Archive for the ‘2010’ Category

Thanks to the Volunteers

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Thank You to all who helped out to make this another fantastic event.

I hope I have all the names here of those who helped make this event a great success:

Organising Committee:

  • Roger Moffat – Chairman
  • Don Bryant
  • Lisa Christensen

Those who did something before the day in addition to the above:

  • Sue Irvine produced large amounts of printed advertising and produced and assembled the syllabus

Those who did something on the day in addition to the above:

  • Sales Table:
    • Wanda Schottler
    • Jan Van Wyck
    • David Smith
    • Dan Van Meurs
  • Registration and Check-In:
    • Mindy Koole
    • Sue Swanlund
    • Janet Jensen
    • Noralynn Gillette
    • Marlene Leistico
    • Marlene Fabbro
    • Judy Wilson
  • Room Monitor
    • Shirley DeBoer


2010 Door Prize Winners

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

We had a GREAT selection of Door Prizes available. The winners were selected by computer drawing from a list of attendees during the lunch break. Winners got to choose from the bags in the order they were drawn, without knowing the content of their bags. The Winners in order, and the prize their Mystery Bag contained are listed below:

  1. Mary Kay Killian – $25 Gift Certificate to the WMGS Sales Table. Donated by WMGS Sales Table.
  2. Judy Wilson – 6 months subscription to Ancestry World Edition. Donated by
  3. John Nelson – 1 year subscription to Donated by
  4. Valerie Dale – Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak In Search of our Ancestors. Donated by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.
  5. Beth Kleersnyder – Mini-Binder of your choice. Six ring 7 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ binders in an assortment of colors. The binders contain 30 Family Group Sheets, 10 Lineage Charts and 6 tabbed dividers. Donated by WMGS Sales Table.
  6. Charlynn Bailey – Tee shirt of her choice. Donated by Fun Stuff for Genealogists.
  7. Diane Rider – A voucher for any 11″ x 14″ colour map. Donated by Michiana History Publications.
  8. Pam Warren – 1 year subscription to Ancestry World Edition. Donated by
  9. Sheryl Tisdel – A copy of the MagiKey with Census Tracker software provided by MagiKey Family Tree.
  10. Judy McGhee – 1 year subscription to Donated by

Sue Haadsma-Svensson from Indianapolis, Indiana was awarded a $25 Shell Petrol Card to help with the cost of the 281 mile drive each way she made.

THANKS!!!!!! to all who donated the Door Prizes.

Got Ancestors?! 2010 – Saturday

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

We had a GREAT day Saturday with 4 very informative and entertaining sessions presented by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. 110 people (± 2) heard talks about Reverse Genealogy, DNA, the story of Annie Moore – the first immigrant ashore at Ellis Island, and Cases that made Megan’s Brain Hurt – now as I noted, she has some genealogical brain, so if her brain hurt imagine how we’d have done.

Start of the First Session on Saturday

Start of the First Session on Saturday

A picture gallery follows…


Got Ancestors?! 2010 – Friday Night

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Got Ancestors?! 2010 is underway. Megan arrived in Grand Rapids this afternoon, and after a quick trip downtown to have “Michigan’s Best Burger” and a stop by the Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum and his final resting place beside the Grand River, it was off to the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College for Megan to relax a little (she’d got up at 4AM to come to Grand Rapids) and me to make sure last minute details were all in place before tonight’s presentation of Michelle Obama’s Roots“.

It was a GREAT presentation – if you weren’t there you surely missed a great story – special because it’s about the first person (and her mother and daughters) who are descended of slaves to live in the White House, but that aside fascinating as a story of research into people in different parts of “the South” that descend from slaves and their migrations after emancipation.

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak presents "Michelle Obama's Roots"

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak presents "Michelle Obama's Roots"

A picture gallery follows… (more…)

In the Final Countdown…

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Well we’re in the final countdown to Got Ancestors?! Are They Who You Think They Are? on Friday night and Saturday with Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.

It’s still not too late to register for either event – we still have space available. Please use the online registration system to let us know that you’re coming, and if possible pay by PayPal. If you want to pay by cheque or cash, by all means choose that option on the payment page, but please DO NOT mail your cheque – instead bring it with you on Friday if you’re coming to Friday evening’s Michelle Obama’s Roots session or on Saturday if you’re only coming to Are They Who You Think They Are?.

tick tock tick tock tick tock…

Don and Roger on eightWest

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Don and Roger appeared on eightWest this morning to talk to Terri and Rachael about genealogy and our upcoming Got Ancestors?! Are They Who You Think They Are? Seminar.

The video of this is below – Enjoy 🙂

We forgot to mention that Friday night’s presentation of Michelle Obama’s Roots is in association with the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society

Megan’s 50th and a Funeral

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Here’s a post written by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak that appeared on The Huffington Post website today.

“Born twenty years to the day after John Lennon and married the day before 9/11, I need no calendars or tickler systems to remind me of the milestone birthdays and anniversaries in my life. The media does it for me. So I was well aware of the approach of my half-century mark. Still, I had made no special plans for that particular day, which is probably just as well since I found myself attending a funeral.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Maybe she’ll explain more about why she has 2 same last names at the upcoming Seminar – click the link to the right to register online now.

You can view Megan’s Huffington Post profile here

Happy Birthday Megan

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Today is our Speaker Megan’s Birthday.

♩ Happy Birthday To You
♫ Happy Birthday To You
♬ Happy Birthday Dear Megan
♪ Happy Birthday To You

See you on 5th and 6th November 🙂

Michelle Obama’s Roots – Breaking News

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The video here is from the CBS Early Show on 8 October 2009. Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak appeared with Harry Smith discussing the just published article in The New York Times discussing Michelle Obama’s Roots. This is the basis of what we will be hearing on Friday evening 6 November.


See you on 5 and 6 November!!

Megan is Catching the Waves

Friday, September 17th, 2010

An update on what Megan Smolenyak Smolyenak is doing in these weeks prior to coming to west Michigan to speak at our Annual Seminar in November.

She’s one of five world-class speakers that have been lined up for the 6th Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise starting tomorrow, September 18th. This week-long conference hosted by  Wholly Genes, Inc. (publishers of the computer programme – The Master Genealogist) has earned the reputation as the largest family history conference on the seas and is nearly always sold out. Someday I want to go!

Megan is presenting some lectures during the cruise that sound interesting: “Neglected History” and “Cold Cases: Genealogists, Coroners and the FBI”. For more information, you can read about the conference at the Wholly Genes website –

Good luck to Megan and we hope you rest well on your Caribbean cruise and don’t work too hard. We are looking forward to your visit in Michigan in November!

And remember – it’s neither too soon nor too late to register to attend our Annual Seminar – click here or the link on the right “Click Here to Register“.