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.



Saturday, May 7th (1:30 p.m.)

Topic: The Buckeye State: Researching Your Ohio Ancestors

Presenter: Kris  Rzepczynski

This session, aimed at researchers whose ancestral trails extend to and from Ohio, will provide an overview of the rich and abundant genealogical resources available in print and online.

About Kris: Currently a Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan, Kris previously worked for 12 years at the Library of Michigan as the Michigan/Genealogy Coordinator. He holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University, a Master of Arts in History from Western Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Michigan. Kris has presented at national, state, and local conferences, including the National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Ohio Genealogical Society, Public Library Association, Historical Society of Michigan, Michigan Library Association, and for dozens of local genealogical societies.


Mini-Class Saturday, May 7th (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)
Finding Living Relatives

Other than asking your immediate relatives, how else can you find living relatives? Many living relatives, most of whom you have never met, all form part of your extended family. They may have that elusive photo or document that you're looking for. We will discuss various ways to find your living relatives.

Instructor: Linda Guth
Location: Grand Rapids Public Library, Adult Computer Training Center, lower level.


Saturday, June 11th (1:30 p.m.)

Topic: Civil War Sources

Presenter: John Urschel

The presentation will be on how I research the sourcebooks and how I evaluate what I find. We will also delve into my research into the Michigan graves at Andersonville National Cemetery and Gettysburg and the veracity thereof and corrections thereto. There will be a bit of music and lots of pictures and time for questions. And I will, no doubt, bemoan the fact that with 33,000 soldiers in my database, I don’t have the time to dive headlong into the type of genealogical research that you do.

About Mr. Urschel: "I was born in Miamisburg, Ohio, a sickly child, one of the first open heart surgery patients in the state. Oh wait…all true but, wrong bio."

B.A. in History and an M.A. in Public History from Wright State University (Fairborn, Ohio.) Former Security Supervisor, Small Computer Business Owner, Musician, Pinkerton Detective, Records Manager and Archivist for South Bend and St. Joseph County Indiana, and former Information Manager for the City of Kalamazoo. Sort of retired. Author of the Michigan Boys in Blue Series of 10 sourcebooks, 2 other history books, and Executive Producer of "Kalamazoo 1884" a documentary film. Complete series of Michigan Boys in Blue have been purchased by the U of M Bentley Library, WMU Archives and Public Libraries of: Detroit, Kalamazoo, Portage, Van Buren District, Three Oaks and Buchanan.


Mini-Class Saturday, June 11th (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)
to be advised... watch for more



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

WMGS Classes


Monday, April 11, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

How to Speed Up Your Computer

Trying to research your family, but your computer is slower than molasses? Learn why this might be happening & what steps to take to speed it up. Bring your laptop with you to the class.

Instructor: Linda Guth
Location:  Grand Rapids Public Library, VanderVeen Room, 4th floor.


Monday, May 16, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Finding Your Ancestors through Obituaries

For many of our ancestors, their obituary is the only biographical sketch ever written. It is a valuable reference in which you can find more details about your relative.

Instructor: Linda Guth
Location: Grand Rapids Public Library, VanderVeen Room, 4th floor.



Allen County Public Library

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

The Spring Bus trip is scheduled for Wednesday–Thursday, April 13-14, 2016

Download full information and Registration here.



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 2016
Privacy Policy