Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Offline Lectures and Courses Part III: Institutes

Offline Lectures and Courses

for the Genealogist Who Doesn't Know Where to Go Next

This is a continuation, the introduction and part I are here, part II, here.

Part III: National Institutes

The other primary type of "national" genealogical education event is an institute. Currently there are four U.S. institutes that should be relevant to the target audience of this series, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed, formerly the National Institute on Genealogical Research or NIGR), and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). All of these could be described as "general" genealogy institutes and all are in-person, not online. There may be other topic specific institutes and there are other online institutes.
First I'll describe the one "different" institute.
Gen-Fed is the only one of these four that does not offer multiple courses to choose from. It is a single course focusing on using U.S. federal records from the National Archives (Archives I and II). Optional trips to the Library of Congress and DAR Library are included. I don't label it topic specific because if you are researching U.S. ancestors, the material taught at Gen-Fed should be part of your standard research arsenal. Gen-Fed was not held in 2015 but will resume in July 2016, registration is in February 2016. Also, note that Gen-Fed is not a beginning institute. It can certainly be called an intermediate institute but determining if you are "intermediate" is difficult. Dealing with federal records can be complicated. You need a firm genealogical foundation before attending so the material can sink in.
IGHR, SLIG, and GRIP are all week long institutes where you choose a specific course. These range from a beginner course to very specialized, advanced courses. Which courses are offered changes each year and it is usually possible to see which courses are coming up (to a limited degree) so you can plan ahead and plan your budget. All three institutes are excellent and offer very high quality instruction. A unique feature of SLIG is you can also do some research at the Family History Library. Other than that, choosing which to attend should be based on the courses offered and your budget.