Western Michigan Genealogical Society


The Ionia County Genealogical Society has graciously offered to host a special WMGS day at their research room in Lake Odessa. The room is at the Freight Station Museum, directly behind the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society Depot Museum at 1117 Emerson Street, Lake Odessa, MI.

When? Saturday April 24th from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. (ish). The day will include a tour of what is available in their sizable collection of Ionia County resources. A lunch will be provided (for a donation). Learn about the First Families of Ionia County Society. They also have wireless Internet if you want to bring your laptop. We do need to have people sign-up so the number of attendees can be properly planned for. Please email me at president@wmgs.org before April 15th if you’d like to attend. continue reading…

I will sometimes get questions from members and I do my best to answer them all. This week I received an email from Tom D.

“Have a question about the meaning of the phrase ‘was not between 16 and 45 when children were born in marriage.’  When bringing up “possible record problems” in my personal ancestral file this phrase pops up frequently.”

Interesting question. Many genealogy programs do this sort of thing.

Genealogy software programs often come with data integrity checks or “possible problems” alerts.  In this case, there are parameters pre-set to check if a birth fits the norms based on the age of the mother. Biologically, exceptions can occur, but the program is telling you that it’s possible there is an error in your data because of the mother being less than 16 or more than 45 years old. continue reading…

I received an email earlier this month from Clint Abbott in Caledonia. His ancestor, William Abbott lived in the Point Pelee, Ontario, Canada area. He raised his family there in the early 1800’s (1820-1840). Some of them stayed (one named Esther Abbott married Oliver deLaurier) and some moved on, mostly to Michigan (West Michigan – Muskegon and Moorland Township areas).

Aaron Abbott (son of William Abbott) remained with his family in West Michigan. His brother Dave Abbott moved his family to Crowley, Louisiana. continue reading…


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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…