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, 6 September, 2014

Common Sources In Uncommon Places

Presenter: Karen Krugman

Think you've looked everywhere for that marriage date or birthdate? Think again. This talk shows you some uncommon places you may not have thought of for locating dates!

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 - Family Search Indexing

FamilySearch Indexing is a volunteer project established and run by FamilySearch, a genealogy organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The intent of this class is to provide an overview of how to index names on the Family Search Indexing site, so they are available on-line as part of family history research.

Instructor: Jeff Coltrin from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Held in the Grand Rapids Public Library, Adult Computer Lab, Lower Level 12:15 - 1:15 pm

Saturday, 4 October, 2014

Using the Grand Rapids Public Library catalog for Genealogical Research

Presenter: Tim Gleisner

Tim will show us the ins and outs of the Grand Rapids Public Library Catalog and databases and how to use them to get the best out of your genealogical research.

Tim Gleisner, Grand Rapids Public Library’s history and special collections supervisor, is one of 24 librarians across the nation who were awarded a fellowship by the Public Library Association to attend the PLA Leadership Academy in 2013. He is dedicated to work with local government and community partners to enhance the position of the library within the community and improve the effectiveness of library activities and programs. Gleisner manages the downtown library’s historical and special collections, which includes artifacts, manuscripts, photographs, genealogical materials and historical programming.


Our October Meeting is our official Annual Business meeting when we elect board officers for the next two-year term (2015-2016).

mini class- Genealogy Scrapbooking

A genealogy scrapbook album is wonderful way to document your family's history and create a lasting gift for future generations. Many of the family tree software reports don't include all of the documents and pictures you've gathered together. This class shows one way to present it all in an interesting format.

Instructor: Linda Guth, WMGS Education Coordinator

Held in the Grand Rapids Public Library, Adult Computer Lab, Lower Level 12:15 - 1:15 pm


Saturday, 8 November, 2014 (Second Saturday rather than the normal day; due to the Day of the Dead celebrations)

Becoming American: Research with Naturalization Records

Presenter: Kris Rzepczynski

Although one of the most important tools in family history research, naturalization records can often be very difficult to locate. This program will explore naturalization records, the many tools available to assist you in your research, and successful strategies to locate citizenship records, utilizing both online and print resources.

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.
In addition, Kris is a member of the Board of Directors for the Federation of Genealogical Societies and a Past President of the Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society. His memberships also include the Association of Professional Genealogists, Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan, and Historical Society of Michigan. Kris W. Rzepczynski, MLS, MA

WMGS Classes

Tuesday, September 9

Using the Family Search Website

6:45 PM - 8:45 PM Sep 9, 2014

The instructor will be Jeff Coltrin, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Class held in the Adult Computer Lab, Lower Level, at the Grand Rapids Public Library.

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

Thursday, October 9

Polish Research

6:45 PM - 8:45 PM Oct 9, 2014

Research your Polish family history by exploring genealogy and family history databases, historical records, maps, documents, cemetery burials, records from Polish churches, and more.

Class 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 is Wednesday - Thursday, Sept 10-11

Download the registration 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 2014 are:

January: Inside jokes (family, etc.) “When did Harvey get his overcoat?”

February: Bad kitchen experiences

March: Neighbors through the years

April: How has research changed since you first started; what do you like or dislike about the changes?

May: Describe the house you lived in that you liked the best

June: Your greatest success

July: Your worst mistake

August: Favorite custom or tradition

September: How would you like to be remembered?

October: What have you liked the most about getting older?

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

December: Christmas gathering

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.

Copyright WMGS 2014
Privacy Policy