It’s 2021 – Still Virtual?!

July 21st, 2021

2021 has mostly continued as 2020 left off – with everyone “doing Zoom”. So this year’s Got Ancestors?! conference is again being done by Zoom. Our speaker this year is Dana Palmer, CG®, CGL(SM).

Dana Palmer

Dana has been a genealogy instructor at Sinclair Community College since 2010. She has spoken at national, state, and local genealogy events including RootsTech, NGS, FGS, and frequently at OGS. She specializes in lineage society applications, publishing family books, and Midwestern research – specifically Ohio, but she also has experience in Germany, Denmark, and the U.K.  She also reviews military repatriation cases for Eagle Investigative Services and is part of the Silver Book team for the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She has received numerous awards for her books and volunteer efforts. She belongs to several lineage societies including ISDUP, NSDAR, USD 1812, and Colonial Dames. She loves problem solving and tracking down those elusive ancestors.

The schedule of topics is as follows:
9:15 to 10:30   Free Online Genealogy Resources: Discover how to find and use information found on free genealogy websites such as Family Search, RootsWeb, US Gen Web, Chronicling America, and others.

10:45 to 12:00 Effective Search Strategies on Family Search: Learn tricks to find your elusive ancestors in the historical records and catalog on Family Search.

12:45 to 2:00   Tricks of the Trade- Effectively Using Genealogy Websites: Knowing how to use the tools on the most popular websites can help you find your family. Come learn the tricks of the trade.

2:15 to 3:30     Chronicling America: A Newspaper for Everyone:  Using online search engines can be tricky! Learns some techniques to find elusive ancestors in the newspapers on Chronicling America.

Registration is available here

Finally – it’s 2020?!

August 25th, 2020


Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa Louise Cooke

So – what a year 2020 has been so far! Many events cancelled, many other events changed somehow.

This year’s Got Ancestors?! 2020 Seminar is no different. We have switched it to a Virtual Seminar. Our speaker, Lisa Louise Cooke, will be at her home in Texas, and all the attendees will be at their homes where ever they live. Or maybe you’ll be sitting in your car because you have lousy internet connectivity at your home.

In any case, we’re please to bring Lisa Louise Cooke to you for a day of (virtual) presentations and learning.

Stay tuned for more details and registration when we have it ready to go – for now at least save the date if you didn’t already.

Now for 2019?!

August 12th, 2019

Save the Date!! This year’s Got Ancestors?! seminar will be on Saturday 12 October at The Salvation Army Kroc Center on South Division Ave.

Michael D. Lacopo DVM

Michael D. Lacopo DVM

Our speaker is Michael D. Lacopo DVM. Dr. Michael D. Lacopo was born and raised in northern Indiana surrounded by extended family always willing to tell tall tales. Intrigued by his maternal family’s claim to be kinfolk of Abraham Lincoln, and his paternal family’s stories of murder and mayhem, he took to genealogical research in 1980 to substantiate these family stories.

Genealogical research as a hobby was in its infancy in the 1980s. Combing libraries, archives, cemeteries and courthouses as a teenager, Michael gained the skills needed to become a keen researcher. His first major challenge in the world of research was tackled by finding his adopted mother’s birthparents in 1982. You can read about this adventure at his blog at with some engaging story-telling, plot twists and new findings!

Although a budding genealogist in the 1980s, Michael completed his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1991, while still spending time honing his research skills. As befitting a doctor, Michael treats his genealogical research as he would medicine – carefully, methodically and completely. Several genealogical journal articles and publications appeared along the way. In 2013, Michael retired from his medical career to pursue genealogical research full-time as a profession.

He has contributed to numerous periodicals and has helped numerous people in their quests to locate their relatives – living and dead. He appeared in USA Today in 2000 discussing genealogy and the proposed destruction of the federal census tabulated in that year. His national lecturing began in Sacramento, CA, at the National Genealogical Society’s national conference in 2004, and has continued with several local, state, national, and international conference speaking engagements to this present day.

Michael’s interests and strengths include Mennonite research, German and Swiss research, especially as it pertains to the 18th century immigration to America, among many other topics. He makes many trips throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states chasing ancestors in primary repositories, and also devotes a considerable amount of time to European research, being proficient in reading German script. Having ancestors from many geographic locales as well as immigrants spanning the 17th century to the 20th century, Michael has a wide variety of proficiencies. He believes that as genealogists we should tell the tales or our ancestors and is a vocal proponent for learning the social history that interweaves our ancestors into the fabric of the past.

In addition to his story-telling and educational blog, Michael’s presence can be found online at, or for more up-to-date lecture and research information, at his Facebook page at

Crisis Averted – More Space Available

October 4th, 2018

Update to yesterday’s announcement that we had reached the capacity of the room…

I’ve been to the venue this morning, and we can add another 21 (or 42 if need be) places into the room for attendees to this year’s Got Ancestors?! So then what did you do? DNA! seminar with Your Genetic Genealogist CeCe Moore.

So registration is back open again, and don’t worry – everyone will still be able to sit on a chair at a table.

See you on the 13th of October!

Room Full – A Happy? Problem

October 3rd, 2018

As at 3:30PM on Wednesday 3 October we have suspended registrations for the 2018 Got Ancestors?! Seminar with CeCe Moore – we have reached the capacity of the room when it is set up in “Classroom Style” with people seated at tables.

We are checking for possible other seating arrangements that might get some more people into the room, and hope to know about this tomorrow (Thursday 4 October), but for now Registrations are suspended.

I will accumulate a wait list on a first come, first served basis. If you want to be added to the wait list to be advised if more capacity is available, please send an eMail to

Investigating Cold Case Murders From Her Couch

August 28th, 2018

The video linked here is from the Today Show, and features our October 13 Speaker, CeCe Moore talking about some of the recent cold case murders she has solved using genetic genealogy and traditional genealogy to point investigators in the right direction.

CeCe Moore with Megan Kelly on the Today Show

CeCe Moore with Megan Kelly on the Today Show

You can register online for our Seminar at The seminar runs from 8:30am to 4:45pm on Saturday, October 13th 2018.

This Year’s Title

August 20th, 2018

The title of this year’s seminar So then what did you do? DNA! comes from a scene in one of last season’s episodes of Finding Your Roots where Dr Henry Louis Gates Jr and CeCe Moore are discussing the research, and Dr Gates asks CeCe Moore what the next step would be.

So then what did you do? DNA!

So then what did you do? DNA! Image provided by CeCe Moore.

Online Registration is now available at 

There will be a few days delay in getting the paper registration ready, but please use the online system if you’re reading this.

Ready for 2018…

February 20th, 2018

Your Genetic Genealogist – CeCe Moore

We’re delighted to announce that the speaker for Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s 2018 Got Ancestors?! Seminar is Your Genetic Genealogist – CeCe Moore.

CeCe Moore is well known for her appearances as the genetic genealogy consultant on television series like Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., as well as on other TV shows where she has appeared as a genetic genealogy expert.

She is a leading proponent of genetic genealogy education, and is a co-founder of the Institutor Genetic Genealogy.

You can find her blog at Your Genetic Genealogist and follow her on Facebook

We will again be at The Salvation Army Kroc Center on south Division Avenue.

This will be CeCe’s first visit to Michigan, so save the date – Saturday, 13 October 2018 for a great day of learning.

Today is the Day

October 13th, 2017

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL arrived in Grand Rapids on Thursday evening, and today we’ve had a great day visiting downtown to check out the venues of NGS 2018 being held in Grand Rapids, a visit to the giant horse at Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and then out to the lakeshore to see Lake Michigan.

Registration is now closed, however you can still attend tomorrow’s seminar with Judy. Just come to The Salvation Army Kroc Center at 8:30 and you can register there on the spot for $49. You will need to provide your own lunch now as it’s too late to take any more orders.

Door Prizes 2017

October 11th, 2017

Thanks to generous support from the genealogy industry we have a great line up of Door Prizes for the Got Ancestors?! – Legal Matters! seminar this coming Saturday.

The prizes include:

  1. A 1 year membership to – donated by part of;
  2. A 1 year membership to – donated by – part of;
  3. A 6 month World Explorer membership in – donated by;
  4. A DNA test kit – donated by;
  5. A 1 year PremiumPlus + Data membership to – donated by;
  6. A 1 year PremiumPlus + Data membership to – donated by;
  7. A 1 year World Membership in – donated by;
  8. A copy of Family Tree Maker 2017 software – donated by Family Tree Maker;
  9. A $25 Gift Certificate to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society Sales Table – donated by Western Michigan Genealogical Society;

You can’t win if you don’t attend!!!!

It’s not too late to register yet – still a couple of days – and if you register by Friday 13th October evening you’ll still be able to order a lunch from Grand Traverse Pie Company. See the Registration link on the right of this page, or click here.