Archive for August, 2011

Youth Sponsorship Programme Announced

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

For the 2011 Got Ancestors?! Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray seminar with Tony Burroughs, Western Michigan Genealogical Society is pleased to announce a sponsorship programme to encourage people aged 15 – 25 to attend the seminar.

WMGS is offering a limited number of sponsorships to people aged 15 – 25 who wish to attend this year’s Got Ancestors?! seminar. If you’re young and interested in learning about genealogy from a great expert, you’ll be able to attend the Friday and Saturday sessions at NO COST if you are among the first 20 qualified people who register. This is a $59 value. You MUST register online if you wish to receive one of these Sponsorships.

The purpose of these sponsorships is to:

  • promote an interest in genealogy among young people;
  • provide a free educational opportunity to learn about genealogy in the context of the American Civil War;
  • encourage an inter-generational activity that young people can interact and share with their parents and grandparents.

To take advantage of this offer, eligible people should go to the Got Ancestors?! registration page and click the link for “If you are registering for a Youth Sponsorship, please USE THIS FORM“.

What: WMGS’ Annual Seminar Got Ancestors?! Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray
Who: Tony Burroughs, FUGA1 – expert genealogist, author and lecturer
When: Friday 4th and Saturday 5th November 2011
Where: Prince Conference Center at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1 = Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association

More information about the Got Ancestors?! Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray seminar can be found at

Got Ancestors?! 2011 Seminar Topics

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Message from WMGS President – Don Bryant

The events of 150 years ago are an important focus for us in this sesquicentennial year recognizing the American Civil War. Arguably, the Civil War would never have happened if not for slavery. Many American families have direct connections to that hateful institution and the resulting war. For some, there is no desire to learn about the hardships of the past. Others have found where there is suffering there are heroes, stories of endurance, and inspiring examples. It is important to learn about our forebears who lived during that conflict, or experienced slavery, or even fought and died to end it. That knowledge fosters a personal connection to history and shapes our self-identity.

As an expert in African American genealogy and a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Tony Burroughs brings an important perspective to our annual genealogy seminar. Mr. Burroughs’ background as an educator, former board member of national genealogical organizations, and polished speaker make him an ideal choice to present this year’s GotAncestors?! Seminar – Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray.

We have chosen 5 great topics to be presented by Tony Burroughs during the Got Ancestors?! Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray seminar on 4 – 5 November 2011.


Voices of Freedom: African American Soldiers in the Civil War
How often do we hear from Civil War soldiers themselves? Not often. It is especially rare when we hear from African American Civil War soldiers when most were prohibited from reading and writing. African American soldiers did discuss their war experiences. Hear what they said.


The Nature of Genealogy

A successful genealogist is not one who knows all the records. The Nature of Genealogy dictates researchers must be adept at why records are created, what they were created for, how and when to use them, how they interrelate to the circumstances of their ancestors, and how to execute a successful strategy. This presentation will cover understanding history, research, repositories, records, theory development, results analysis and publishing findings. It is woven around a case study discovering a new ancestor by an experienced genealogist.

The Six Phases of African American Genealogy

This special extended session is an overview of the methods and sources in the six distinct phases that are the building blocks of African American genealogy. It progresses from beginning to more advanced research, highlighting some of the problems and complexities of African American genealogy along the way. It is designed for beginners, intermediates, and advanced researchers.

Did Your Ancestor Serve in the Civil War?

How can you determine if one of your ancestors served in the Civil War, or verify oral history that one served? Learn how to prove your ancestor served and learn how to investigate their Civil War experiences. This lecture demonstrates strategies for identifying Civil War ancestors, provides methods of proving genealogical relationships, illustrates Civil War records and resources, and discusses navigating through records at the National Archives.

Creating Order Out of Chaos

Have you searched in every courthouse, every library, and every archive and still haven’t solved your riddle? One of the keys to success in genealogy is doing more with what you have. Sometimes the pieces are there, we just need to look at them in different ways. Reorganizing and analyzing may solve your riddle.

We look forward to seeing you there!!



2011 Seminar Title and Topics Announced

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

We are very pleased to now announce the title of this year’s Got Ancestors?! seminar with Tony Burroughs:

Got Ancestors?! Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray

The title reflects the variety of topics we’ve chosen for Tony to present on Friday evening and Saturday, with some topics aimed at researchers of African American genealogy, some at beginners, some more advanced and of course in this sesquicentennial year of the Civil War, something about the Civil War. Several of the topics overlap more than 1 of these themes.

We look forward to seeing you there!!!