Western Michigan Genealogical Society

The Madison Square business district ca. 1950

While researching his church’s first hundred years for This Far by Faith: The Unfinished Story of Madison Square Church (2017), Don Bryant discovered surprising connections among people, organizations, and events that characterized the Grand Rapids neighborhood in which the church was planted in 1914. As the first business district outside downtown, the Square’s long history provides fodder for compelling looks at the area’s past. Bryant illustrates why knowing local history can impact the present and how it can connect to one’s family background in personal, exciting, and rewarding ways.

Presenter: Don Bryant
Sponsor: Western Michigan Genealogical Society

Saturday, January 20, 2018

9:30 am – 4:00 pm | Main Library | 111 Library St NE

A day-long event made up of six programs exploring various aspects of Grand Rapids history. Presented by area historians and members of historical and cultural organizations, topics are varied and reflect the unique heritage of West Michigan. http://www.grpl.org/historydetectives/

Looking ahead to NGS 2018 Conference May 2-5 Grand Rapids, Michigan! Here is a glimpse of Sue Irvine’s time at Raleigh in May 2017 and what we can look forward to in GR!

Vendor area open and free to the public.

The American Ancestors booth was huge.  You’ll love looking at all the books they publish.  A chance to check them out before you buy!!!  I bought a whole set and they shipped them right to my home!   Whow! continue reading…

Have you ever asked yourself this question?

How to submit your data.

If you are a WMGS Member, you can submit your data to us to have it published on the WMGS Members’ Genealogy site, (http://trees.wmgs.org/) where it can act as “cousin bait” so that others researching their ancestors might also find your ancestors, and so be able to make a connection to you.

To submit your data to this site, you can send a GEDCOM file to DataMaster@wmgs.org. It is best to compress the GEDCOM file before attaching it to the eMail.

If you don’t know how to create a GEDCOM file, check the Help settings for your software, or ask Google

  • If you have the option, you should use UTF-8 as the character set for the export – particularly if you have accented or “foreign” characters in your names and place names

Some notes about how the site works:

  • Information about Living people is suppressed from display online – provided that there is a birthdate present for the people concerned so that the software can determine that they are Living – i.e. born less than 110 years ago, and no death date present;
  • If you suppress information about Living people from the GEDCOM file export, so that there are no birthdates listed, then the website software won’t know people are alive and will show their name if that’s what you included in the GEDCOM file;
  • Your data will be loaded into a unique “tree” on the site, so it will sit alongside all the other “trees” that are present (currently more than 700);
  • You will be shown as the “owner” of the data in your tree, and anyone that finds something of interest to them will be able to contact you directly by eMail;
  • You will be able to update information on your tree by sending a new GEDCOM file that will replace ALL of the data you currently have online

There are over 700 family trees online now. Are you ready to try it?

[This instruction can always be found at http://trees.wmgs.org/ and also accessible through our main database site at http://data.wmgs.org/]

Out with the old.

Ted  Bainbridge,  Ph.D.

Findagrave.com has announced that the web site soon will change.  Some changes are cosmetic, while others are functional.  A map feature has been added.

The home page, formerly just a list of over thirty choices, will become a photograph with a few menu selections across the top.  That page will be dominated by the search panel, which will function largely as it has in the past and with the same options for every search box except those related to location.

The current search panel specifies location via pull-down lists for country, state, and county.  The new search panel offers a single box for location, in which you are supposed to type the name of a place.  As you begin to type a city, county, state, or country that box auto-fills with suggested place names which you can select with a mouse click.  Use the American English equivalent of a country name; Germany works but Deutschland doesn’t. continue reading…

From NGS Family History Conference blog:

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) expects as many as 2,000 family historians and professional genealogists will attend its 2018 Family History Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Michigan and other genealogical and historical societies are invited to showcase their organizations at Society Night, an innovative exposition, on Wednesday, 2 May, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., in the Center Concourse of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

If your Organization is interested, you can make a reservation online. The cost is $50 for a table; sharing with another group is possible. Read more about this!

Article from the Lowell Ledger Sept. 25, 1919

Gerrit Streelman, originally from the Netherlands, was just stopping by the bank on Grandville Avenue near Grand Rapids, Michigan one morning in 1919 when he realized a robbery was taking place. Shots were fired and Gerrit died instantly. continue reading…

I have been wanting to visit Woodville, and Pemberville, Ohio for several years. My grandparents lived in the area for several years and my father was born in Woodville and attended school there. continue reading…

We all wonder, from time to time, what will become of all our genealogical charts and stories and books and mementoes. What will happen to your stuff? continue reading…

I Love WritingThe next National Genealogical Society Family History Conference will be right here in Grand Rapids. As the local host society, the Western Michigan Genealogical Society has been preparing in various ways – planning for promotion, assisting NGS staff with local arrangements, and recruiting volunteers. One of our values is partnering with people and organizations from all over Michigan and the Great Lakes region to be part of the effort to welcome genealogists and family history fanatics to our area.

We’ll be posting updates more and more as May 2018 draws closer. This article invites those who enjoy writing to participate by telling others about the 2018 conference, the various resources we have in Michigan, and sharing details about what visitors will find here. The early articles are identified to cover area repositories, special collections, and local attractions for visitors. Each article should be 400 words or less and focused on a specific subject and include at least one photo or image. Include all basic information such as locations, hours of operations, costs, and phone numbers as applicable.

Looking ahead, there will be more specific topics as we get closer to the conference in May.

Would you like to help write? Have questions? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or send an email to webmaster@wmgs.org and we’ll get back to you.

A few months ago I posted about my reason for attending a National Genealogy Conference, this is a follow-up to that post.

In May I had the opportunity to attend the NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Now, I am even more excited about the 2018 Family History Conference which will be held in Grand Rapids.

I have attended a couple of regional conferences and continue reading…