The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed) is held at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. (Archives I), headquarters of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), official repository of the permanently valuable records of the United States government. Federal records document a wide variety of interactions between ordinary citizens and the government—in some cases providing unique genealogical information, and in others, biographical and contextual detail that enriches understanding of our ancestors’ lives.
Gen-Fed is designed to instill a methodological framework and foster creative thinking about relevant records—setting the stage for federal discovery. Geared towards experienced genealogists, archivists, historians and librarians, it is a unique opportunity to explore holdings unavailable elsewhere.
Formerly known as the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), the institute has been a leader in genealogical education since its founding in 1950 as a three-week comprehensive program. It has evolved throughout its history in response to growth in genealogical education, advances in record access, and changes in technology. Its trustees are representatives of the American Society of Genealogists, Association of Professional Genealogists, Board for Certification of Genealogists, Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, and the institute’s alumni association. The National Archives, a non-voting member, provides strong support, on-site classrooms, and a welcoming atmosphere.
After a hiatus in 2015, the institute returned to its traditional July schedule in 2016 with a new name that reflects its mission.