Category Archives: Accreditation

What is the Correct Way to Use the ICAPGen℠ Certification and Service Marks?

questionsWondering if you are using the ICAPGen certification and service marks correctly? Wondering what a certification and service mark are?  You are not alone!  Because these marks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and using them correctly protects them and allows ICAPGen to keep using them, we thought it would be helpful to publish the organization’s “Certification Marks and Service Mark Usage Guide.”

Here are three tips for you:

  1. The most common confusion we encounter involves the AG® and Accredited Genealogist® service marks. The easiest rule of thumb for the use of these marks is to remember that they are adjectives, and always precede a noun, unless they are being used with a name.  In other words, one is an AG researcher, Accredited Genealogist professional, AG writer, Accredited Genealogist John Green, or Jane Brown, AG.
  2. The ® and ℠ symbols need only be added to the first usage of the certification and service marks in a document.  If superscript is unavailable, then use parentheses to set them apart.
  3. Add this legend to syllabus materials you produce or emails you send: The ICAPGen℠ service mark and the Accredited Genealogist® and AG® registered marks are the sole property of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. All Rights Reserved.

We hope this helps!  For a full explanation of the certification and service marks, please read through the guide below.


International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists

Certification Marks and Service Mark Usage Guide

(Approved 30 July 2004; updated 1 February 2016)

This style guide was prepared to assist Accredited Genealogist® professionals, writers, and editors concerning the recommended usage of the ICAPGen℠ certification marks and service mark. If you have additional questions that are not answered in this document, please contact ICAPGen through their website at www.icapgen.org.

The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, internationally recognized by its proprietary service mark ICAPGen, owns the registered certification marks AG® and Accredited Genealogist. Genealogists who meet the competency standards established by ICAPGen and who are in good standing with the organization are given a limited license to use the certification marks in connection with the providing of genealogical and historical research services.

ICAPGen is a service mark of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, and it is different than a certification mark. The ICAPGen Commission grants the use of the certification marks to those authorized to use them. The service mark is used by the Commission to identify its own ICAPGen program and services.

The service mark and certification marks must be used as they are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), or for those proprietary marks that are not registered, in a distinctive and consistent manner. Please use the marks consistently and clearly in order to protect them.

Recommended Usage of the Service Mark, ICAPGen:

The SM notation (superscript when available, otherwise in parentheses) should always be used with ICAPGen upon its first occurrence in writing, whether in a heading or running text, unless the publication identifies it as a service mark in front matter.

All capital letters should be used except for the last two letters, which are written in lowercase, i.e., ICAPGen.

ICAPGen is not an acronym. It is the distinctive identification or service mark by which the organization is internationally recognized. When associating the service mark with the organization’s name, it is appropriate to write it as follows: International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, internationally recognized as ICAPGen℠.

Recommended Usage of the Certification Marks, Accredited Genealogist® and AG®:

The ® mark (superscript when available, otherwise in parentheses) is used with Accredited Genealogist and AG the first time they are used in a heading or running text, or when used as a post-nominal, if not previously identified. An exception can be made for publications, e.g., book, newsletter, magazine, or journal article, if the service mark and certification marks are recognized collectively at the beginning of the publication.

Syllabus materials, where the author submits camera-ready copy, should use the superscripts and legend. They are considered “stand-alone” articles and will most likely be reproduced; therefore, the service and certification marks are protected.

AG® is not an acronym or abbreviation for Accredited Genealogist. It is a separate registered certification mark authorized for use by holders of the Accredited Genealogist designation, and must never be written parenthetically as in Accredited Genealogist (AG), with periods as A.G., or in the plural as AG’s.

Always capitalize Accredited Genealogist and AG.

The certification marks are adjectives; therefore, they should always have nouns following the marks unless they are used as descriptive post-nominals, e.g., Accredited Genealogist professionals, AG researchers, Accredited Genealogist John Green, or Jane Brown, AG.

The certification marks Accredited Genealogist or AG should never be pluralized or used in a possessive manner, or free-standing with the article “the” or “an.”

Recommended Legend to Append to Running Text or E-mail messages:

The ICAPGenSM service mark and the Accredited Genealogist® and AG® registered marks are the sole property of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. All Rights Reserved.

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Renewals and New Credentials

thumbs upCongratulations to Diana Elder, who has successfully completed the requirements for accreditation in the U.S. Gulf South Region, and can now add the AG® post-nominal to her name. Well done!

And we are pleased to announce Heidi Sugden has successfully renewed her credential for research in the records of France, and Peggy Lauritzen has renewed in the U.S. Mid-South.