Published on June 5, 2012 by William Nunnelley  

Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) runs for a week every June on the Samford campus, but one of its busiest days is in January.  That's when registration is held online for the nationally known workshop, coming up June 10-15.

Once again this year, on registration day Jan. 17, the 10 courses to be offered filled in less than a day, and more than half in less than an hour.

That response six months before the institute begins underscores the high regard genealogy students have for Samford's program.  The nationally known institute, cosponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists in Washington, D.C., provides a week of intensive study led by prominent genealogy educators. It draws students from around the nation.

"The courses have earned a strong national following among serious genealogy students," said Lori Northrup, associate librarian of Samford's University Library and director of the IGHR.  "They know they must register in a hurry to get the class they want."

Two of the courses filled in less than 10 minutes: Research in the South, Part I (seven minutes) and Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents (nine minutes).  Four others closed out in 51 minutes or less.  The courses typically are limited to less than 30 students.

This year's 266 enrollees hail from 37 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and St. Croix.  The majority (71 percent) have attended previous institutes, so they know what to expect.

Ten academically-oriented courses in tracing family lines are offered.  They vary in content from year to year.  This year's offerings range from beginner's and intermediate classes to such specialized topics as military records, Virginia's land and military conflicts, tracing your English ancestors, researching African-American ancestors, advanced methodology and evidence analysis, writing and publishing for genealogists and the two fastest fillers, research in the South and advanced library research.

The 39-member faculty includes such nationally prominent instructors as Elizabeth Shown Mills, longtime editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and past president of the American Society of Genealogists; Lloyd Bockstruck, author of seven books on genealogy and former supervisor of the Dallas, Texas, Library genealogy department; Thomas Jones, trustee and past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists; Christine Rose, author of seven books on genealogy including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy, published by Simon & Schuster; Frazine Taylor, author and former head of reference for the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and others.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.