Genealogy Credentialing Bodies (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice  by Louise St Denis, Brenda Dougall Merriman and Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Credentialing Bodies

Genealogists who wish for professional recognition will apply to a credentialing organization. This includes family historians who want to test themselves against accepted standards for their own satisfaction and self-growth. Certification or accreditation “announces” that you have reached a professional level of skills, by peer examination. A genealogist-for-hire with postnominals after his/her name carries a good deal of respect in the genealogy world—and this will carry over into research work centres and the general public. Having a reputable organization behind you adds confidence to client relationships

Genealogical credentials are not for sale by mail or Internet order. Advertisements for such enterprises are still seen occasionally, but most people with common sense will understand that merely paying a fee does not earn true examination or self-satisfaction.

We present some smaller, regional groups first. We asked the two large international groups to make presentations in their own words. You will find great detail from them and wise references to reading, websites and other materials. Even if you don’t plan to apply, you will find guidance in their reading lists and websites to begin assessing the quality of your own work. Besides their judging processes, all these bodies strive to raise the profile of professional education, standards and conduct.

Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes
P.O. Box 36022
5675 Spring Garden Road Halifax,
Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 1G0

GIM is the oldest of such Canadian institutions, formed in 1983 under the auspices of the Council of Maritime Premiers. The Institute arose in response to leading genealogists, archivists and genealogical societies for the certification and registration of responsible researchers who serve the public. The focus of applications must be on resources and families of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland. Applications are accepted in both official languages of Canada.

Successful applicants may become certified in either of two categories: Genealogical Record Searcher (Canada) and Certified Genealogist (Canada) which result in the postnominals GRS(C) or CG(C). Their Guide for Certification Candidates (see their website) describes the preliminary application form which determines the eligibility of potential candidates and which category is most suitable; a descriptive overview shows the expectations for further written submissions of experience and work product. Evaluators judge the work samples, and applicants successful to this point are invited to sit for a written examination and interview.

Bureau québecois d’attestation de competence en généalogie (BQACG)
c/o Fédération québecoise des sociétés de généalogie
C. P. 9454
Sainte-Foy, Quebec, Canada G1V 4B8

The BQACG is clearly a francophone agency, created by the Quebec Federation of Genealogical Societies in 1990 to test for three approved (agréé) categories: Généalogiste de filiation agréé (GFA), Généalogiste recherchiste agréé (GRA), and Maître généalogiste agréé (MGA). Fifteen judges compose the Bureau, appointed by the Federation from among already certified persons; three judges in rotation will evaluate a candidate’s portfolio.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society (and) Board of Certification
P.O. Box 1894
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4P 3E1
Telephone: 306-780-9207

The SGS offers training courses for three categories: Saskatchewan Record Searcher, Saskatchewan Researcher, and Saskatchewan Instructor. The goal is to produce knowledgeable representatives of the Society throughout the province, who understand the need to promote genealogical standards and ethics. Graduates are expected to sign a code of ethics and submit annual reports about their activities. They are then placed on the Society lists as available for the category they have chosen.

Applying to the Saskatchewan Board of Certification for official certification is an option for those who complete the course(s) and the above requirements. The Board is composed of three SGS members who have held the requisite certificate for a minimum of two years, plus a member representing its broader provincial base. Candidates will have a work sample reviewed by the Board, and answer an analysis question for knowledge testing (an oral interview is part of the process). The Board also reviews the annual report each certified person submits to the Society, maintaining a list of qualified, certified persons.

Fees for the courses and for the certification are available upon request.

Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents Inc. (AAGRA)
GPO Box 4401,
MELBOURNE, Victoria, 3001 Australia

Membership in this group is limited to applicants who demonstrate competence in Australian and New Zealand records. Documentary evidence of skill must be provided for acceptance in one or both classes: Record Agent (RA) or Genealogist (G).


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.