Category Archives: ICAPGen member spotlights


We would like to introduce you to Pamela Chatfield, AG®, who earned her accreditation in Ireland.


We asked Pamela a few questions about her accreditation process, area of accreditation, and advice for those seeking accreditation. Here is what she shared with us.

What motivated you to pursue accreditation?

For many years before becoming an AG® professional, I had an interest in my family history. As a young person, I enjoyed hearing the family stories from my parents. I knew that one day I would become involved in documenting the lives of my ancestors, and I also knew that I wanted to do it right. It was not until after my five children were grown, and I had retired from being a full-time teacher, that I began in earnest working on my family history. A good friend shared with me that I could learn how to be become accredited and with that become effective in successfully building a family tree that was founded on sound research. It made sense. So, together we began our ICAPGenSM journey.

What are some challenging or unique aspects of researching in your area of accreditation?

I chose Ireland for my area of accreditation because my maternal grandmother was 100% Irish and my maternal grandfather was 50% Irish. Not much work had been done on those branches of the family tree. When I began the study of Ireland research, I did not know that I was doing something hard in comparison to other regions! I knew nothing about seeking Irish people in their homeland. I still remember the day I had the epiphany that without the church records or civil registration there really is nowhere else to look. However, you can get lucky with a few other record groups. This is frustrating to say the least. At present, there are good things coming out of Ireland with the release of the Catholic church records and civil registration both coming online. We have much to look forward to.

What advice do you have for those pursuing accreditation?

I feel ICAPGenSM has provided me with a good education. Since becoming an AG® professional, my knowledge base of genealogical research has grown. Two years ago, my husband and I served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we were assigned to the Utah Salt Lake City Headquarters Mission. From there, we were assigned to serve in the Family History Library on the U.S. Canada floor. Was I disappointed that we were not assigned to the British floor? Yes, but we were thrilled to be at the library on a daily basis. My favorite activity while serving was shadowing the AG® professionals working on our floors and learning from them. I will always be grateful to them for their tutelage and patience for it contributed greatly to my knowledge base and confidence in genealogical research. The learning that took place in United States research has helped me become better at tracing the Irish in their county of arrival and discovering their native townlands. For anyone considering becoming accredited, I would say “go for it”. The education acquired through the experience is well worth the time and effort.

Is there anything else you want to let us know about your genealogy experience or activities?

Currently, I am serving on the ICAPGenSM board as the chair for the renewal committee.  Through this experience I have gained new friends and a new appreciation for what our ICAPGenSM leaders and other board members do on behalf of all AG® professionals. They are truly a stalwart bunch of individuals. I am also serving and teaching research classes at the Cedar City, Utah, Family History Center. In the last six months, I have had a continual list of clients and each new research problem is a new discovery into the lives of the Irish people.

Spotlight on Liv Marit Haakenstad, AG®, accredited in Norway

Liv Marit Haakenstad

Liv Marit Haakenstad, AG, is a freelance writer, researcher and lecturer who specializes in Norwegian genealogy research, transmigration and emigration.  With over 30 years’ experience, she offers international workshops and seminars, as well as specialty genealogy tours in Norway.  Haakenstad consults for several TV shows including Norway’s Anno and Who Do You Think You Are? on the BBC and in Canada.  She has written nine books on Norwegian genealogy.

We asked Liv a few questions to get to know her better and here is what we learned:

 1. What motivated you to pursue accreditation?

There are no genealogists living in Norway who I know of that are accredited by The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, and just a few of those who are accredited have a Norwegian Genealogy specialty.  I have been doing genealogy research since 1978 and have published books about Norwegian Genealogy, so for me, this credential is a confirmation of the knowledge I already have.

2.  What are some challenging or unique aspects to researching in your area of accreditation?

There can be many challenges.  Norway had a state church until 2012, meaning the government of Norway had responsibility for the church.  Church records have been kept since 1623, but for most parishes from the 1730s.  Genealogy researchers want to go back further.  Norway has some earlier census records but they only contain information about men.  Another resource I use are court records but it isn’t always easy to find a person, especially when they have a common name, like Ola Hansen.  We have also lost many records in Norway due to fires and other damage so that makes it harder to do the research in certain areas.

3.  What advice do you have for those pursuing accreditation?

I suggest that you have a good overview of sources, what periods of time are covered by the various sources and what information is available in the source.  You also need to know geography and local history, as well as national history, to follow the sources and know why each source would be valuable.

4.  What are some of your goals as a genealogist?

I have so many ideas to write several good books about Norwegian genealogy.

5.  What research projects are you involved with now, or have planned for the future?

Right now I am finishing my Master’s thesis in non-fiction writing.  I also have several research projects that I am working on for clients as well as three books I hope to finish very soon.

6.  Check out Marit’s website at

7.  When did you receive your accreditation?

May 16, 2019, just in time to celebrate our constitution day—Syttende Mai!

8.  Is there anything else you want to let us know about your genealogy experience or activities?

I will be a RootsTech 2019 speaker in London where one of my program topics will be transmigration through Great Britain.  I also plan to become more involved as a speaker on the topics of Norwegian genealogy and emigration in the future.