Western Michigan Genealogical Society


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Our Annual Seminar planning progresses. We’re looking forward to hosting Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak on her first speaking engagement in Michigan! The planning committee would appreciate your input, so… please fill out the survey at www.gotancestors.com and make your preferred session topics known.

This event is still in early planning stages. But this we know… you’ll not want to miss it! Put the dates on your calendar now – Friday evening, November 5th and Saturday, November 6th.

Our speaker this month at the GRPL is familiar to many of us. Currently the Michigan/Genealogy Coordinator at the Library of Michigan, Kris Rzepczynski has worked at the Library of Michigan for nearly 10 years. Kris will show us what can be found at Footnote.com, how to search and how to save that information. Included will be an overview the Black History Collection that contains a number of resources of interest for African-American research.

If you haven’t checked out Footnote.com yet, you are missing out on an outstanding genealogical tool. I recently discovered a new ancestral line that I had given up on a long time ago. I found a letter dated in the 1840s in a distant relative’s Revolutionary War pension file on Footnote.com. This proved a new connection for me – the PERRINE family of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Are there any relatives out there? Footnote.com is now available to use at the Grand Rapids Public Museum and is sponsored in part by WMGS. continue reading…

Upcoming on TV

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We’re very fortunate this winter. We don’t have to venture outdoors in the bitter Michigan cold for our genealogical “fix.” Here are some interesting hearthside viewing opportunities.

Where do America’s most prominent people come from? That’s the question scholar Henry Louis Gates set out to answer in a new series appropriately called “Faces of America,” which traces the genealogy of famous Americans. Faces of America is an upcoming PBS programme that starts on 10 February – details are here: continue reading…

Michigana is Being Prepared…

The January/February/March Michigana being prepared for printing features an article by Therese A. King Rich about researching her roots back to England. Gail M. Snow gives us tips on Locating Living People on the Internet. Photographs literally “stop time” and show today’s researchers a brief view of their lives. Michigana Editor Bobbi Schirado begins a series about researching the businessmen your ancestor’s knew. And you really want to read about “Poor Darling Jack” and his wife in 1885.

Don’t forget our last meeting of the year coming up on this Saturday, the 5th at 1:30pm, in the Ryerson Auditorium at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Parking is free on Saturdays. The Sales Table Committee is stocking up on extra goodies to handle the demand! There’s a discount coupon available at http://www.wmgs.org/discountcoupon.htm and in your newsletter for 20% off your entire purchase! (10% off for non- members).

We’ll be recognizing our six 2009 WMGS award winners:

“Ken Gackler AWARD of MERIT”
Applause to Sue Irvine!
Our highest award, the Ken Gackler Award of Merit recognizes exceptional contributions of a WMGS member who significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy over a period of years. continue reading…

On Saturday, November 7th, the Genealogy Guys spent the day with us at our Annual Seminar. Were you there?

If you weren’t able to be with us, you don’t have to miss out completely. The last session in the afternoon was recorded and is published as this week’s podcast at the Genealogy Guys website.   The Genealogy Guys Podcast Check it out  ?.

Be a part of genealogical history on November 7, 2009.
See and talk to “The Genealogy Guys!”

You can if you are in the crowd on that day. You will be a participant in the recording of a live “Genealogy Guys” podcast, which will later be placed online and available worldwide. You can even ask the “Guys” questions.

George G. Morgan & Drew Smith (the real names of the real “Guys”) are the oldest continual genealogical podcast, with over 184 archived podcasts you can download and listen too–or just listen without downloading. continue reading…

Our Continued Struggle

We’ve rounded the first bend – but there’s still a long way to go…..

Senate Concurrent Resolution 18 and Senate Bills 503-527 all passed the Senate committee and also passed on the Senate Floor. Now it’s time to enlighten the House.

There are two avenues of thought about SCR18 making it through the House.

1) The House is Democratic by makeup. Our chances aren’t as good if legislators vote in favor of their party leader – in this case the governor.

2) There are many first term representatives this year. These new members seem to be more likely to vote in favor of what’s best for their constituents. The old rule of following party lines is generally thought of as old school. Common sense and informative decision making are the trend. continue reading…

I originally found Henry GRIFFIN in May or June of 2000. I’ve long made it a research practice to study the families and descendants of siblings of those ancestors in my direct lines. I can’t tell you how often that has paid off in discoveries of new clues to research and interesting connections in general. Henry was the nephew of my 5th Great-Grandmother, Miriam (GRIFFIN) MEREDITH. (See Henry Griffin / Don Bryant Relationship Chart)

Portrait of Henry Griffin

Portrait of Henry Griffin

Sometime in 2008, I ran across a small item on the internet that a Henry GRIFFIN was once a mayor of Grand Haven. Then last weekend I had some time to delve into him as a subject.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to enter a family member’s name in Google and have results returned that give practically a life story in only a few hours time? I don’t mean finding another person’s research work. I’m referring to discovering the documents, books, portraits, vital records, letters, newspaper articles, land patents, pictures of houses and buildings related to the subject and family – all in a matter of hours. Not many of us will be as fortunate as we slug along, prudently tracking down scattered bits and pieces of evidence. Finding Henry GRIFFIN was a case study in Providence – or at least Fortune.  During just a few hours I learned more about the early history of Ottawa county at one sitting than I have ever learned about any specific region, just by Googling “Henry GRIFFIN – Grand Haven.” – D. Bryant

Here’s a summary of his life ordered chronologically: continue reading…

                        Relationship Chart

                         Richard GRIFFIN
                         b. 22 Jun 1732
                         at Nine Partners,
                         d. 8 Oct 1795
                         at Grimsby, Lincoln
                         m. 1757
                         at Nine Partners, NY
                         +Mary SMITH
                         b. circa 1734
                         at probably, CT
                         d. after 1780
                         at Ontario

 Smith GRIFFIN               Siblings    Miriam GRIFFIN
 b. 9 Aug 1772                           b. 15 Apr 1765
 at Nine Partners, NY                    at Coeymans Township, NY
 d. 28 Sep 1849                          d. 17 Mar 1856
 at Brantford, Brant Co, ONT             at Grimsby, Lincoln Co, ONT
 m. 1799                                 m. 17 May 1793
 at Grimsby, Lincoln Co, ONT             at Smithville, Lincoln Co, ONT
 +Eleanor CULVER                         +Charles MEREDITH
 b. 15 Jul 1780                          b. circa 1761
 at Louth, Lincoln Co, ONT               at probably, PA
 d. 1812                                 d. 1816
 at Smithville, Lincoln Co, ONT          at Grimsby, Lincoln Co, ONT
 continue reading...