Today I leave for Gen-Fed, which is the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records. I’m excited! Gen-Fed is a one week-long program that provides an in-depth look at the materials held by the National Archives that are of interest to genealogists. There is more material available than military pensions and compiled military service records (CMSR’s) and I’m hoping to learn a lot. Most summers I attend GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute in Pittsburgh), but this year I was one of the lucky 30 to get into Gen-Fed, so next year I will be at GRIP.
Why attend an institute? Are you tired of going to conferences for 50 minute sessions, and just as it is getting interesting, it’s over? Genealogy institutes are an opportunity to study a specific topic in-depth. In a week-long course, you find 15-18 sessions on one topic, and many times the sessions 90 minutes long. Each course at an institute has a coordinator (whose name you will usually recognize as an expert in the course topic) who plans the sessions (classes) for the week, and teaches some of the classes. This coordination means the instructors who teach the other classes know the topic they will be teaching and how it fits into the overall week of study.
There are many genealogical institutes, with different course offerings, scattered across the United States. Many hold registration months before the actual institute, and competition to get into the institute and your desired course may be fierce, with popular classes filling in minutes! A partial list of institutes include:
- The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (GEN-FED formerly NIGR)
- Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP)
- Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR)
- Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG)
- British Institute (BI)
The best thing about attending an institute? You’re not the only person crazy about genealogy in the room. You are one of a few hundred people happy to talk about dead ancestors all week-long. How cool is that?
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the institutes listed above, and receive no remuneration for mentioning their names. I am just a happy attendee who is a fan of the one week genealogical institutes.