The Rapidian

Got questions? Get answers! WMGS Seminar features Curt B. Witcher

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The Western Michigan Genealogical Society (WMGS) will host a seminar entitled Got Questions? Get Answers! The event is Friday and Saturday at the Prince Conference Center in Grand Rapids.
Underwriting support from:

Got Questions? Get Answers!

Friday Program:

Visit the newly expanded Heritage Hall archives in Calvin College's Hekman Library

Speaker: Getting More from the Internet for your Genealogy

Light Dessert & Tea/Coffee

 

Saturday Sessions:

  • Recognizing our various ethnic origins helps us understand our ancestors’ lives
  • Military records from America’s earliest times provide historical context to our family lines
  • Discover what agricultural, manufacturing, mortality, slave, social and statistical census schedules tell about your family
  • How to maximize research library visits - especially the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne.
Luncheon Buffet & Refreshments

Vendors Tables

A limited number of paid Youth Scholarships available

Register at http://www.gotancestors.com

 

Curt B. Witcher, from Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center

Curt B. Witcher, from Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center /Courtesy of Curt B. Witcher

Attendees checking out the vendor tables at the 2011 GotAncestors?! Seminar

Attendees checking out the vendor tables at the 2011 GotAncestors?! Seminar /Courtesy of Roger Moffat, Western Michigan Genealogical Society

The Western Michigan Genealogical Society (WMGS) announces its 2012 GotAncestors?! Annual Seminar entitled Got Questions? Get Answers!  The event is Friday and Saturday, October 12th and 13th at the Prince Conference Center in Grand Rapids. Curt B. Witcher will present several topics of interest to genealogists. Mr. Witcher is the Senior Manager for Special Collections and heads the Genealogy Center, one of the Midwest’s largest research collections located at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Find full details at www.gotancestors.com.

Some of the most common questions that we get from beginning researchers are “where is the book on my family?” or “how do I start tracing my family tree?” More experienced genealogists might ask “how can focusing on my ancestor’s ethnic group (Dutch, English, African-American, etc.) help me further my research?” or “where can I find out more about the lives of my rural farming ancestors?” Bring your own questions and we will do our best to provide answers! Who better to ask than the top librarian from one of the largest genealogical facilities in the country! Additionally, WMGS volunteers will be on hand to assist attendees with their questions.

What is the Program?

Friday evening will open the event with a program designed to teach how to leverage the ever-growing resources on the internet. A light dessert reception follows with an opportunity to mix & mingle.

Four additional talks by Mr. Witcher on Saturday will cover topics to begin or further family history research. Learn how:

·  Recognizing our various ethnic origins helps us understand our ancestors’ lives

·  Military records from America’s earliest times provide historical context to our family lines

·  Surprising information about our ancestors can be discovered in records of agricultural, manufacturing, mortality, slave, social and statistical census schedules;

·  How to maximize research library visits - especially the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne.

The cost is $54.00 per person for the entire two-day program if registered before September 23rd. A light dessert reception Friday, lunch, and refreshments Saturday are included. Friday-only or Saturday-only options are available. For detailed information and online registration go to www.gotancestors.com.

This is the fifth consecutive year the WMGS GotAncestors?! Seminar will be at the Prince Conference Center, 1800 East Beltline SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan on the campus of Calvin College. The facility is handicapped accessible and smoke-free. A vendor’s area will be open all day on Saturday.

What is New This Year?

The Heritage Hall archive within Calvin College’s Hekman Library contains valuable nuggets of genealogical material focused on the Dutch ethnic group. This year we invite seminar attendees to come early on Friday to visit the beautifully remodeled and newly expanded HERITAGE HALL on the west campus of Calvin College any time between 2 and 5 p.m. Friday, October 12th. Stop by for a short visit or bring your research questions and spend the afternoon.

What is the Youth Sponsorship Program?

WMGS is again sponsoring a limited number free registrations to people aged 15 – 25 who wish to attend this year’s Got Ancestors?! event. If you are interested in learning about genealogy from a great expert, you will be able to attend the Friday and Saturday sessions at no cost if you are among the first 20 qualified people who register. You MUST register online if you wish to receive one of these youth sponsorships.

Tell Me More about the Speaker

Curt B. Witcher is the Senior Manager for Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN where he manages The Genealogy Center, serves as general curator for that institution’s Rare and Fine Book Collection as well as the institutional archives, and is the Supervisor for the new Lincoln National Foundation’s Lincoln Library Collection. He has worked at Allen County Public Library for more than thirty-two years.

Mr. Witcher is the founding president of the Indiana Genealogical Society and former president of both the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society. He is coeditor of the Periodical Source Index (PerSI). In addition to the more than five hundred record and methodology articles he has penned for local, state, and national genealogical periodicals, Curt authored, African American Genealogy: A Bibliography and Guide to Sources (2000). He served as the National Volunteer Data Input Coordinator for the “Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System,” building a free, online database that has basic information on the service records of 6.3 million Civil War soldiers www.itd.nps.gov/cwss.

What is Western Michigan Genealogical Society?

WMGS, founded in 1954, was the second organization dedicated to Family History and Genealogy in the state of Michigan.

Free genealogy meetings are monthly from September through June in the Grand Rapids Public Library Ryerson Auditorium. All meetings are open to the public. The Annual Seminar is held each fall.

Membership is $20.00 per year and includes a subscription to Michigana, the Society’s 40-page quarterly magazine. It includes original and unpublished material, helpful hints, book reviews, ancestor portraits, and “how to” suggestions.

For more information, contact Don Bryant at [email protected] or 616-283-4256.

Western Michigan Genealogical Society
c/o Grand Rapids Public Library
111 Library Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3268

Society Website: www.wmgs.org
Annual Conference Website: www.gotancestors.com

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