This time in my series on genealogy institutes, I’m going to describe IGHR and GRIP. These are the two institutes I have actually attended so I have my firsthand experiences to also share. Both of these institutes take place on a college campus and come with all of the perks (or not, depending on your perspective) of campus life, dorm packages and meal plans.
The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, also commonly referred to as “IGHR” (pronounced eye-jer) or “Samford,” takes place annually in June at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. There are typically ten courses offered for beginners to advanced researchers. The Samford campus is quite lovely with a lot of shade when walking from building to building. This year the temperatures were quite bearable and we experienced a few days of rain, not unpleasant for someone from Colorado where the days are mostly dry. You may choose to stay in the dorms (beware of the snakes) but there are also hotels nearby and the institute coordinates a shuttle service between the hotels and the campus. If you happen to drive, there is free parking on campus. They also have meal plans in their cafeteria or a student center with fast food, a carryout and a coffee bar.
At IGHR the courses being offered for 2014 and 2015 are posted on their website. Here is a quick look at 2014’s lineup by course number:
- Techniques & Technology
- Intermediate Genealogy & Historical Studies
- To Be Determined
- Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis
- Writing & Publishing for Genealogists
- Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents
- Virginia: Her Records & Her Laws
- Researching African American Ancestors
- U.S. Military Records
- Irish Genealogical Research
There are a lot of topics to choose from and for complete course descriptions you will want to check their website.
Also, if you are interested in attending IGHR, there is a scholarship available to pay for your tuition. It is the Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Scholarship. According to the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies website, “Distributions are awarded to those who have an interest in genealogy and wish to pursue genealogical related education at the Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR). Application is open to all genealogists and consists of a short resume listing genealogical experience and a 150-200 word essay describing how IGHR will help advance their genealogical research skills. Deadline for Applications is October 1 each year.” There is a downloadable application on the site. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity!
The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (or “GRIP”) takes place annually in July at La Roche College, located a few mile north of downtown Pittsburgh. La Roche College is a small college, easy to locate, with amenities near by. They too offer a dorm and cafeteria package. There are hotels nearby but they do not have a shuttle service yet. If you rent a car or drive to the conference there is also free parking available. This institute offers courses for varying levels of experience. The line-up and course descriptions for 2014 is posted on their website but here are the titles and instructors:
- “Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper” with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
- “Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard” with Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL
- “Becoming an Online Expert: Mastering Search Engines and Digital Archives” with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
- “Finding and Documenting African-American Families” with J. Mark Lowe, CG, and Deborah Abbott, PhD.
- “Practical Genetic Genealogy” with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.
- “Law School for Genealogists” with Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL and Richard G. “Rick” Sayre, CG, CGL
These institutes are very similar in structure. The classes run from about 8:30am-4:30pm. There are set break times with free snacks provided and a great time to get up and stretch your legs and network with your classmates. Both of these institutes offered optional evening sessions on various topics. At GRIP this year we got to watch the first episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (full episodes available on tlc.com) which is a lot of fun when you do it with a huge room of genealogists!
Both of these institutes are top notch, offer a wide variety of topics and activities. They are both located in some very scenic locations with a lot of history to explore. Be sure to plan time for site-seeing and fun!