ABCs of Genealogical Credentials

If you are new to family history research, or even if you’ve been doing it for a while and are just now starting to attend conferences, you might have noticed initials after the names, called post-nominals,  of one or more of the conference speakers, much like M.D. signifying a medical doctor, but in this case denoting genealogical accomplishments.

I was familiar with most of the common ones, but then I started to notice a few that I hadn’t seen before.

Here is a list of all of those abbreviations and how the recipient earned the right to put them after his/her name:

AG = Accredited Genealogist, credentials awarded by the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) after a rigorous application process.

From its website: Credentials are awarded on a regional basis which allows the applicant to demonstrate their depth of knowledge of the key records, history, geography, and language of the region of interest in measurable ways.

CG = Certified Genealogist, awarded by the Board for the Certification of Genealogists.

From its website: The certification mark indicates a relationship between the Board for Certification of Genealogists and the person who uses the mark. Its use shows that the genealogist’s work has been peer-reviewed in light of BCG standards for quality and ethics and met the criteria for certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

CGL = Certified Genealogical lecturer, also awarded by the Board for the Certification of Genealogists

From its website: The BCG credential Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL) designates a Board-certified genealogist who has earned additional certification in teaching. Eighteen people currently hold this credential. You will see “CGL” identifying genealogical lecturers and instructors at local, regional, and national conferences, institutes, and webinars.

Recently, I’ve noticed many presenters with a designation of four letters after their names and they all seem to begin with “F.” As with most questions nowadays, Google is my friend.

FASG – Fellow of The American Society of Genealogists. This designation can only be held by fifty people at any one time and it is given for life. The American Society of Genealogists, established in 1940, is limited to these fifty members and they represent the giants of genealogical research contributions.

From its website: The American Society of Genealogists, founded in 1940, is an independent honorary society of the leading published scholars in the field of American genealogy. The FASG is limited to fifty life-time members designated as Fellows, identified within the genealogical community by the post-nominal initials FASG. From its inception to the present, the ASG has served the discipline of genealogy by embodying and promoting the highest standards of genealogical scholarship.

FUGA – Fellow, Utah Genealogical Association. The UGA first gave the Fellow Award in 1978.

From its website: The UGA Fellow Award is given in recognition of those living individuals whose distinguished contributions and on-going commitment to the field of genealogy are of national or international scope. This may be evidenced by any combination of publications, teaching and speaking, or leadership of major genealogical organizations over a significant period of time.

FNGS – Fellow of the National Genealogical Society, awarded yearly, beginning in 1955. Recipients must have been an NGS member for at least five years.

From its website: To recognize outstanding work in the field of genealogy or the related fields of history, biography, or heraldry, in addition to outstanding service to the National Genealogical Society.

FMGS – Fellow, Maryland Genealogical Society. This fellowship, as they call it, is given periodically and was first awarded in 1971.

From its website: Fellowships are given to members of the Society who have distinguished themselves by their outstanding genealogical scholarship and contributions to the Society and to the genealogical community.

There is actually a second FMGS:

FMGS – Fellow, Minnesota Genealogical Society. However, I was unable to find any information about the award on their website.

FIGRS – Fellow, Irish Genealogical Research Society, first awarded in 1937.

From its website: The IGRS describes an award of Fellowship as a “distinction granted to members and others who have performed outstanding services for the IGRS, contributed by their scholarship to the advancement of Irish genealogical studies, and/or encouraged the sharing of historical knowledge and documentation for the benefit of people in Ireland or who are of Irish descent.”

FVGS – Fellow, Virginia Genealogical Society, first awarded in 1999.

From its website: The Fellow of the Virginia Genealogical Society (FVGS) Award recognizes individuals for their long-term contributions in a given area, long-term contributions in more than one area, and exemplary service in the promotion of study of genealogy and family history in Virginia.

Now you know the ABCs!

One thought on “ABCs of Genealogical Credentials”

  1. Don’t forget PLCGS. Professional learning certificate in genealogical studies, awarded by the National Institute for Genealogical studies for completing 40 courses online (approx. 3-4 years of study).

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