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Licentiate of the IHGS

Candidates for Licentiateship shall have qualified as professional genealogists by passing The Institute's Diploma examination; they should be over twenty-five years of age and are expected to have not less than five full years of experience in research.

Exceptionally, the Court of Trustees my take into consideration previous publications or worthy scholastic contributions to family historical studies when considering candidature. Regulations of The Institute require that candidates for the licentiateship should ultimately be tested on the submission of an approved thesis or research dissertation.

Licentiateship is a degree awarded by the Court of Trustees upon the recommendation of the Council. Once conferred, it is not determined by continuity of membership of The Institute; however, only graduate members of The Institute who have paid their subscriptions up to date are eligible to vote at Annual General Meetings of The Institute.

The candidate should submit a brief outline summary of not more than 500 words in length for approval by the Education Sub-Committee, prior to registration. The summary should outline the proposed research programme and include a consideration of potential resources and methodology.

The thesis or dissertation must be submitted within three years of completion of the outline summary and payment of registration fees, or else the application must be renewed and a further fee paid. The subject matter of the thesis should be discussed with the tutorial staff of The Institute and approved by the Principal. Its content might be any which impinges upon the value, application or study of family history. A list of suitable subjects would include an introduction to the use of a novel source, genealogical applications to demographic studies, a full case study of inter-relationships in groups of families, some special local studies, migration patterns, or historical, genetic or related interpretation from genealogical, heraldic or palæographic material. Only in exceptional circumstances will a personal family history be acceptable.

The thesis or dissertation must be a fully referenced description of the candidate's own original research and must be of high academic standard. It should demonstrate the candidate's ability to organise and present material; where collaboration or other personal communications have been used, full acknowledgement must be made and clearly stated.

The text and any accompanying illustrative material should be clearly prepared. No limitation will be imposed on length, but textual matter is usually between 15,000 and 50,000 words. The thesis should be bound and submitted to the Principal who will record necessary details and present the work to the Education Sub-Committee responsible for the appointment of two suitable examiners. The examiners are free to call for further specialist assessment.

After examination of the thesis, the Examiners may require the candidate to submit to further written or oral examination before recommending the award of the degree, or they may recommend the resubmission of the thesis subject to satisfactory correction and revision, or that the Licenciateship should not be granted.

The examiners shall submit written reports to the Educational Sub-Committee within ten weeks of submission. The Educational Sub-Committee shall recommend action and Council will make a written recommendation to the Court of Trustees of The Institute immediately. Candidates will be notified of the decision of the Trustees at the earliest opportunity.

The successful candidate must pay appropriate admission fees, details available from, and sign his or her commitment before conferment. If rejected, the candidate will receive a reasoned report from the examiners with recommendations for his or her future submissions.

Examples of previously accepted works submitted for the Licentiateship are:

  1. A London Solicitor's Notebook and its value to the genealogist.
  2. West Chiltington, Sussex - A Parish and its people as seen their inventories, 1611-1750.
  3. The Duty on Marriages, Births and Burials, 1695-1706.
  4. A study of the village of Tollesbury, Essex, during the 19th century (see Family History, vol.13, no.106, Jan. 1986).
  5. The Origins of the Inhabitants of Bexleyheath.
  6. The Meeting of the Vestry, Lee, Kent, 31 March 1746 (see Family History, vol.15, no.125, N.S. no.101).
  7. Insurance Company Firemen and Porters and the Records of Insurance.
  8. The Life and Times of the Hamby Family of Lincolnshire, 1086-1675.
  9. Membership Records of the City of London Livery Companies, 1753-1850, and what they reveal.
  10. The Paper Maker Journeyman in England, 1700-1900: Mobility and His Occupational and Social Situation.
  11. An Examination of Material Relating to the Licensing of Midwives in the Diocese of Canterbury, 1615-1640 and 1660-1742.
  12. Landholding as a Key to Genealogical Relationships in Longney, Gloucestershire.
  13. The Heraldry of the Parishes of Marshfield, Cold Ashton, Swainswick and Woolley and Associated Locations.

It is hoped that those who have reached the high level of expertise required to become a Licentiate will pass on their knowledge by acting as tutors and teachers to the next generation of genealogists and family historians.