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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, December 5th

Topic: Thinking Outside The Box (1:30 - 4:00 p.m.)

Presenter: Karen Krugman

Thinking Outside The Box: Five Steps to help you bring down those brick walls.

Karen Krugman has been researching since 1990, and professionally since 1998. She enjoys the challenge of Lineage Society research. Since 2002 she has been speaking to genealogy groups in the metro Detroit area as well as other areas of Michigan & Ohio. Her talks are given with a humorous spin that is unique to her. Societies she has held positions in include: research chair for the Detroit Society for Genealogical research, past Registrar of the Michigan UDC chapter, past president of the Ford Genealogy Club, a member of the Oakland County Genealogy Society and a six year volunteer at the Library of Michigan. She has written five books based on her family history research and was co-author of The Ford Family Cemetery book, which includes photos and other information on the cemetery where auto pioneer Henry Ford is buried. Currently Karen resides in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Mini-Class Saturday, December 5th   (12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.)

Family Group Sheet
What is a Family Group Sheet? A well-documented family group record is the best tool you can use to get ideas about where to search for more information on a family.
Instructor: Linda Guth
Location: Grand Rapids Public Library, Adult Computer Training Center, lower level.


Saturday, January 2nd (1:30 p.m.)

Topic: Discovering Genealogical Clues in 19th-Century Photographs

Presenter: Maureen Taylor

This presentation will be a webinar broadcast to the Ryerson Auditorium, GRPL

A single photograph can unlock a family mystery. The details are in the photographic clues. Pictures document births, deaths, marriages, and more. Use an image as genealogical proof by understanding the language of family photographs.

Bio: Maureen Taylor is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada. She’s the author of several books and hundreds of articles and several television appearances. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for www.MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as www.Smithsonian.com.


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

There are many different charts to display your family tree. Check out the various choices to determine which one you like best.

Instructor: Linda Guth

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



Saturday, February 6th (1:30 p.m.)

Topic: Grand Rapids Archives & Research Center

Presenter: Tony Wright

Learn how to use the City of Grand Rapids Community Archives and Research Center for genealogical research.

Tony Wright is the City Archives Officer for the City of Grand Rapids. He has nineteen years of public history experience working for the City of Kalamazoo, The Engineers Club of Dayton, the Montgomery County (Ohio) Records Center and Archives, and the Wright State University Special Collections and Archives. Tony has also served as an adjunct instructor of history at Kellogg Community College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College.



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

We will be discussing form letters & letter writing tips for ensuring response to your letters.
Instructor: Linda Guth
Location: Grand Rapids Public Library, Adult Computer Training Center, lower level.


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

The newly formed Western Michigan Genealogical Society DNA Interest Group (DIG) will meet on the 3rd Thursday of the month in the Adult Computer Lab (on the lower level of the Grand Rapids Public Library). Meetings are held 7 p.m.

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

WMGS Classes

Monday, December 14th 6:30PM - 8:30p.m.

Census Records
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.

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




Allen County Public Library

Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s
Bus Trip to Fort Wayne’s
Allen County Public Library
The next Bus Trip is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, November 17 & 18.

Registration Form is available now. Download the FORM



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.

Topics for the year 2015

September 15: Who was your favorite author when you were a child? Why?

October 20: Memories of Autumn.

November 17: The best Thanksgiving ever.

It is requested to call Sister Michael Ellen Carling at 616-514-3340 if you wish to attend. Please park in the Dominican Center parking lot which is off Lakeside Drive. Use the lower entrance on the east side of the large portico and go down the steps or the cement ramp to enter the building. The receptionist will direct you to the room.

Everyone is welcome to bring their latest writing project rather than the suggested topic for the meeting. Having a topic helps some of us jog our memories and prods us into making sure we actually write between meetings.

The group provides constructive feedback and everyone benefits.

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.

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