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Diploma in Genealogy

Entry to the Diploma in Genealogy is restricted to those who have gained The Higher Certificate in Genealogy.

Students at this stage will be training to obtain a standard of knowledge and competence suitable to enable them to manage a successful genealogical practice and to provide a professional standard of research performance for their clients. Consequently, besides demonstrating a deep and thorough knowledge of sources and techniques, the candidate must also have the ability to plan and conduct a logical programme of genealogical research, to analyse data and to report the results to the client.

To help the genealogist who intends to establish a professional practice to acquire the necessary expertise, the Institute organises regular one-day courses, workshops or seminars. These provide the opportunity for potential genealogists to meet with others who wish to establish a viable and professional practice and also to seek advice from experts in the fields of commerce, finance, advertising and other related spheres of activity. They will provide opportunities for discussion on aspects which relate directly to the launching of a business and also afford students the opportunity to hear from others about their experiences in practice.

The examination for the Diploma in Genealogy comprises three Assignments, which are detailed below. Sample papers can be found on the Examinations - Sample Papers page.

Assignment 1

Candidates will be set an actual piece of genealogical research, on behalf of an imaginary client, conducted in their own area of the country; the assignment is to be completed in a timeframe as directed by the Principal of the Institute. The starting point for research will be supplied to the candidate, who will then be required to undertake up to 25 hours research, using the relevant sources available nationally and locally. Candidates should submit the results of their findings in the form of a client report.

The report should include a description of the research sources which have been searched, the results of all searches, both positive and negative, conclusions reached and suggestions for further research. In particular the report should include where the source was viewed and its catalogue reference/call number, whether the candidate viewed the original manuscript, a microfiche/film copy, online source etc.; and any anomalies such as gaps in the record sequence and impaired legibility. If applicable an explanation of any surname variants also researched should be included.

The account must be illustrated with properly presented drop-line pedigree charts and photocopies or photographs with abstracts or transcriptions of the main documents examined. Candidates are also required to include a detailed statement of expenditure in time and costs.

The report will be assessed by the Examiners appointed by the Council of the Institute; a member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) may be invited to moderate.

Assignment 2

During the period of the Candidate's training, either through his or her work for the Higher Certificate in Genealogy, or over the several years in which experience has been gained privately, research material will have been compiled and collected. The Portfolio should demonstrate the Candidate's breadth and depth of experience.

It is expected that the Portfolio will contain a collection of works that evidence experience in specific areas of research, such as nonconformity, the military, heraldry, occupational records, land records, manorial records, court records and records dating back at least to the sixteenth century; detailed descriptions of the use of basic records will not be necessary. The portfolio should contain a summary account of sources covered, record offices visited, fieldwork, time spent on research, collections made, families researched and examples of note-keeping and finished work and reports.

The portfolio will be assessed by the Examiners appointed by the Council of the Institute; a member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) may be invited to moderate.

Assignment 3

The candidate will be provided with a starting point for research into a particular family surname over a period of three hours in a library or record office environment. The Candidate may use whatever sources are available to gather information based on the subject; additional information, relevant to the task, may be issued to the candidate by examination staff during the assignment.

A further period of two and a half hours will be allowed for the production of a drop-line pedigree tree and to answer a short question paper.


Candidates will be expected to have a thorough grasp of the topics covered by this Syllabus of Study and to be knowledgeable in heraldry as well as in genealogy and its applications to historical studies, demography, intestate succession and research overseas.

Those candidates who satisfy the examining board by achieving at least 60% in each of these three Assignments, and who have obtained the Higher Certificate in Genealogy, will have demonstrated their ability to extract information from original documentation and to compile it into an accurate pedigree supplemented with a clear explanation of the evidence used to produce it. They will also have a sound knowledge of the basic genealogical sources used in research. A successful candidate who has achieved these levels will be awarded the Diploma in Genealogy, and will be one who may properly and confidently practise as a professional genealogist.

Anyone who has been awarded the Diploma in Genealogy may apply to be admitted as a Graduate Member of the Institute. Application forms for Membership of the Institute may be obtained from the Registrar.

Specimen Paper

» View a specimen paper for the Diploma In Genealogy

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