Western Michigan Genealogical Society

Browsing Posts published in January, 2016

Beer in Grand Rapids is big. But how big is it really? Journalist Pat Evans explores the history of beer in Grand Rapids and how it influences the multitude of brewers that now call West Michigan home. Evans will also take a broader look at how the current world beer industry developed, from an eclectic […]

By the middle of the 20th century the name Herman Miller had become synonymous with “modern” furniture. Working with legendary designers George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, the company produced pieces which would become classics of industrial design. Since then, Herman Miller has collaborated with some of the most talented designers in the world, […]

Before Grand Rapids car dealerships relocated to today’s sprawling lots on suburban streets, early automobile dealers operated in more confined urban spaces near downtown and in city neighborhoods. Tom Wilson will track their movement as the car business expanded, first into neighborhoods like Eastown and Cheshire Village. They sold familiar cars like Plymouth, Pontiac and […]

At its peak in the mid-1950s, downtown Grand Rapids boasted over one-million square feet of retail space, making it Michigan’s second largest shopping destination. This presentation will take a closer look at some of the home-grown icons including Herpolsheimer’s, Steketee’s and Wurzburg’s, as well as other beloved downtown businesses. Generations made the trek downtown for […]

Latinos have a long and vibrant history in West Michigan. Local sources tell us that, although their numbers were small, some of these migrants and immigrants date back to the 1920s. Evidence shows that by the 1940s they formed a very tight-knit community.  Through consulting oral histories and reading a variety of primary source text […]

I’ve been asked, encouraged and otherwise prompted to write about the announced demise of Family Tree Maker (FTM) genealogy software by Ancestry.com. I’ve put off writing for three reasons: many people, much more knowledgeable than I, have already written very informative pieces; I don’t know that much about Family Tree Maker; and I don’t relate to all the […]