The Application Process: Level 1 (Genealogical Research Experience)


Are you curious about what it takes to receive the Accredited Genealogist® credential? The accreditation process involves three levels of testing of the applicant’s skills and knowledge. In this blog post we describe the first part of Level 1 requirements: “Genealogical Research Experience.”

Research and Education

An applicant must have a minimum of 1000 hours of combined genealogical research and genealogical education experience before submitting an application.

It is expected that of the required 1000 hours more than 500 hours of it will be genealogical research experience in the records of the chosen region.  There are many ways to acquire genealogical research experience; some of these include research in archives and libraries, historical and genealogical societies and online repository research.  These hours can also include time studying genealogical texts, attending genealogical courses, conferences or institutes.

ICAPGen recognizes that a person with a genealogy credential has demonstrated a high level of genealogical research ability. ICAPGen offers to genealogists with either a CG or an AG credential the opportunity to apply for a second credential with reduced (half the required hours) experience hours. If you are applying for a second credential you may reduce the required experience hours in half.

 It can be very beneficial to have genealogical education and training. But it is not required. Your genealogical education and training could include the following:
  • College level genealogical degrees, certificates or coursework.
  • Attendance at genealogical conferences and/or institutes.
  • Self directed personal genealogical study.

For education suggestions go to Educational Resources.

Broad Experience

An applicant is expected to have research experience in a variety of genealogical record types in their chosen region. It has been proven that an applicant with broad experience using a variety of record types does well on the written exams.  You must have experience with a variety different record types from your region’s Important Record Type List before applying for Level 1. Use  the link below to go to your chosen region’s Important Record Type List .

Resources, Record Types, & Strategies

Nationwide, State, or International Records

All accreditation regions: An applicant is expected to have at least 80 hours of research experience using nationwide genealogical records.

U.S. accreditation regions: An applicant is expected to have a minimum of 80 hours of research experience in each state in the chosen region.

International accreditation regions: An applicant is expected to have a minimum of 80 hours of research experience in five (5) or more state-type (province/shires etc.) divisions in the chosen region.

Some accreditation regions are exceptions as they do not have five or more distinct major jurisdictions such as states or provinces, or, the jurisdictions where most records are kept are at the town level. For these regions, it is recommended that the minimum 500-hour research requirement be spent in a variety of locations within that accreditation region, not just one or two areas. Accreditation regions that may fall into this category are as follows:

  • Caribbean Spanish
  • French Canada
  • Italy
  • Portugal and Azores
  • All South American regions

Use the links below to learn about resources available in your chosen region.

Testing Regions

A Variety of Repositories

It is expected that you will use at least 10 different repositories including Internet sites in your genealogical research. (Repositories include: archives, libraries, historical or genealogical societies, internet sites, courthouses, etc.)

Reading and Understanding Old Documents

 An accredited genealogist is required to read and understand a variety of old documents written in the primary language of their chosen region. Before submitting your application you should have spent 100 hours or more reading and using old documents in the primary language of the chosen region.

For help reading old documents go to Paleography Classes.

We welcome questions about the accreditation process–just email us at–or check out the ICAPGen website for a complete discussion of the application process.  We also have an informative PDF version of our Guide to Applying for an AG Credential.

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