NIGR is now Gen-Fed

The message below was received from Gen-Fed. The week-long institute’s focus on Federal records and how to find them–especially those that are not online–is  intended for moderately experienced researchers and librarians; it is not for beginners.

The Board of Trustees of the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) has announced that the institute’s name was changed to the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed) on December 22, 2015. The institute, held annually at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1960 as a three-week general course on genealogy. In 1987, it narrowed its focus to federal records.

“Given the growth in genealogical education, it made sense to choose a name that clearly identifies the institute’s mission,” said Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG, director. “A new website,, offers a closer look at the program, which is scheduled for July 11–15, 2016.  You can also follow the institute on Facebook and Twitter (@GenFedInstitute).”

Diane Dimkoff, coordinator of research customer support at the National Archives, stated, “We are pleased that the institute’s new name reflects the significance of federal records and look forward to continuing our traditional collaboration.”

The institute’s alumni association (NIGRAA) has joined with Gen-Fed at its new website:

Alumni can now update contact information, join or renew, and pay dues online.

Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG℠

Federal Laws Online

I needed to hunt down federal laws a few times in recent weeks, so make it easier on myself and others to find online links, I’m posting them here.

High school civics lesson reminder: Federal laws are passed by Congress, then approved by the President. If the President vetoes (disapproves) the legislation, it can still become law if the Congress overrides the veto by a two-thirds vote in each chamber. Once they are the law of the land, they are published in the Statutes at Large.

Digital copies of the Statutes at Large can be conveniently found online at four websites listed below. (The links take you directly to the right place on each website.) There is some overlap between the sites, and you may find you like the interface on one better than the other.

Are You Hearing Voices?

You could be. It might be the voice of an ancestor speaking to you directly about his or her life. Don’t worry, you’re not losing your mind. That voice may be speaking to you from testimony in a court case file, claims file, military pension file, investigative file, or immigration case file. Finding it may take a bit of work–and luck–but it might exist. “In Their Own Words: Family Stories in the National Archives.” Vol. 41, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2015): 34-35, 37 takes a brief look at a few types of “case file” records in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration that contain ancestral voices.