Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society

Welcome to the FHWGS website!


FHWGS Meetings Continue Despite COVID-19

The Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society has been meeting online since September 2020.  Faced with the closure of the Detroit Public Library in March our meetings were canceled.  Over the summer the FHWGS board of directors met virtually to formulate contingency plans to safely continue our mission in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We decided to use a video conferencing service for our membership meetings.  We will continue to meet virtually for the foreseeable future.  At our November meeting Dr. Deborah Abbott presented; A Case Study Proving Oral History.  We took a photo with our masks on to commemorate the event.

Naomi Long Madgett, Poet Laureate

Detroit poet laureate, long time FHWGS member and 2014 Margaret McCall Thomas Ward History Maker awardee, Naomi Long Madgett has passed away at the age of 97.  The entire Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society family express our condolences to her family.  

Detroit Public Library Reopening Limited Service

The Detroit Public Library has reopened with limited services.  The library has published their services available and instructions for accessing the available services on their website.  
Group meetings have not resumed at the library so the meetings of the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society will continue online until further notice.  
The Burton Historical Collection is now taking appointments online.  Appointments must be made online at least 7 days in advance.  Onsite research is limited to only 1 hour.  Only one other person may accompany you on your appointment.  Use this form to request an appointment with the Burton Historical Collection: 

Remembering Dr. Walter Webb

We are saddened to report the passing of Walter D. Webb, DDS.  Dr. Webb was a Life Member. He joined the Society in 1995.  He was a former FHWGS vice-president and long-time board member and presenter.  He was chair of the mailing committee and served for many years at the check-in table.  
This picture is from the 2017 Annual Karl Hamilton Field Trip to the University of Michigan's Bentley Library in Ann Arbor.  During our visit, Archivist Brian Williams retrieved Dr. Webb's original U of M application complete with a photo of the young perspective student.  It was truly a memorable moment.       

First FHWGS Virtual Meeting Held 9/12/2020

The Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society held their first virtual meeting on September 12, 2020.  Members were notified in the Society's August newsletter of two practice sessions for those unfamiliar with Zoom.  The September meeting was the Society's Annual Meeting which was postponed from May due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Over 50 members attended our first virtual meeting.  Our speaker was the Honorable State Senator Adam Hollier, District 2, Michigan.  Members who missed the meeting can view it in the Members section of this website. 

Membership Meetings to Resume Online

The Detroit Public Library closed in mid-March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a result, our April and May membership meetings were canceled.  The library has a reopening plan, however the date that group meetings will resume at the library is yet to be determined.  So, until we are able to resume in person meetings, the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society will conduct our meetings online.  Instructions for joining the online meeting will be sent to FHWGS members.

Passing of FHWGS member Ola Mae Spinks

Beloved member Ola Mae Spinks passed away June 16, 2020 at the age of 106.  She was a retired librarian who among her many accomplishments was helping to organize the Slave Narratives at the U. S. Library of Congress.  Our prayers to her family in the loss of one of our truly phenomenal elders who helped preserve our history for all generations to come.   

FHWGS Board Members featured

FHWGS Vice President Omer Jean Winborn and Board Member Cheryl Garnett were recently interviewed on Michigan Radio about African American Genealogy.  Cheryl  and Omer Jean are co-founders of the Washtenaw County African American Genealogy Society.  Here is a link to the interview:
They were also featured in Blac Detroit Magazine 


February 2020 Membership Meeting

State Clubs meeting.  Genealogy 101 Part 2, Case Study: Evan Chaney

January 2020 Membership Meeting

January 4, 2020 - Show & Share presentations and exhibits.  Previews from our upcoming 40th Anniversary book, Telling Our Stories: A Collection of Family History Narratives.

11/2/2019 Special Event with Kenyatta Berry

Photos courtesy of Carl and Jacqui Hollier 

Historical Society of Michigan - Logo Federation of Genealogical Societies - Logo Michigan Genealogical Council - Logo National Genealogical Society - Logo