Registration Details for Gen-Fed 2017 Released

National Archives Archives, Constitution Avenue

The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed) has announced details on registration, scheduled to open on Saturday, February 25, at 3:00 PM EST. Reservations will be taken online, via 123SignUp, and tuition payment will be due by check within 15 days of making a reservation. Complete instructions are posted here. Read them over and mark your calendars!

If you are wondering if Gen-Fed is a good choice for you, check out last year’s post entitled “Are You Ready for Gen-Fed?”  For other perspectives on how this institute fits in a genealogical education plan, read blog posts by Dave McDonald and DearMyrtle.

To learn more about this year’s program, visit Gen-Fed-2017.

Gen-Fed Program for 2017 Released

Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, speaks with 2016 Gen-Fed attendees. NARA photo by Brogan Jackson.












The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records has announced its 2017 list of lecturers and topics for the week-long course to be held at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and College Park, Maryland, from July 10–14, 2017. Among those presenting are NARA staff members, current and retired, and expert genealogists, researchers, historians, and librarians from a variety of backgrounds. The Innovation Hub at NARA-DC, located within the Robert M. Warner Research Center on the first floor, offers proximity to archivists and records and serves as the institute’s home base. more “Gen-Fed Program for 2017 Released”

New AncestryProGenealogists Scholarship Program Includes Gen-Fed

ancestryprogenealogists-sp-logo-greenblueAttending a week-long institute is among the best educational investments a professional genealogist can make. But the cost of tuition, transportation, and accommodations can wipe out a budding professional’s business account in one fell swoop.  Budgeting for Gen-Fed—held in Washington, DC, in July, at the height of tourist season—is especially challenging.

Ancestry’s AncestryProGenealogists Scholarship Program, new for 2017, will cover tuition, round-trip airfare and hotel expenses for Gen-Fed, one of four institutes included, for a qualified applicant who “demonstrates a commitment to genealogy as a profession, a desire for professional development, and the ability to communicate that commitment and desire in writing.”

This is an exciting and valuable opportunity for those who want to deepen their understanding of federal records for the benefit of their clients. Don’t delay! Applications are due December 31, 2016.

For more information and rules:

We thank Ancestry and AncestryProGenealogists for including Gen-Fed as one of the covered institutes and for their commitment to the genealogical community!


Gen-Fed Alumni Association Announces 2017 Lackey Scholarship

Capture of New Logo

The Richard S. Lackey Scholarship is awarded annually to an experienced researcher active in a paid or volunteer position which directly benefits the genealogical community.  This year the scholarship will award $600, which covers full tuition for the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed), and partly defrays hotel and/or meal cost.  The Gen-Fed Alumni Association will also provide meal coverage at the Gen-Fed Alumni Banquet on Friday night, July 14, 2017, where a check for the amount less tuition will be presented to the recipient.

For more information about the Institute,visit The application can be downloaded from the Scholarships page.

All applications and additional attachments must be submitted in PDF format, combined in one file.   The completed application form and attachments should be emailed to Angela McGhie at with “Lackey Scholarship 2017” in the subject line. The PDF file should include your last name and first initial, such as “McGhieA Lackey Scholarship 2017 Application.”

A complete application must be received by midnight 15 December 2016.  The winner will be notified by 15 February 2017.  The scholarship winner will automatically be accepted for the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records to be held at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., from July 10-14, 2017.

The Reviews are In: Gen-Fed 2016

“Over the top” and “an institute of unforgettable magnitude” are just a few of the participant reactions to the inaugural week of the newly-branded Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed), held July 11-15, 2016, at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Attendees overwhelming agreed that the institute met their educational needs by providing an in-depth look at federal records in a setting that maximized the on-site experience. When asked what they valued most about the experience, they cited the balance between theory (lectures) and practice (pulling textual records) and the increased exposure to new ideas, resources, procedures, experts, and peers. One attendee commented that “the one-on-one with attentive and helpful archivists at NARA was worth the price of admission.”  The experience was recommended to those “ready to take his or her skills to the next level” because “a strong base of knowledge of federal records is a must for every genealogist today.”

The Class of 2016 offered exciting Tales of Discovery like this one:

“In a bounty land file, I found a widow ancestor’s War of 1812 pension application that included proof of two marriages, the deaths of both husbands, and the wartime service of the first husband including affidavits from distant FAN club members. It was a goldmine of genealogical information.”

To read more, visit  Tales of Discovery 2016. Our photo album is here.

The Institute is set for July 9–July 14, 2017.  Online registration for 2017 Gen-Fed will be held on Saturday, February 25.  To receive news about next year’s program, sign up for announcements by entering your email address in the Subscribe box on the bottom right at the institute website,


Debra A. Hoffman Appointed Assistant Director

Debra-BioPic-2012Debra A. Hoffman has been named Assistant Director of the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records. A resident of New Windsor, Maryland, she is a professional genealogist and the owner of Hoffman Genealogical Services. She is a frequent speaker at genealogical societies and libraries and has presented at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She has authored articles in the CarrolltonianDer KurierBluegrass Roots, Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. She has a certificate in Family History from Brigham Young University and is a graduate of the ProGen Study Group. Active in the genealogical community, Debra currently serves on the board of the Maryland Genealogical Society, is the Vice President of the Carroll County Genealogical Society and is the Recording Secretary for the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society. She belongs to the William Winchester Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Debra has received awards for her genealogical writing from the International Society of Family History Writers & Editors.

Debra was of great assistance in the months leading up to Gen-Fed 2016 and provided invaluable administrative support even while participating as a student. I am happy that she is willing to embrace an even greater role in the future. It is a pleasure to work with her.

In addition to managing registration and evaluation, Debra will become secretary-treasurer of the nonprofit corporation.

Malissa Ruffner, J.D., CGSM, Director
Genealogical Institute on Federal Records

2016 Banquet to feature LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, CG℠

GarrettThe National Institute on Genealogical Research Alumni Association (NIGRAA) will hold its Annual Banquet on Friday, July 15, 2016, at the close of the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, welcoming the first class of the renamed institute.  The traditional gathering offers a unique opportunity to network with graduates of the oldest genealogical institute in the country. The venue, Vantage Point Restaurant, at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn, in Arlington, Virginia, offers a stunning view of Washington, D.C.

This year’s speaker, LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, J.D. , LL.M., CG℠,  Class of  2012, will present “Including African American Genealogy in the American Mosaic.”  The cash bar opens at 6:00 PM, followed by dinner at 7: 00 PM and the program at 8:00 PM.

Guests are welcome and there is free parking.

Holiday Inn Rosslyn, 1900 North Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, VA 22209; Rosslyn Station Metro Stop.

To make reservations online, visit Members’ Corner, or download a registration form and mail it with your check: Banquet Reservation Form 15 July 2016.   

Reservation Deadline: Monday, July 11, 2016.

Lackey Scholarship Winner Announced

Angela LucasThe National Institute on Genealogical Research Alumni Association (NIGRAA) announces, with great pleasure, the recipient of the Richard S. Lackey Scholarship for 2016, Angela Lucas. Awarded yearly, this scholarship covers tuition and some other expenses for the week long seminar during July at the National Archives, previously titled NIGR, and recently renamed the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed). The scholarship application specifies an “experienced researcher employed in a paid or volunteer position in the services of the genealogical community.” Ms. Lucas’ application rose to the top, and it is a pleasure to award the scholarship to her.

Angela Lucas is a professional genealogist specializing in northern Alabama and its surrounding areas. Her work takes her to court documents, military files, and land records as she tackles complex genealogical problems. Ms. Lucas is a retired schoolteacher, passionate about learning and applying new skills, and delighted to be a Gen-Fed 2016 attendee.

Angela’s interest in genealogy started in childhood as she explored libraries, cemeteries and historic sites with her mother, an avid genealogist. At fifteen, Angela began researching her father’s family by writing letters to older relatives. Today she and her sister collaborate on their shared genealogy. Ms. Lucas volunteers at Madison County Records Center in Huntsville, Alabama, indexing early court records and assisting patrons. She is currently “on the clock” with BCG and plans to submit her portfolio this fall.

Ms. Lucas is a ProGen21 alumnus, has attended national conferences and regional seminars, has completed the NGS Home Study Course, and taken courses at IGHR (Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research) for several years. She is a member of APG, NGS, Alabama Genealogical Society, and Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society.

She is delighted and honored to be this year’s winner of the Richard S. Lackey Memorial Scholarship and is looking forward to a rewarding week in our nation’s capital. NIGRAA, in turn, is happy that Ms. Lucas decided to apply for the Richard S. Lackey Scholarship, and wishes her great success during Gen-Fed 2016.

Contact: Nicki Birch, President, NIGRAA –

Gen-Fed 2016 Currently Filled

"INAUGURAL CEREMONY. CROWDS COLLECTING," 1913; Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540.
“INAUGURAL CEREMONY. CROWDS COLLECTING,” 1913; Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540.

The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records held its first online registration this weekend, and the response was strong—100% strong.  This year’s class hails from 18 different states and promises to broaden the horizons of everyone who attends.  If you had been thinking of attending but missed registration, we highly recommend the top of the waiting list. It’s not a bad place to perch, especially for those who can be flexible and jump at opportunity. While we hope that all our registrants can follow through with their plans, real life does sometimes get in the way.

Check out this year’s program here. You can put your name on a waiting list here.  And if you need more arguments in favor of attending, read blog posts by Dave McDonaldEric StroscheinDearMyrtle, and Judy G. Russell.

Thanks to Elissa Scalise Powell for her help!  She generously shared her GRIP expertise with us, another wonderful example of the genealogical community pulling together.


Are you ready for Gen-Fed?

The GenealogBlue Skies over NARAical Institute on Federal Records has long been advertised as “for experienced researchers.” And we were recently asked the question, “What does ‘experienced’ mean?”

There is no set of fixed prerequisites. But we have come up with this list of questions. The more frequently you can answer “yes” to these questions, the more likely it is that you will enjoy and benefit from the institute.

  • Have you ever attended a week-long institute?
  • Have you researched at repositories and/or archives and used finding aids?
  • Are you familiar with federal records that are already available online?
  • Are you willing to brainstorm, with staff guidance, about where to find your ancestors in records?
  • Are you ready to give and get feedback from classmates?
  • Are you interested in broader contextual information in addition to straight genealogical information?
  • Are you ready to learn new lingo?
  • Are you prepared to manage your research time within the constraints of a record pull schedule?
  • Do you love hot weather?

That last one is a trick question. July in Washington,D.C. can be lovely!

You do not need to score 100% on the Yes Quiz.  But you do need to be ready to push yourself a bit to get the most from Gen-Fed. The rewards are great.

Registration is set for Saturday, February 27, at 11:00 AM.  Instructions are posted here. Details about Gen-Fed 2016 are here.