Western Michigan Genealogical Society

Browsing Posts in Meetings

At its peak in the mid-1950s, downtown Grand Rapids boasted over one-million square feet of retail space, making it Michigan’s second largest shopping destination. This presentation will take a closer look at some of the home-grown icons including Herpolsheimer’s, Steketee’s and Wurzburg’s, as well as other beloved downtown businesses. Generations made the trek downtown for […]

Latinos have a long and vibrant history in West Michigan. Local sources tell us that, although their numbers were small, some of these migrants and immigrants date back to the 1920s. Evidence shows that by the 1940s they formed a very tight-knit community.  Through consulting oral histories and reading a variety of primary source text […]

Kindergarten has a history? Revolutionary German methods for teaching young children were adopted in Grand Rapids when members of the Ladies Literary Club founded a Kindergarten Training School in 1894. The Froebel Foundation’s Scott Bultman will use his vast collection of photographs and documents to report on how LLC women lured the country’s best teacher […]

Perfect early August weather and great tour. Here are some photos of our day with Tom Dilley at Oak Hill Cemetery. Enjoy the virtual tour – photos courtesy of Marcia Shears.

Press Release The Western Michigan Genealogical Society (WMGS) announces its 2013 GotAncestors?! Annual Seminar entitled Are You Having Fun Yet?!  The event is Friday and Saturday, October 11th and 12th at the Prince Conference Center in Grand Rapids. The cost is $59.00 per person for the entire two-day program if registered before September 22nd. A […]

I really enjoy genealogy. I mean REALLY. I know people who’ve been doing family research much longer than me. Most don’t get paid. We aren’t forced. Why is it people “work” for years on their family history if it isn’t fun? What’s so fun about it? Genealogy is often compared to jigsaw puzzles. Puzzles are […]

6 April 2013 was WMGS Volunteer Appreciation Day. The Winners of the Writers’ Competition were announced and were presented with their Awards, and the 2012 Volunteer of the Year – Jan VanWyck was announced. Pictures are below. Click to View the whole photo gallery

Pat Bravender spoke at our meeting on Saturday, January 5th about a topic that is probably not heard often – Establishing Kinship Using Family Reunion Announcements. Our speaker presented a program based on her article of the same title in the spring 2012 issue of American Ancestors (NEHGS) which you can download and read at […]

The monthly meeting on November 3rd featured Tim Gleisner of the Grand Rapids Public Library and WMGS board member, Lisa Christensen teaming up to discuss Mexican-American genealogy resources and research methods. An enthusiastic audience gave their program very high marks! The handout for Lisa’s portion is available here. We think you’ll find it very informative […]

West Michigan Junes are wonderful. There are many things to do and the weather generally cooperates. As genealogists, we need to take advantage of the summertime weather and longer daylight hours and do some outdoor activities – like cemetery trips, family reunions, and vacation/research trips to areas where our ancestors lived. Genealogically speaking, I hope […]