Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society

Welcome to the FHWGS website!


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 


A Conversation with Kenyatta Berry: Uncovering Your Ancestry” in Detroit
Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.
at the Detroit Public Library, Main Branch
5201 Woodward Avenue
Old Fine Arts Room, 3rd Floor
Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society, the first genealogical society in the State of Michigan dedicated to the research and preservation of African-American history, presents a special program, in collaboration with Source Booksellers,  in honor of the Society’s 40th Anniversary featuring nationally recognized genealogist, author, television host and Detroit native Kenyatta Berry.  
Berry is author of the new book The Family Tree Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Uncovering Your Ancestry and Researching Genealogy.
Join us for this exciting opportunity to enjoy a “Conversation with Kenyatta D. Berry,” co-host of the PBS series Genealogy Roadshow.  Kenyatta will be in Detroit to talk about genealogy, family history, and her new book, The Family Tree Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Uncovering Your Ancestry and Researching Genealogy. Copies of the book will be on sale at the event, beginning at 10:00 a.m., for $19.99 each plus tax. Cash or credit cards will be accepted. No checks, please!
The Family Tree Toolkit is designed to help genealogists navigate the sometimes overwhelming, sometimes treacherous, sometimes exhilarating pathways to finding ancestors. From how and where to begin, to what records are available online and in repositories, from what to do once you find the information, to how to share your story, and (of course DNA) discoveries.
Kenyatta D. Berry is a professional genealogist, entrepreneur and attorney with more than 20 years of experience in genealogical research and writing. She began her genealogical journey with research at the State Library of Michigan in Lansing while in law school. A native of Detroit, Berry graduated from Bates Academy, Cass Technical High School, Michigan State University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School. She has deep roots in Detroit, the city in which her ancestors have lived since the 1920s.
It all takes place on Saturday, November 2, at 10:30 a.m. at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library in Detroit’s Cultural Center. Doors open at 10:00 a.m.
The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.  Advance registration is required.



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