West Michigan Junes are wonderful. There are many things to do and the weather generally cooperates. As genealogists, we need to take advantage of the summertime weather and longer daylight hours and do some outdoor activities – like cemetery trips, family reunions, and vacation/research trips to areas where our ancestors lived. Genealogically speaking, I hope this summer will be very productive for you!

Maybe you’ll have an experience this summer that you’d like to share with others. Do you like to write? We’re seeking a few people to periodically contribute short articles or stories for the WMGS Blog. News or events, books you’d recommend, historical or family information, research tips, or fun facts are all possible subjects. If you like to write, but aren’t sure how a blog works, we can show you how easy it is to publish online. An internet connection and browser are all that you need. If you are at all interested, please write to me (president@wmgs.org) and I will give you more information about how you can contribute to one of our resources.

Speaking of books to recommend, my wife surprised me last week with a new book published this year called Michigan and the Civil War: A Great and Bloody Sacrifice. It’s a great read. Jack Dempsey is the author and he is Chairman of Michigan’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. Jack connects important events and issues surrounding the Civil War with people and places from Michigan in very interesting ways. Did you know that Rienzi, Phil Sheridan’s famous horse was foaled in Grand Rapids? Or did you know that Rienzi, the most honored horse in America, is on display in the Hall of Armed Forces History at the Smithsonian? Or did you know that the Republican Party had its beginnings  in Jackson, Michigan? Those may qualifies as “fun facts,” but the book is full of great observations and concepts of why Michigan was very important in this pivotal historic period in the U.S.  I encourage you to check it out.


“There’s more in Indiana than the Allen County Public Library” is how our speaker this month describes his talk entitled HUNTING YOUR HOOSIER ANCESTORS: RESOURCES YOU MAY HAVE OVERLOOKED. Dave Eisner, Director of the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, will describe some of the more useful, but largely unsung, genealogical resources in Indiana, from libraries to museums to personal collections. Like Michigan, Indiana is rich in genealogical history and resources as well as the dedicated people who know how to use the materials. He’ll explore some of these repositories to provide listeners ideas on new places to search for those elusive ancestors. For additional background, you can read more at www.wmgs.org/meetings_events.htm.

The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Ryerson Auditorium at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Parking is free on Saturday. Remember to get your parking slip validated at the machine located in the library lobby.

The title of Saturday’s Mini Class is entitled Protecting Your Data from Catastrophic Loss – Backing up Your Files. Come early on Saturday and learn about this important aspect of Family history research before the general meeting. Saturday’s Mini-Class will be held from 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. in the Adult Computer Center, GRPL lower level.

I hope to see many of you on Saturday!