About IGHR

What is IGHR?

The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) is an annual week-long educational institute for genealogists. It differs from a genealogy conference in that attendees register for one course for the entire week, thus allowing them to delve into a specific topic or methodology more deeply than what a typical conference might allow.

Hosted by the Georgia Genealogical Society, IGHR attendees travel from across the country and around the globe to attend the popular institute. IGHR is not just for individuals whose research involves Georgia or southern ancestry. The institute is for genealogists of all backgrounds and skill levels from beginning to advanced. It educates hobbyists and professionals alike. Traditionally IGHR enrolls about 300 attendees each summer.

IGHR’s history is more than fifty years old. Established in 1962, the institute’s first session was held at Howard College––now Samford University––in Birmingham, Alabama. Founded by Elizabeth Wood Thomas, the institute was originally known as the Willo Institute of Genealogy.

Through the years, the institute has greatly evolved. What began as a simple two-day event with forty students quickly expanded into a well-respected institute for serious genealogical researchers. Within three short years, IGHR became a week-long event that took place each June and the name changed to the Institute of Genealogy.

Under the leadership of directors such as F. Wilbur Helmbold and Jean Thomason, attendance and course offerings grew as did the institute’s reputation in the genealogy community. The tremendous growth and success of the institute eventually meant it needed to move to a larger campus; consequently, after fifty-four wonderful years in Alabama, IGHR moved to its current home––the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel in Athens, Georgia––under the leadership of past-director Laura Carter, MLIS, SLIS, MEd. This current facility allows for all classrooms, food, and most hotel accommodations to be under the same air-conditioned roof. Additionally, IGHR attendees benefit from access to the world-class libraries of the University of Georgia, including its law library and special collections libraries.

We invite you to learn with us in Athens!

Georgia Genealogical Society

The Georgia Genealogical Society (GGS) is a nonprofit volunteer organization founded in 1964. Its mission is to raise the standards of genealogical research through education programs (such as the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, workshops, and webinars) and the publication of genealogical data. GGS is a “Friend of the Archives,” growing the genealogical collection and promoting the collection and preservation of early records of the Colony and state of Georgia for the Georgia Archives.

The Georgia Genealogical Society is incorporated in the State of Georgia and recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) corporation. GGS may be reached by mail: P.O. Box 550247, Atlanta, GA 30355-2747 and by email: info@gagensociety.org.

Our Objectives

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