Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research.

Saturday, 2 June – Thursday, 7 June 2018

Registration Information for 2018

Saturday, January 13, 2018 - Early Bird registration begins

Saturday, March 10, 2018 - Early Bird registration ends

Sunday, May 6, 2018 - IGHR registration ends

The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) provides an educational forum for the discovery, critical evaluation, and use of genealogical sources and methodology through a week of intensive study led by nationally prominent genealogical educators. Students choose one course that lasts throughout the week. Topics range from a course for beginners to a variety of courses on specialized topics.

IGHR is hosted by the Georgia Genealogical Society with courses taking place at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel on the University of Georgia Campus in historic Athens, Georgia. This new venue finally allows courses and accommodations to be under one roof. In addition to the advantages of the Georgia Center, attendees will also benefit from access to the world-class libraries of the University of Georgia including the law library and special collections libraries as well as the nearby Heritage Room at the Athens-Clarke County Library.

IGHR is academically and professionally oriented. The faculty is composed of outstanding nationally known genealogy educators. Begun in 1962, the institute regularly enrolls over 200 students from around the country. Please click on the above tabs for more information.

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Early Bird tuition for IGHR 2017 is $585 until 1 April 2017. Full price tuition is $625. Payment can be made by credit card through PayPal (a PayPal account is not required) or by mailing a check payable to Georgia Genealogical Society to the following address:

Georgia Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 550247
Atlanta, GA 30355-2747

Please write IGHR and the name of the course for which you are paying on the memo line on your check. Your payment must be postmarked no later than the third day after the date of your registration or your reservation for this course will be cancelled and you will need to register again.

Your tuition includes the five-day course for which you registered, the syllabus as a downloadable PDF file, morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, and two evening meals – Sunday and Thursday. Pre-paid meal plan options are available on the IGHR website under IGHR 2017 - Dining Options, accommodation information is available under IGHR 2017 - Accommodations, and a printed syllabus may be ordered in advance for an additional cost at IGHR 2017 - Course Syllabus Detail.

Coming soon.

History for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research can be traced back over half a century. The first institute was held at Howard College, now Samford University, in September 1962. During its first years it was called the Willo Institute of Genealogy. The institute was named after its sponsor, Willo Press, a local press headed up by Elizabeth Wood Thomas. The press specialized in genealogical and historical materials. Thomas is credited with founding the institute and for having "the vision to realize we need to know how to do genealogical research."1

Mr. F. W. Helmbold, the director of the college library from 1957–1983, is credited with getting the college library involved with the genealogical program. Mr. Helmbold was an avid researcher and genealogist. During his years at Howard College/Samford University, he developed a Special Collection department to emphasize Alabama and Baptist history. He was also instrumental in the acquisition of the Albert E. Casey collection, an extensive Irish collection with few rivals in the world.2

From the very beginning, premier instructors have been associated with the institute. With the leading researchers and scholars in the field teaching the courses, the institute has led the genealogy discipline in the instruction of family research and local history. Mr. Helmbold once described the purpose of the institute as being to teach researchers how, "to establish a true record of events for history, as compared to that recorded from hearsay and tradition."3 The institute has sought to instruct genealogical researchers in the art of detailed historical research beyond knowing who their ancestors were to the deeper understanding of the times and places in which their families lived.

Over the years, the institute has taken on many forms. In 1962 the institute was a two-day event with forty students attending and five faculty members. The cost that first year was only $10 plus an additional $2.50 for those who attended the formal banquet held on the first night.

By 1965, the institute had become a week-long event and had moved to the month of June. By that year, the name had also changed to the Institute of Genealogy. The institute was advertised as offering two courses, a primary course and an advanced course, both of which were to be "conducted in the air-conditioned library." The classes that year began at 9 A.M. and some lasted as late as 9:30 P.M. By 1965, the number of instructors had doubled from the original five during the 1962 institute to ten faculty members.

Under the leadership of Director Jean Thomason, the number of courses offered during the week-long institute increased to ten, the number of faculty members grew to over thirty, and the number of students grew to over two hundred. Students travel from across the country and around the globe to attend the popular institute.

  1. Roberson, Peggy. "Expert Narrates Joys, Rewards of 'Family Tree' Study." Birmingham News, June 21, 1967.
  2. History of the Samford University Library.
  3. Harris, Mike. "Genealogy is Called Highly Specialized Historical Study." Birmingham News, June 26, 1970.

Compiled by Jennifer Taylor, Technical Archivist, Samford University Library Special Collection, 2005

Our Objectives

  1. To teach the fundamentals of genealogical research and methodology.
  2. To teach research skills using a variety of resources and facilities.
  3. To provide broad and in-depth historical and genealogical subject content.
  4. To teach the evaluation of resources, proficiency in bibliographic citation, and critical analysis of documentation.
  5. To provide instruction for those wishing to pursue careers in genealogy and related disciplines.


The following scholarships are available to help pay for your tuition.

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