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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, 3 January, 2015 (1:30-3:00 p.m.)

Filling in the Blanks

Presenter: Lori Piercefield Fox

Our family trees begin with basic research:
Ask Mom and Dad who their parents and grandparents and their great-grandparents. But are names, dates, places the entire legacy we want to leave? How and where can we find the information to expand this story? What was happening in the township, county, state, or world at those dates? Let’s explore ways to answer these questions

Lori is an ex-secondary business teacher. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years. She is a member of several genealogical societies inside and outside of Michigan; and very active with Ionia County Genealogical Society since its formation in 1997. Lori is a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and the Association of Professional Genealogists and enjoys sharing her excitement and knowledge about genealogy through a teaching format either in the classroom or at the lectern.


mini class - Genealogy Software Comparisons

With dozens of genealogy software programs available to choose from, selecting the best genealogy software for you can be a overwhelming task. Genealogy software programs offer a wide variety of options including the way they format data, the types of charts & reports they produce, their ability to help you organize your research, and opportunities for storing photographs and documents. Whether it is your first time or you are looking for a replacement for your existing genealogy software, this class may be for you. Instructor: Linda Guth

Class will be held in the Adult Computer Lab, Lower Level, at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Time: Noon - 1:00 PM.


WMGS Classes

Wednesday, 12 November

Understanding and Using US Census Records

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM - Wednesday 12 November

Understanding and Using US Census Records: Census records offer a wealth of information to the genealogical researcher. Learn how to access, use and understand US Census records to aide in your genealogical research. Instructor: Bill Grinstead.

Class held in the Adult Computer Lab, Lower Level, at the Grand Rapids Public Library

Monday, 1 December

Researching Catholic Records

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM - Monday, 1 December

Father Dennis Morrow, Pastor of SS. Peter & Paul Church and Archivist of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, knows where many bones are buried! He is happy to help introduce researchers to the best procedures and etiquette to use to gain access to records which might be of use to them in seeking family information. Parish and institutional sacramental records, cemetery records, where to look, where not to bother looking, why the very item that I'm looking for can't be found, ethnic concerns, all will be on the table for presentation, discussion, and lots of entertaining questions.

Class will be held in the Adult Computer Lab, Lower Level, at the Grand Rapids Public Library.

Location: 111 Library St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503



Allen County Public Library

Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s
Bus Trip to Fort Wayne’s
Allen County Public Library
The Fall 2014 Bus Trip was cancelled. We are planning a Spring trip in April. Stay tuned.


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 2014 are:

November: What have you liked the least about getting older?

December: Christmas gathering


January: Describe a typical family meal during your childhood. Who, what, when and where?

February: If you could take one last trip - where would you go, what would you do, and who would you go with?

March: Are you an optimist or a pessimist? What makes you this way?

April: What are the most important books that you have read? How did they change your life?

It is requested to call Sister Michael Ellen Carling at 616-514-3340 (new phone # as of May 2013) 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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