As any genealogist would know you need a strategy and very good organizational skills if you hope to discover anything about your ancestors. The world is such a diverse and expansive research landscape, and the billions of people who have existed before us did not have the best record keeping tools. I am personally very lucky to be a descendant of Italian people whose birth, marriage and death records were kept fairly consistently by the Catholic Church and then through civil registrations for the past few hundred years. But even these records can be difficult to find.

After extensive reading and video watching on the ICAP Gen website, it seems that the process of becoming an accredited genealogist does not merely test your skills as a researcher, but also tests just how efficient you are at organizing the vast amounts of information you have to absorb during the process of your research. I have not achieved my accreditation yet, and although I hope that I am successful, I know that I will take many skills from the process of creating a four generation report.

The first part in the steps to becoming an accredited genealogist is the four-generation project. You can find detailed information here on ICAP Gen’s website. 

STEP ONE: Determine one region in which to apply.


STEP TWO: Choose a family in your selected region and trace it back four generations.

And here is where it gets tricky. There are a few rules surrounding this project.

First, the birth year of the individual in the most recent generation must be before 1900. So that means that the first person I research must have been born before 1900, and then I will need to find their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Secondly, each of the four generations must have lived in the area being tested for at least some time during his or her lifetime.

Thirdly, this four-generation lineage can be straight paternal, straight maternal, or alternate between paternal and maternal lines. But you must trace one line back four generations.

For me the most difficult part has been to find four generations worth of people born before 1900. While I most certainly have the names and details of such a four-generation in my tree, who were all born in the same place in Italy, I do not have the birth, marriage and death records for each individual. So here I have been stuck for a couple of weeks while I determine how best to overcome this issue. I have two possible solutions:

1) Stick to four generations within my family tree, and do my best to research and find the missing dates and records, then finally complete the report.

2) Pick a person at random who was also born in Italy before 1900 and research their ancestors in the hope that I can find their records and submit the report.

So far I have been sticking to my first solution, desperately hoping that one of my lines will be completed before I have wasted too much time. Here is how I have kept track of my findings:

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As you can see from the photos above, I am torn between two lines from the same generation and I am calculating, based on my findings, how many records I need before my research is complete and I am able to start my project. While the second only has 6 records, a couple of these records have proven almost impossible to find. Some, I fear, cannot be found due to records being destroyed and missing years that not even the comune can find.

I have decided to give myself until the 1st of March (2014) to find the majority of the records I need to begin my project. If I cannot find the ones I need I will have to succumb to the second solution and begin researching a new family tree.

I look forward to reporting on my progress in the coming weeks.