Fifty Years of Credentialing: Presentations Available

In the “B. C.” era (Before Credentialing) genealogical fraud was rampant. Two organizations sought to give confidence to the public when hiring researchers and coincidentally were founded in the same year of 1964.

Please join BCG and ICAPGen at an unprecedented joint banquet at the NGS conference in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday, May 9, 2014. The evening’s speaker is David Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, whose topic is “Celebrating Genealogical Credentials–The Accreditation and Certification Programs Turn 50!” Both organizations want to thank NGS for their recognition of this milestone in genealogical history. NGS registrations are being taken now at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/. One does not need to be registered for the conference in order to attend the banquet.

BCG began its celebration last year “in the 50th year of its age” with a luncheon talk at FGS in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, by Rev. David McDonald, CG on “No Diamonds, No Cherries: Celebrating a Jubilee” which can be heard on the BCG website.

At a joint banquet in Salt Lake City in October, the American Society of Genealogists and BCG sponsored Judy Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, as the banquet speaker. Her full presentation “We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!” can be viewed on the BCG website. Judy’s presentation is also an article in the NGS Magazine (January–March 2014, volume 40, number 1): 15-19.

When we think of the days of undocumented genealogies being fabricated on purpose or unintentionally, there was no recourse for the public or standards by which to determine the reliability of a pedigree. Now we have credentialing and a newly-edited Genealogy Standards book which helps consumers understand the parameters of good genealogy. We have, indeed, “Come a Long Way, Baby!”

Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?

Beach tug of war at Southport, Queensland, Australia, 1917. From the collection of the State Library of Queensland. No known copyright restrictions.

Apryl Cox, AG®, and Elissa Scalise Powell, CGSM, CGLSM, are coordinators of Course 5 at the 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. The track is “Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?” Apryl will coordinate presentations about the credentialing process used by the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPgen) and Elissa will coordinate presenters for BCG.

The institute will run 13-17 January 2014 at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City. SLIG registration opens June 1 at 9:00 AM Mountain time (11:00 AM Eastern time). Registration must be done online. At that time, a registration button will appear on the website of the sponsoring society, the Utah Genealogical Association. Many popular courses sell out within minutes.

The credentials of both organizations mark their 50th anniversary in 2014. BCG was started by the American Society of Genealogists. That society elects life members based on their “published genealogical accomplishments.”[1] Successful BCG candidates submit a portfolio of work that meets standards.

The Accredited Genealogist credential originated in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to replace the functions of the Research Service, an in-house group of volunteers and library staff performing research and reporting for patrons.[2] Successful ICAPGen candidates submit a research report and pass a proctored written exam.



[1]  “Significant Contributions,” American Society of Genealogists; www.fasg.org : viewed 29 May 2013.

[2] Jill N. Crandell, “A Brief History of the Accreditation Program,” Kory L. Meyerink, Tristan L. Tolman, and Linda K. Gulbrandsen, editors, Becoming an Excellent Genealogist (Utah: ICAPgen, 2012), 214.

Updated 3 June 2013 to correct number of track at SLIG to 5.