My Accreditation Journey

Me and my dear friend Catrina as we were leaving RootsTech in February


2020 has been a whirlwind.  RootsTech was the last completely normal experience in my year.  Immediately afterward we entered the great COVID pause.  At first, everything about life felt a little bit frozen, but then slowly things restarted, just in an entirely different way.

School was virtual.  Church was at home.  Grocery pickup was a must.

We all found our new normal.  A normal that was constantly evolving.

But despite the unprecedented disruptions to daily life, I started a journey that has kept me focused, busy, and purposeful.

I made the decision to seek accreditation through ICAPGen, the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.  I chose France as my accreditation region.

During this past year, I have participated in the Level 1 and Level 2 & 3 study groups.  I  completed and submitted my Level 1 project in September.  I am now working on preparing for the Level 2 & 3 tests.

Daily life is still dramatically impacted by this global pandemic.  It appears the effects are not winding down anytime soon.  I am grateful that I have had this wonderful distraction during these uncertain times.

French research is my favorite.  I adore 17th and 18th century Catholic Church research above all else, but, any French research puzzle is completely fascinating to me.

I am thankful for the wonderful focus my accreditation journey has given me.  I am looking forward to adding those two lovely letters after my name once my journey is complete.



Happy Monday!  I hope you are all happy, healthy, and safe.  xoxo




15 thoughts on “My Accreditation Journey”

  1. I have found doing research the best escape—except for being outside in nature. But both are wearing very, very thin.

    So where does one find vital records for Paris? From roughly 1850-1950?

    1. Everything is wearing thin, isn’t it? I’m grateful that preparing for the tests requires a wide variety of types of work so at least I have that. It’s gotten pretty cold here and I’ve been sick, so I am missing my after dinner walks a lot. Being outside is so nice, I miss it.

      Great question, Amy! Civil registration began in France in 1792, so your time period falls within that window. There was a fire in 1871 that destroyed almost all of the civil registers of Paris that dated before 1860. The government worked to reconstruct those. The reconstruction work is not complete. The tricky part of Paris research is that in France, records are created at the local level. For Paris, that means you must know the arrondissement where the person was living. Then the records can be consulted in the Paris archives for free. The decennial tables are a ten-year index of births, marriages, and deaths in roughly alphabetical order. You find the person in those tables, then you have the date for the event, then you consult the appropriate collection and page through until you find the record. But all of those records are organized by arrondissement. You could search all 20 arrondissements but that would be very time consuming. There are a few work arounds if you don’t know the arrondissement. You can do some general searching of Filae.com or Geneanet.org (both are subscription websites with French records) by the person’s name. If you are lucky and the needed record is indexed on their website, then you will know the arrondissement and can search for records about other family members in that arrondissement in the Paris Archives. Here is the link to the Paris Archives: http://archives.paris.fr/r/124/etat-civil-de-paris/

      What are you hoping to find?

      1. Thanks so much, Amberly! I have been researching a family in Paris and trying to find the actual records for the dates that people have on their Ancestry trees or on Geni—all without sources. GRRRR. I am in touch with a living descendant who doesn’t seem to have records, but also seems to agree that the dates are correct. I’ll see if I can find anything that indicates where in Paris they lived. The cousin may even know that. Thanks so much!

  2. Congratulations and good luck as your journey continues! I attended one of your presentations at RootsTech, and I have no doubt you’ll rock accreditation!

    1. Thank you, Marian!! Yes!! I am looking forward to RootsTech. It’s a little bit overwhelming to deal with all of the technology involved, but I’m excited. ❤️

  3. Congratulations Amberly!!! Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to be your cousin? I am sure that you will do great on the next levels.

    You will be surprised but I decided to ask for a DNA test for Christmas.

    1. Thank you, Gregg!! I am so grateful to have you as a cousin too!!! I am surprised! Maybe we can solve a few things with your results. 🎉

    1. Thank you, Teresa!! I am excited! Let me know if you have any questions. I will share more in January. December is crazy this year. My RootsTech videos are due by December 31 plus the normal holiday busyness and client work… 🙂

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