08 August 2014

Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, Michigan

I am a proud new member of the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County (GSWC) in Michigan.  I bought a family membership for $15 on a recent research trip to Ypsilanti Historical Museum and Archives when I met the President, Marcia.  She was very helpful with the surname research I was doing.  Once I saw what the GSWC database had to offer members I was sold.

GSWC offers an online index search access to their quarterly magazine, "Family History Capers".  Anyone can search online in the index, but members have access to the actual issues.  Once you find the name in the index you are looking for, you can go to that issue and read it online.

I have quite a few ancestor surnames in Washtenaw County, many from the Michigan Territory time. They are Begole, Dyer, Fenn, Glover, Poor, Powers and Rowley.  You add to this the collateral relatives and I have quite a lot of people to research.  I decided to search by surname in the index and wow! was I surprised.  I had so many hits that I decided to run a paper copy of the search in order to highlight the names as I completed reading the corresponding article.  I had ten pages and over 200 names to explore.  I was excited.  The names were ones I recognized from my research.

I searched by surname only to start with.  The index search returned a page with the name of the person, the volume, issue, and page number of Family History Capers magazine and a place to click to be taken to the article (if a member).  I have just touched the surface with the index.  I could spend days just reading their old Family History Capers issues.

GSWC has a library housed at the Family History Center, 525 East Woodland Drive, Saline, Michigan. I haven't been to the library yet, but it houses how to books, genealogies, and collections with an emphasis on Washtenaw county and Michigan.

The GSWC website is one of the best I have seen for a genealogical society.  It is filled with information for anyone researching in Washtenaw county, members and non members.  The Washtenaw Research area of the website has lots of information about repositories, records, places and more.

GSWC has excellent education opportunities.  Their meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome. They have had some awesome speakers in the past.  I am looking forward to the September 28th meeting.  I plan to attend.  Dr. Michael Lacopo will be presenting two lectures:  "Methods for Identifying the German Ancestors of American Immigrants" and "Finding and Using German Church Records".  I heard Dr. Lacopo speak for the first time at FGS Conference in Springfield, Illinois.  I was so impressed I made sure I attended his lectures at FGS Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana as well.

GSWC meets at Education Center Auditorium, St. Joesph Mercy Hospital Campus, 5305 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti, Michigan.  The Sunday, September 28th meeting begins at 1:30 p.m.  More information can be found online.

GSWC is a terrific resource for Washtenaw county research.  I am looking forward to using my membership this year.  I will keep you posted on my research finds.

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