Thursday, June 30, 2011

What did NIGR do for me?

NIGR is the abbreviation for the National Institute on Genealogical Research held each July at the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, D.C. Each year the NIGR Alumni Association hosts a dinner on Friday evening of the institute to honor the graduates and welcome them as new alumni. This year Chuck Mason is going to be the banquet speaker, and he posted the following query on the APG mailing list:
"I am looking for people who have attended NIGR in the past, who are willing to share their experience and what attending has done for them... Also, who did you meet at NIGR that has assisted or encouraged you to become a better genealogist."
Well I think this is a fun topic for the NIGR Alumni Association dinner, and I responded to Chuck with my thoughts. I decided to write a blog post on the same topic as it highlights value of networking at genealogical institutes.

I attended NIGR in 2008 and am still friends with a least 17 of my classmates (attendance is generally limited to 40 people). I love to reconnect with them when I attend other national conferences and genealogy institutes. The institutes are absolutely my favorite type of genealogy education! Here are just a few of the lasting connections I made with classmates at NIGR:

Andrew Brethauer (NARA staff member) attended in 2008 and still assists me with questions when I am researching at NARA.

Joni Kesler and Danielle Batson attended from the Family History Library and I visit them when I am in Salt Lake. Joni occasionally hires me to do work for her at NARA.

Cafi Cohen and Cheryl Storton introduced me to their four-generation heirloom albums complete with photos, charts, maps, stories and original documents. I have created two of these beautiful albums for clients. IN 2010 they brought members of their California genealogy society on a research trip to D.C. and I assisted them with researching at the National Archives.

Cathy Desmarais and I were both in the first ProGen Study Group when we attended NIGR, and now five more of my NIGR classmates are participating in this study program (which I happen to manage).

Deane Dierksen and Jennifer Dondero live in Virginia and I see them at Fairfax Genealogy Society meetings.

I love the connections I make with other genealogists at institutes such as NIGR, SLIG and IGHR and how we continue to support each other in our genealogical endeavors.

My comments to Chuck focused on my classmates, but I really should give appreciation to the NIGR directors and instructors too!

Patty Shawker (director of NIGR) and Claire Bettag (former director and current instructor) have acted as mentors to me and encouraged me in my professional genealogy goals. They are very supportive as I work to develop expertise in federal records, and now both serve as mentors in the ProGen Study Program benefiting many other genealogists.

I wish to express my gratitude to the many genealogists who have had such a positive impact on me and my career! I could write the same type of post for each of the institutes I have attended.

I could go on and on about what NIGR has done for me beyond networking with other genealogists, but I think I will save that for another blog post.

1 comment:

  1. I agree whole-heartedly with you Angela. On top of the top-notch education one gets from world class instructors at the Institutes, the lasting friendships and networking opportunities are like no other.