Return to Pro Genealogists: Qualities, Skills …

A colleague contacted me about this earlier posting, uncertain that Accredited Genealogists from ICapGen had the same tested skill set as those Certified Genealogists from the Board for Certificaton of Genealogists. So I contacted ICapGen and asked about a couple of things. Karen Clifford replied and has allowed me to share our exchange:

KEN:  I am however, curious as to how you evaluate a candidate’s understanding of the Genealogical Proof Standard and her/his ability to use it in solving difficult research problems.

KAREN: As you apparently understand, these higher order skills cannot be tested using multiple-choice tests. Therefore, ICAPGen uses real research case studies. Not only must the answers be correct, the answers must be supported by proper sources and interpretation of those sources in light of the location, customs, and time period of the research problem.


KEN . And the website is not clear as to how your examination process determines how well a candidate transcribes and abstracts records. Are there standard ways this is done?

KAREN: A distinction is made between a transcription and an abstraction. When the candidate is asked to “transcribe” a document, we expect every letter to be written as it appears in the original document. To be true to the original document, no updates such as spelling or grammatical changes are made. When abstracting a document, it is important that a test candidate captures the information that would be useful to a genealogical researcher including names, dates, relationships, or items that could prove a name, date, or relationship.

KEN:  As standards evolve, how does ICapGen test to see if AG’s renewing their accreditation meet the new standard?

KAREN: This is done by reviewing work samples of their recent work. If they have not been active (i.e. have no work samples to show), they may elect to be retested. Tests are constantly being updated as new standards evolve.

Please keep in mind that the goal of ICAPGen testing is to assess whether the applicant has the “basic essential skills” to successfully conduct research in the region being tested. It is not the intent to expect knowledge of obscure records, but to expect candidates to be proficient in the use of the basic, essential records commonly used by researchers doing research in that area. These records are the ones cited in numberous genealogical how-to texts. These tests are timed to insure that candidates have had sufficient experience in these basic records to do research for clients in a reasonable amount of time.

KAREN: I hope this answers your questions. Feel free to ask any other questions as you see fit. I will be giving a presentation a 2 hour workshop on the testing process at the NGS Conference in Chicago this coming week. There will also be an ICAPGen luncheon given by the testing specialist on the commission, Ray Clifford. I know you are often at these conferences, and this might be a good way to get other individual questions answered.

So what do you think?

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