WMGS-Blog

Western Michigan Genealogical Society

This has always been a very useful resource… now getting even better!  This is from the website:

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I signed up to attend the 2017 NGS national conference after having been to a couple of regional WMGS Got Ancestors conferences featuring nationally known speakers. One of the first things that I noticed as a difference between the conferences was the choices continue reading…

The biggest breakthrough of my genealogy life happened at a national conference in Fort Wayne many, many years ago.  I had enjoyed the conference  thoroughly, but found that  it was necessary for me to leave a little early on the last day.  Reluctantly I wandered through the vendors hall one last time and came upon a man telling someone he had a book that gave the origin in Germany for particular family names.  I waited in line and then asked him if my maiden name Weidenfeller might be in the book and there it was!! In a moment after years and years of fruitless searching I was handed the name of the tiny village in Germany where my grandfather was born. I recall driving home in a cloud of joy. So while the speakers at a conference are important, sometimes it is just a serendipitous moment that makes it so worthwhile, but we won’t know if we don’t put yourselves in the place to have it happen. – Marlene F.

Finally – I’m working on my centennial certificate application. What I’ve found is quite surprising! One of my relatives died during childbirth of the oldest child! Then I found another child born with two different names on the same date! I have documentation! Apparently somebody entered invalid information in my genealogy program! Who?!? ME?!? Couldn’t be! continue reading…

I had never thought about attending a National Genealogy Conference until recently, but now I am looking forward to attending the 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am especially excited about the 2018 Family History Conference which will be held in Grand Rapids.

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I’ve heard it said that only about 10 to 20 percent of the genealogical information out there is available online. Yet, that is often the first or maybe the only place that people, myself included, look. I prefer to do my research late at night when there are no distractions. Unfortunately, libraries and other places where records are kept prefer to do business during the day.
Even though the possibilities are limited, I have made several interesting discoveries during my late-night searches. continue reading…

Because I am going to be 80 years old, have never attended a National Genealogy Society convention, and want to see what it’s all about.  Because of my age, it is doubtful I will be around at the next one (if we agree or are asked to hold another one).  So if I don’t take this opportunity now, I may never get another chance!
 
Lucy Read

When I think about attending a national conference the obvious benefits are the classes featuring speakers who are experts in their genealogy niche. I often forget about the benefits of relaxing and talking with other genealogists during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes we talk about where we’re from and where our ancestors came from. Other times we talk about our current research research frustrations. The great thing about these meals is that we are talking with people who are interested in our passion. You’d be surprised by the number of times I have encountered someone who had helpful hints for the areas I was working in. Then, there are the serendipitous encounters like the one I had the morning after Roots Tech had finished. continue reading…

Christmas 1954

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Recipe Box of LettersFor Christmas this year (2016), my sister sent me an old recipe box stuffed with letters to my father in the 1940’s and 1950’s. One of the first ones I pulled out, on December 25, described my grandmother’s Christmas in 1954. She lived in Niagara Falls Ontario, the community where she, and later my father, grew up. Most of the people she mentions are her siblings and their offspring. The depiction of her holiday celebration is fascinating and intimate.

There are several people mentioned by first name. I’ve included an addendum that explains who they all are at the end of this article.  – Sue R. continue reading…

Early Memories…

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There are times that I just happen across things in my house that have been there for years… originating from a grandparent, distant cousin, or was acquired, stored and forgotten. Sound familiar? This is one of those stories.

My grandfather Kenneth Bennett passed away twenty years ago. Since I was the “family historian” items often just ended up at my house. I have a six-foot “highboy” dresser with drawers full of ephemera and photo albums. I don’t remember opening this particular manila envelope before. In it are several old newspapers, pages folded. They’re faded and brittle. The earliest is from 1918 with a headline proclaiming FIGHTING STOPS; PEACE REIGNS; FOE SIGNS DRASTIC TRUCE TERMS marking the end of the fighting in the Great War.  There were another dozen or so newspapers up through the 1960s. My grandfather, born in 1904, was apparently saving news clips of important events during his life from the time he was about 14 years old.

I recognized that some were articles mentioning him… mostly having to do with his term as president of the Michigan Rural Letter Carriers association in the 1950s. Some included photos of him at association gatherings. That made sense.  In the 1960s… there was the John F. Kennedy’s assassination headline; and the space program and moon landings were well represented.

One headline in the Grand Rapids Press from 4 April 1956 caught my attention because it was very personal to me in my childhood! TORNADO KILLS 18, HURTS 200 IN SMASH AT KENT, OTTAWA. continue reading…