Are YOU Having Fun Yet?!

October 4th, 2013

Attention Procrastinators… ARE YOU HAVING FUN YET?! Don’t miss the chance to attend this year’s Annual GotAncestors?! 2013 Seminar with Thomas MacEntee, Genealogy Ninja. If you need a boost, new ideas, or just need to be re-energized, this program will please you. We intend to have FUN on Friday night and all day Saturday, October 11 & 12 at the Prince Conference Center in Grand Rapids. Go to for complete schedule, information and registration form. Registrations will be accepted through Saturday, October 5.

We’ve lined up another great array of door prizes again this year, and something new – a “Tech Basket Raffle”. See this post for details

Door Prizes that YOU Could Win

October 2nd, 2013

We have some great door prizes lined up this year, AND something new – a “Tech Basket Raffle”. The list currently includes the following:

From we have

  • TWO certificates for a free one year FULL PremiumPlus with Data membership to

From we have

  • A 12 Month World Subscription to

From Saving Memories Forever we have

  • THREE certificates for a free one year membership in

From we have

  • TWO certificates for a free one year membership in Family Heirloom Exchange
  • a voucher that can be exchanged at his Sales booth for either an 11 x 14 color map or a genealogy wall chart.
  • a voucher that can be exchanged at their Sales booth for a Tee Shirt.

From Western Michigan Genealogical Society we have:

  • a voucher for $25 that can be used towards a purchase at the Western Michigan Genealogical Society sales table

From we have

  • a ONE year membership in the website

From we have

  • a ONE year membership in the website

From we have

  • a ONE year World Deluxe membership in the website



A “Tech Basket Raffle“. We’re putting together a Tech Basket Raffle that will include at least the following Tech Items:

  • an LG Slim Portable Blue Ray Writer – generously donated by M-Disc
  • a 10 pack of “1,000 year M-Discs” for the M-Disc writer – generously donated by M-Disc
  • a 4GB USB 2.0 Thumb Drive – provided by WMGS
  • an iPad folio case – generously donated by

Tickets for this raffle will be $5 each.

More prizes will be announced here as they are confirmed.


Remember – you can’t win if you’re not going to be there!!!

Online Registration Now Available

August 22nd, 2013

Online registration for Got Ancestors?! Are You Having Fun Yet?! is now available. If you register before 23 September it’s only $59 for both Friday evening and all day Saturday including light desserts on Friday evening, and lunch and snacks on Saturday.

Click here to open the online registration form to complete your registration online.

Looking forward to seeing YOU there!!

2013 Got Ancestors?! Are You Having Fun Yet?! Seminar Topics Announced

August 19th, 2013

We’e chosen a great lineup of topics for this year’s Got Ancestors?! Are You Having Fun Yet?! seminar.

Thomas MacEntee — will present these sessions:

Friday  11 October 2013 evening

  • Internet Killed the Family History Star: How Technology Has Changed the Face of Genealogy

Saturday 12 October 2013

  • Successful Collateral and Cluster Searching: Researching non-direct relations as well as those friends and neighbors in your ancestors’ network
  • Blog Your Ancestors: Read ’Em, Write ’Em, Find ’Em!
  • Mind Mapping Your Research Plans and Results: Creating a diagram or flow chart of ideas and concepts
  • 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Genealogy: Energize your research and be ready to hit the ground running.

Full details are available on the schedule page here.

We look forward to seeing YOU there.

2013 Got Ancestors?! with Thomas MacEntee

May 31st, 2013
Thomas MacEntee

Thomas MacEntee

We’re excited to announce that the Speaker at this year’s Got Ancestors?! 2013 will be Thomas MacEntee from Chicago.

Thomas is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research and as a way to connect with others in the family history community. When he’s not busy writing blog posts, organizing the 3,000+ members of GeneaBloggers, teaching online genealogy webinars and more, Thomas MacEntee is busy in his role as “genealogy ninja.” Stealth is not easy, but he manages to get the inside track on emerging technologies and vendors as they relate to the genealogy industry. After being laid off from a 25-year career in the tech industry in 2008, Thomas has been able to “repurpose” his skill set for the genealogy community and loves to see other genealogists succeed, whether it is with their own research or building their own careers in the field.

Keep watching this site for updates as we plan the schedule of talks we’ll hear Thomas give us on Friday evening and Saturday.

Save the Date

May 23rd, 2013

We’re working on plans for this year’s Got Ancestors?! Seminar.

It will be on 11-12 October 2013 at the Prince Conference Center.

Mark this date on your calendar to ensure nothing else gets booked for this date.

Further details will be announced here as they become available.

2012 Got Ancestors?! Registrant Questions & Answers

October 29th, 2012

Below are the questions submitted by registrants to this year’s Got Ancestors?! seminar.  We had many answers to these questions; too many to list all here in this article. Some answers are suggested places to look and others are very detailed. Take a look. You may find the answer to your questions! Click here for a complete list of GotAncestor?! Registrant Questions with Answers. Thanks to all who contributed the Questions and the Answers!

QUESTION: (Vickey Parker) To narrow the search of common last names, is there a trick one could use?

QUESTION: (Sue Irvine) Where would I find records (1745-1812) for a Quaker who married a non-Quaker in central New York? Assuming no birth records, where would the children be baptized?

QUESTION: (Sally Akehi) My great aunt, born 1894 in Iowa, raised in Allegan MI, also married there, but left her Husband & baby in 1915 and went…somewhere!! Chicago, we think. We know maiden name, 1st married name, but NOT 2nd married name!What resources do we have for IL with searchable field for maiden name?? How to break thru this brick wall??

QUESTION: (Mary Alt) Does the Allen County Library have confederate soldier records from the Civil War? Read The Full Entry »

The 2012 Seminar SURNAMEs!

October 29th, 2012

The 5th Annual GotAncestors?! Seminar is now a memory. To followup we’re posting 100s of surnames being researched for all to find. Look for your common interests and make contact.

Here’s a preview:

Adrianse | MI | 1840’s-now  / Betty Snow –
Ahlberg | Sweden > Michigan | 1880s-current   /  Don Bryant –
Alison | Scotland<Ontario<Detroit, MI<IL | 1770-1900 / Jessica Trotter –
Allen, Betsey | PA, OH, and possibly MI | 1805–1865 / Claudette Darling –
Allison/Ellison | KY, TN, AL, AR | 1775-1920   /  Paula Naujalis –
Alt | Alsace, Ohio & Michigan | 1830-present   /  Mary Alt –
ALTHOUSE/ALTHAUS | Darmstadt,Palatine  /  Claudia Day –
Anthony | Virginia | 1850,1860   /  Erma Shaw –
Atwater | Michigan | 1850-1970 /  Vickey Parker –

Click here to download the entire list (PDF) 2012 GotAncestors?! Registrant Surnames List.

[Update 2 November – added a revised PDF file that is searchable, and the eMail addresses are clickable.]

Door Prizes To Date

October 9th, 2012

We have some great door prizes lined up:

From we have

  • THREE certificates for a free 3 month World Deluxe Membership

From we have

  • TWO certificates for a free year of membership valued at $80

From the National Institute for Genealogical Studies

  • we have THREE certificates to take a free course valued at up to $89
  • a voucher that can be exchanged at his Sales booth for either an 11 x 14 color map or a genealogy wall chart.
  • A $25 Gift Certificate to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society Sales Table.
  • A Tee Shirt of the winner’s choice.


Remember – you can’t win if you’re not going to be there!!!

Got Ancestors?! 2012 Message from President Don Bryant

August 15th, 2012

Message from President Don Bryant

2012 marks our fifth consecutive GotAncestors?! annual seminar! This year’s program approaches genealogy from diverse perspectives that highlight ways you might not have thought of to uncover your family’s hidden information. Curt B. Witcher will demonstrate and explain approaches you can take to answer your research question marks – those people in your history who seem to appear out of nowhere only to disappear.

Several years ago, I studied the 1630s Great Migration to New England. Then at one of our previous seminars, I was reminded of another Great Migration – that of the African-American populations from the southern states to the north. Different ethnic groups, but exactly the same concepts are involved when studying migration patterns. Cluster research focuses on ethnic and family origins in order to research family history as a group and is one of the five topics at this year’s seminar.

Mr. Witcher offers his expertise on other subjects. Military records, which exist for practically every generation, provide a key perspective to understanding your ancestors in historical context. Federal population schedules, key components of any family history project, are not the only census records valuable to genealogists. One should not ignore other types of censuses that shed light on areas like agricultural, social, slavery, manufacturing, and mortality. Learn how and where to find new internet resources. Finally, because there are more answers “off-line” than online, learn methodologies and effective ways to use libraries – specifically ACPL. Who better to pose your questions to than the top librarian of one of the best genealogy libraries in the country?

I hope you will join us for the 2012 Got Ancestors?!  seminar. Come with your questions and leave with answers about how to fulfill your genealogy endeavors.