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MEMBERSHIP:
Information
Application

Membership questions?
Email
membership@wmgs.org

 
Western Michigan
Genealogical Society
c/o Grand Rapids
Public Library
111 Library Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI
49503-3268
Email - wmgs@wmgs.org
 

MEETINGS & EVENTS

Meeting Calendar | Genealogy Classes | Writer's Workshops

MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS

We meet at 1:30 p.m. in the Ryerson Auditorium of the Grand Rapids Public Library on the first Saturday of the month, September through June. Should the first Saturday fall on a holiday weekend, another day will be scheduled. The June meeting is often times changed to the 2nd Saturday. Unless a special program, each meeting has a one-hour lecture on a genealogy related subject by a knowledgeable speaker. Books and charts are sold at our meetings and a "Hospitality Hour" follows. All meetings are free and open to the public. 

REMINDER: Parking is free at the library on Saturdays. Just make sure you validate your parking exit ticket in the machine in the first floor lobby.

Please review our weather cancellation policy so you'll be aware how we'll inform you when it is necessary to cancel a meeting.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

 

Our next monthly membership meeting is...

Saturday, December 2nd (1:30 p.m.) - Membership Meeting -

 Topic: GENEALOGICAL RESOURCES AT THE GRAND RAPIDS PUBLIC LIBRARY

Presenter: Susan Rabick

Susan Rabick 

The downtown Grand Rapids Public Library (History & Special Collections, 4th floor) houses vast, often overlooked, resources for genealogists. Thoroughly covered are Michigan, the Midwest and eastern states beginning in colonial times. Less extensive holdings are available for the rest of the U.S. and of the world. Through a Power Point presentation, the lecturer will show sample books, their contents, and how to locate those relevant to a participant. Vital statistic records, genealogies, histories, and “How-to” books will be included. Other suggested materials for visitors to the library include periodicals, searchable collections, archival collections, and data bases. These will also be addressed and guidance given for accessing them. 

Susan Rabick

Susan Rabick has dabbled in her family genealogy since her teens but got serious about twenty years ago. She has been able to trace her family back to New Netherland and the Mayflower in the United States and to Louis Herbert, the Father of Canada. After retirement, she became active in WMGS, currently holding the office of Historian. She is a member of the "Tuesday Genies" at the Main Branch of the GRPL where she helps people with their research. Sue has a membership in several genealogy societies in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New England, Ontario and New York.

 

Mini-Class Saturday, December 2nd (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)

Topic: Genealogy Gift Ideas

Choosing a gift for a family member can sometimes be puzzling. Stop by to get ideas or share ideas of your own.

Instructor: Linda Guth
Location: Adult Computer Lab, Lower Level



Saturday, January 6th (1:30 p.m.) - Membership Meeting -

 Topic: The Wives (and Lives) of the Early Dutch Pastors

Presenter: Janet Sheeres

Janet Sheers

The Christian Reformed Church in North America was founded in 1857, and is headquartered in Grand Rapids.  The lives of its pastors have been well documented and written about.  However, the stories of the wives of these pastors have been sadly ignored in the history writings of the church. In her recently published book For Better For Worse, Janet Sheeres has brought some of these women out of obscurity and describes their challenges and living conditions. Many of these stories played out in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

Janet Sjaarda Sheeres is an independent scholar, genealogist, and freelance author who researches and writes on the subject of family, church, and Dutch emigration/immigration history.  Since she began writing about thirty years ago she has published three books, over 70 articles in various national and international historical and genealogical journals. Janet was born in the Netherlands, speaks fluent Dutch.

 Mini-Class Saturday, January 6th (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)

Topic: To be announced



Saturday, February 3rd (1:30 p.m.) - Membership Meeting -

Uncovering Your African American Genealogist Treasure Trove Hiding in the Attic

Presenter: Janis Minor ForteJanis Minor Forte

African Americans often think they don't have any genealogical or family history information to begin their research. This lecture is designed to dispel that myth by presenting an array of strategies, methods and techniques to research forward. At the completion of this lecture the participant will have developed an appreciation of his/her historical past and the vast array of ancestral, artifacts, heirlooms, family memorabilia and other treasures.

Janis Minor Forté is a genealogist, writer and lecturer who has received awards and citations for her research achievements. The granddaughter of a slave, Forté has been researching the history of her family since the late 1970s. Using a compilation of traditional and non-traditional sources, she has successfully traced her maternal ancestors to 1754; and her paternal ancestors to 1810 and has documented one line of her family to the African Island of Madagascar.

 

Mini-Class Saturday, February 3rd (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)

Topic: To be announced


DIG
By Thorwald at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Formed in 2015, the Western Michigan Genealogical Society's DNA Interest Group (DIG) meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month in the Grand Rapids Public Library's VanderVeen Center on the 4th floor. Meetings are held 7 p.m.

Questions, comments or program suggestions are welcome! Please contact Roger Moffat - DataMaster@wmgs.org

 
GENEALOGY CLASSES

Tuesday, December 5th,  6:30 - 8:30 PM

Immigration

Discovering an ancestor's name on a passenger list not only provides a vital link to the old country, but also brings to mind the uncertain journey and many sacrifices our ancestors must have made as they left their home, possessions, friends, and family for a new life in a new land.

Instructor: Linda Guth
Location: 4th Floor VanderVeen Room


Beginner Genealogy Classes 

NOTICE: Beginning September, we offer a series of beginner Genealogy classes (held weekly, on Tuesdays on the 4th Floor unless otherwise noted). 

Census Records
Tuesday, November 21
Instructor: Sue Irvine
A census is a count and description of the population of a country, state, county, or city for a given date. Come and learn about the different census records and how they differ.

RESEARCH TRIPS

Allen County Public Library

Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s
Bus Trip to Fort Wayne’s
Allen County Public Library

The Fall trip is over. We'll let you know when the next is scheduled.


WMGS WRITERS GROUP

The Dominican Center on the corner of East Fulton and Lakeside Drive is the location for WMGS Writers Group workshops. We normally meet 1:30 to 4:45 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month.

We help and support each other's desire to write about our families with a kind eye and lots of humor. Everyone is welcome.

For more details, look here...

OTHER ACTIVITIES AT MONTHLY MEETINGS

Refreshments:   Many WMGS members are great cooks!  They share homemade cookies and other goodies with us during our social time!  Social time for gene-people is as must!  Who else wants to listen to how you found G-G-G Grandpa except another WMGS member?   If you can bring cookies, contact Joann Fast, our Hospitality Chairperson.

WMGS Book Sales:  WMGS stocks quite a large number of new  books and materials for your inspection.  We feel that most people want to browse through genealogy books before they purchase. Valuable genealogy materials are  difficult to find in the normal bookstores.  Got ideas?  Want to help?  Let us know!   Watch for our Christmas Special in December!

 

  *Includes Kent County and the counties immediately surrounding; namely Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo, Montcalm, Ionia, Barry and Allegan Counties. There is some extension beyond these counties into other areas of the Western Lower Peninsula.


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