanation of the content of the record/book
8.       Understands abbreviations used within documents
9.       Understands that the words found in the documents may include spelling variations. For example, in Spanish v/b, h/j/x, s/z, etc.
10.   Understands the meaning of symbols found in the documents
11.   Occasionally uses the genealogical word list and/or language dictionaries
12.   Knows where to find the meaning of historical words necessary to determine the meaning or intent of the author of the document
13.   May be required to read phrases or paragraphs written in Latin
14.   Understands the meaning of Roman Numerals

Master Level: Has apprentice & journeyman level skills plus the additional two skills

1.       Able to read and understand all script styles within a language
2.       Understands all content and historic meaning within the written language

To download a printable version of this chart click here.

For resources to strengthen your paleography skills and language ability click here.


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