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4 Genealogy Institutes You Should Know About

This is something I wrote for the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen℠) blog.  It’s got some good information I thought was worth sharing here on my personal blog:

Genealogists love to learn.  We love conferences, seminars, guest speakers, and workshops. We love webinars and we even set sail on genealogy cruises.  So it should be no surprise that week-long genealogy institutes with courses coordinated by topnotch professionals are among the things we love the most.


Four well-known institutes that offer high level genealogical education are the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), the Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) at LaRoche College, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and the Genealogy Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed) at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

While registration for many of the upcoming 2016 courses at these institutes may be full (and SLIG took place in January), there are waiting lists available or you can plan ahead for next year’s programs. Make a note of their registration dates for this year and mark your calendar, so you can get a jump on it.

Genealogy institutes differ from typical 1-3 day conferences in that they offer tracks, or courses of study, which a participant enrolls in for the entire week. The track is coordinated by an individual or a pair who are expert, and they line up top instructors and relevant topics which align with the course of study.  This allows an in-depth and enriched learning experience for attendees.

Evening plenary sessions and optional banquets provide extra opportunities for learning and socializing, so consider signing up for some of these, too.

While some institutes provide dormitory accommodations and university classrooms, others utilize hotel conference rooms and accommodations.  The cost of classes, accommodations, food, and transportation to the institute can really add up, but the investment is well worth it for serious researchers.

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), sponsored by Utah Genealogical Association, is scheduled for January 22-27, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Registration opens July 9th, with 14 course offerings for high intermediate to advanced researchers. The cost for next year’s SLIG is yet to be determined, but UGA members do receive a discount, so you might want to consider this and other membership benefits from UGA.  Courses include:

  • Advanced Genealogical Methods (Coordinator: Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG (℠, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
  • The Family History Law Library (Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, and Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA)
  • Taking Your Research to the Next Level (Coordinator: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA, FMGS)
  • Diving Deeper into New England (Coordinator: D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS)
  • Virginia from the Colonial Period to the Civil War: Her Records, Her People, Her Laws (Coordinator: Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS)
  • Researching in Wasington, D.C. without Leaving Home (Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA)
  • Utilizing a Full Array of Sources for Researching your Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic Ancestors (Coordinator: Elaine Hasleton, AG® and Jeffrey M. Svare, AG)
  • Settlers in the New World and Immigrants to a New Nation:  Researching Ancestors from Overseas (Coordinator: John Phillip Colletta, PhD, FUGA)
  • DNA Boot Camp:  Practical Application (Coordinator:  CeCe Moore)
  • Refining Internet and Digital Skills for Genealogy (Coordinator:  Cyndi Ingle)
  • Adding Social History to Your Genealogy (Coordinator:  Gina Philbert-Ortega, MA MAR)
  • You be the Judge:  A Practicum Using Standards to Evaluate Genealogical Work (Coordinator:  Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG)
  • The Coaching Lab: Forensic Genealogy (Coordinator: Catherine B.W. Desmarais, CG and Amber Goodpaster Tauscher)
  • Advanced Evidence Practicum (Coordinator:  Angela Packer McGhie)

Institute of Genealogy and History Research (IGHR) will take place one final time at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama before moving in 2017 to Athens, Georgia and the Georgia Center for Continuing Education at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. IGHR has a 50+ year history, and is cosponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.  This year IGHR will have ten courses to choose from, including:

  • Methods and Sources (Coordinator: Pam Sayre)
  • Intermediate Genealogy & Historical Studies (Coordinator: Angela McGhie)
  • Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis (Coordinator: Judy Russell)
  • Writing & Publishing for Genealogists (Coordinator: Tom Jones)
  • Military Records III: Post Civil War (Coordinator: Craig Scott)
  • Tracing Your English Ancestors (Coordinator: Paul Milner)
  • Metes & Bounds & Land Plats (Coordinator: Gerald Smith)
  • Genetic Genealogy Tools & Techniques (Coordinator: Debbie Parker Wayne)
  • Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents (Coordinators: Ben Spratling & Pat Stamm)
  • Researching African American Genealogy: Black Roots in Unique Collections (Coordinator: Frazine Taylor)

Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) held at LaRoche College in Pittsburgh, has two sessions–June 26-July 1–and July 17-22.  They offer six to seven courses of instruction.  Registration for the June session begins in February and registration for the July session begins in March. Here is a course list:

Offered June 26, 2016 to July 1, 2016:

  • Family Archiving: Heirlooms in the Digital Age (Coordinator: Denise May Levenick)
  • Finding Your German Ancestor (Coordinator: Warren Bittner, CG, and Baerbel Johnson, AG)
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy in the 21st Century (Cathi Desmarais, CG, Kelvin Meyers, and Michael Ramage, J.D., CG)
  • Mastering the Art of Genealogical Documentation (Coordinator: Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS)
  • Pennsylvania: Research in the Keystone State (Coordinator: Sharon MacInnes, Ph.D. and Michael Lacopo, D.V.M)
  • Women and Children First! Research Methods for the Hidden Members of the Family (Coordinator: Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL)

Offered July 17-22, 2016:

  • “Advanced Genetic Genealogy” with CeCe Moore
  • “Advanced Research Methods” with Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA
  • “Diving Deeper into New England: Advanced Strategies for Success” with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
  • “From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write Proof Arguments” with Harold Henderson, CG and Kimberly Powell
  • “Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper” with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA
  • “Practical Genetic Genealogy” with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL and Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.
  • “Researching in Italian Records” with Melanie D. Holtz, CG

The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed), formerly known as Institute on Genealogical Research, and before that Institute on Methods of Genealogical Research, has existed since 1950 in one form or another. Today it is a weeklong institute at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. that focuses on federal records.  This year’s program is filled, but look to register for next year’s program when registration opens in February of 2017.

The board of trustees for Gen-Fed consists of representatives from the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the National Genealogical Society (NGS), as well as the institute’s alumni association.  Here is a look at the 2016 program and class instructors:

  • A Federal Family Tree (Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG, Director, Genealogical Institute on Federal Records)
  • Using NARA Finding Aids for Archival Research (Katherine Vollen, NARA)
  • The National Archives Catalog  (Jason Clingerman, NARA)
  • NARA’s Records, Coast to Coast (Trevor Plante, NARA)
  • Introduction to Local History and Genealogy, Main Reading Room, Library of Congress (at LC) (James Sweany, MSLS)
  • Basic Military Records and Pension Records (Jonathan Webb Deiss, Military Research Specialist,
  • Mining Land Entry Records for Family History and Reward for Service: Bounty Land Records (Angela McGhie, CG,professional genealogist, lecturer, and blogger)
  • Family History in Congressional Records (Adam Berenbak, NARA)
  • Genealogy and New Deal Relief  (John Deeben, NARA)
  • Introduction to the Daughters of the America Revolution (DAR) Library (at DAR) (Eric G. Grundset, MLS)
  • Immigration & Nationality: Beyond the Basic Documents, Part I and Part II  (Marian Smith, Historian, United States Customs and Immigration Service)
  • Ancestors Abroad: State Department Correspondence Files (Kenneth W. Heger, PhD, NARA, ret.)
  • Recent Images: Still and Moving Picture Research (Richard Green, NARA)
  • The Dawn of Freedom: Researching Records of the Freedmen’s Bureau (Reginald Washington, NARA, ret.)
  • Court Records: Making a Federal Case Out of It and Spread the Word: More Family in Federal Records (Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL,“The Legal Genealogist”)


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

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