Western Michigan Genealogical Society

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Western Michigan Genealogical Society

The Western Michigan Genealogical Society ...


  • What are the benefits for becoming a member of the society?
  • What are the benefits the society has to offer for those who are not members?

History of the society

  • The Western Michigan Genealogical Society was founded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1954.

Society Officers

Society Projects

Current Projects

FamilySearch Wiki Projects

FamilySearch Wiki Page Adoptions

Past Projects


Facebook page


Michigana is 40 page quarterly magazine that is received as part of an individual's membership in the Western Michigan Genealogical Society (WMGS). 
   Preserving ancestral or current family history is a major goal for the Society. Michigana is especially looking for articles that encourage beginning writers; provide a good example of how an ancestor’s story can be told; have suggestions for gaining a reader’s interest; discuss grammar pitfalls and triumphs; or, provide strategies for making an article logical, interesting, coherent and accurate; etc.

Topics covered include:

• Genealogy research articles reporting findings about ancestral or descendant lines of families with Michigan connections.

• Family history writing tips and examples.

• Family history research stories describing a researcher’s path of discovery, including what the researcher knew at the outset, how one piece of information led to another, and how a particular problem was solved. Articles should clearly identify sources in the narrative, or in endnotes.

• Family history stories describing several generations and their experiences with pioneer life, war, education, changing political or social conditions, etc. Also welcome are articles about specific individuals and that person’s experiences.

• Family history heritage travel stories describing trips to ancestral sites; stories could include advice on planning a trip, how to find ancestral sites, and how to use travel to advance genealogical research.

• “How to” or “Where to find” articles describing methods used or places searched to solve a specific genealogical research problem.

• Technology and software reviews describing software programs for research, writing, image management and other genealogical activities. Descriptions of specific Internet sites, how they are helpful, and tips navigating the website.

• Short, original documents: Bible records; short lists of attendees at an historical function in Western Michigan; short membership lists; group photographs with an explanation of the occasion and the names of those appearing; etc.

• Book reviews summarizing and evaluating books of interest to genealogists and family historians.

Submitting Articles toMichigana 

WMGS is a non-profit organization. We do not pay for articles that are published, but the author does retain the copyright. Michigana has one-time print and digital rights for the issue in which the material appears. Authors are free to republish the article in other publications. 

Submission Requirements

• Submit articles digitally in file formats readable in Microsoft Word, preferably Word (.doc or .docx files).

• Place tables or charts at the end of your file.

• Photographs and images are encouraged, but please do NOT embed them in your text file; send each image as a separate file. Clearly identify each image and include suggested captions for each.

• Photographic scans should be 300 dpi tiff or jpeg files. Digital photographs are also accepted, preferably from cameras with at least 10 megapixels and in high quality tiff or jpeg formats.

• Unless asked, do not send paper copies of articles or photographs.

Style and Format

We don’t expect our authors to be professional writers; the editors are here to help, with the goal of making you look good to your readers. We don’t expect you to have a style manual or Evidence Explained at your finger tips, but we do urge you to keep a dictionary handy. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake keep you from writing; if you have a good story, we will help you fix the grammar and style.

Spacing: Use only ONE space after a period, not two.

Spelling: Spell-check your document; consult a recent dictionary when in doubt.

Style: Refer to Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition or later.

Citations: Please use them whenever they are needed. Refer to Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained. Ms. Mills repeatedly notes that, “Citations are an art, not a science.” Variations in format are permissible, but please be consistent within your document. Provide enough information that readers can evaluate the source and find the source if they wish to view it for themselves. Endnotes, rather than footnotes, are preferred. Remember: anything that is not general knowledge should have a source citation.

Verbs: Make sure verbs match your subjects in tense, person, and number. Avoid passive voice.

Numbers: Spell-out numbers under 10. Numbers over ten should be numeric: 12, 49, 52, etc. An exception to this occurs at the beginning of a sentence where all numbers must be spelled out.

Dates: Unless you are using a direct quote from another document, use the standard genealogical form: “21 June 2010.”

Abbreviations: Avoid abbreviations. Do not use postal state abbreviations (MN), except in postal addresses. Otherwise, please spell out the state, province or nation.

Length: Articles longer than 2500 that include a number of photographs may be split into two or three parts. We also welcome shorter articles of one or two pages. Scope, relevance and the reader interest have the greatest weight when deciding the length of an article. Michigana is flexible and will work with authors regarding the space needed.

If you have questions or wish to submit digital files contact the Editor at: rhjschirado@gmail.com.



  • Record collections or papers to which your society has access
    • How these records can help researchers (May link to a Wiki article connected with the location)
    • Where the record is located (online, on site, at nearby repositories)
    • How to access it from a distance (order information, if any)
  • Indexes for records about this area
    • Where the index is located (online, book, or on site)
  • Look ups, and copying records from local repositories, if any (here or in Q & A below)
    • Directions on how your society does this, and sends the information back to the patron


  • (also include society trips to areas of interest here, in workshops, or in training below)

Society Meetings


  • (also include presentations online, on site, or elsewhere about how to do research in your area)

Board Meetings

Training Meetings

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the directions to the society?
Q. What are the society's hours of operation?
May also include such items as: cost to join your society, how members access online records, free look ups, online meetings, newsletter queries, access to publications, or support from other members

Nearby or Alternate Repositories

  • (List each repository, link to it, and briefly describe their collection. Ideally list around 3 to 7 repositories, but this is flexible.)