Today is the first day of the National Institute on Genealogical Education for the class of 2010. I have several friends attending the institute and I thought it would be a good time to introduce others to the program. NIGR, as it is abbreviated, is one of the three major genealogical institutes in the U.S. (along with the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy). It is held each July at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and is a week long program focusing on using federal records for genealogy.
One of the advantages of holding the institute at the National Archives is the hands-on experience with the records. The National Archives holds records commonly used for genealogy such as census, military, immigration, naturalization, and federal land, as well as records from federal agencies. NIGR participants are able to look at microfilm and original records while they are on site. When they learn about a new record group that may be relevant to their research they can have the records pulled and view them the same day.
I attended NIGR in 2008 and thought it was a wonderful program. I am fortunate to live close to Washington, D.C. and use the knowledge I gained in my research at the National Archives on a regular basis.