Members' Genealogy
Banner - Ancestry.com

Subscribe to FREE Newsletter
Subscription Instructions


Membership questions?

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


Meeting Calendar | Genealogy Classes | Writer's Workshops


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.



Our next monthly membership meeting is...

Saturday, September 9th (1:30 p.m.) - Membership Meeting -

Topic: Naturalization Records Online!:
    The Archives of Michigan & FamilySearch

The Archives of Michigan and FamilySearch are partnering to digitize hundreds of thousands of Michigan naturalization records. With the assistance of the Michigan Genealogical Council and researchers like you, the index will ultimately be made available at both FamilySearch and Seeking Michigan, while the images themselves will be available exclusively at www.seekingmichigan.org. This program will cover the ins and outs of the indexing process and detail the current status of the project.

Kris Rzepczynski

A Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan, where he specializes in family history and Michigan research, Kris previously worked for a number of years at the Library of Michigan as the Michigan/Genealogy Coordinator. He holds a MLIS from Wayne State University and a MA in History from Western Michigan University. Kris has presented at national, state, and local conferences, including the Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, Ohio Genealogical Society, and for dozens of local genealogical societies and public libraries. He is also a former Vice-President of Membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies and a Past President of the Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society.


Mini-Class Saturday, September 9th (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)

Topic: What is the Census of Agriculture and how can we use it?

The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms & ranches and the people who operated them. It is taken once every 5 years, beginning back in 1840. Let’s learn about this census and how we can find out more about our farmer ancestors.

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


Saturday, October 7th (1:30 p.m.) - Membership Meeting -

Topic: Locating Living Relatives (Reverse Genealogy)

Let’s step away from researching our deceased ancestors and attempt to locate living relatives who might be in possession of Great-Great-Grandma’s family Bible, photos of Civil War ancestors, or letters written from the home country. We’ll discuss online sites that allow us to look for potential living relatives at no cost and methods for contacting them without sounding like a scammer or a phisher!

Katherine R. Willson of Ann Arbor, MI is a highly acclaimed and professionally trained national public speaker. Her passion for genealogy combined with practical and creative strategies keeps her audience fully engaged and actively participating in these energetic, entertaining presentations.



Mini-Class Saturday, October 7th (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)

Topic: to be announced

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


Saturday, November 4th (1:30 p.m.) - Membership Meeting -

Topic: Civil War Historical Novel

The Turner Daughter Series details the lives of a family that was torn by the Civil War. Each novel revolves around one individual family. It also features one actual historic figure as a main character. Though War Shall Rise Against Me takes place in Gettysburg and focuses on Charlotte Turner, who is left to run the family farm in Pennsylvania. We also meet her friends, Alexandra Sadler, Augusta Lewis and actual Gettysburg civilian Ginny Wade.

Erica Marie LaPres Emelander is a middle school social studies/religion teacher who lives in Grand Rapids, MI. Erica has always enjoyed reading and writing. Along with her love of history and God, she has been able to incorporate all four of these loves into her writing. Erica is currently working on a Historical Fiction Civil-War Era book series, the Turner Daughters. Her novels revolve around the civilians who lived during the Civil War. Before writing her books, Erica does as much research as possible in order to make her novels as historically accurate as possible.



Mini-Class Saturday, November 4th (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)

Topic: to be announced

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



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


Monday, September 25th 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Hidden Treasures in Your Libraries, Museums and Archives Are you looking for new research resources? Discover the much overlooked resources in Michigan and around the world in “All types of Repositories” when doing genealogical or family history research. Tap into these resources and fill your genealogical arsenal with a new treasure trove of forgotten collections created to document life events over centuries of time and preserved for posterity in a variety of ways.

Instructor: Claire Brisson-Banks (http://clairebrissonbanks.com)
Location: 4th Floor VanderVeen Room

NOTICE: Beginning on Tuesday, September 12th, we will be having very basic, beginner Genealogy classes (held weekly, on Tuesdays). The topics for each day is still being finalized. Watch for news on dates and class descriptions.




Allen County Public Library

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

The Spring 2017 Bus trip is now history. We'll be planning another research excursion in the autumn.


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...


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.

Copyright WMGS 1997-2017
Privacy Policy