National Institute on Genealogical Research

Going to NIGR, not Niger

Street in Naimey, Niger

Not the corner of Pennsylvania and 7th Sts NW

Things are confusing in our household at the moment. One of us is traveling in Niger for work, and the other is attending the National Institute on Genealogical Research, known by its acronym, NIGR. The Nigeriens (not to be confused with Nigerians, from Nigeria) prefer a French pronunciation of the country name, something along the lines of “nee-ZHER,” while the Institute goes by “NYE-jur.”

Now that I’ve cleared up pronunciation, the more important information is, what is NIGR? NIGR is an intensive program offering a series of lectures plus on-site examination of federal records at the National Archives.

The syllabus includes: court martial records, pensions and other military records; public and private land claims; the Freedmen’s Bureau and Southern Claims Commission; American Indian research; using photographs and maps for genealogy; a lecture on documents relating to pirates and privateers; plus sessions in the Library of Congress, the Daughters of the American Revolution Library and with the US Customs and Immigration Service.

Whew. It’s going to be a brain-bursting week. I can’t wait.