Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society

Welcome to the FHWGS website!



The Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society will continue our celebration of the Society's 40th Anniversary on January 4, 2020, 10:30 A.M., at the Detroit Public Library, Main Branch, Old Fine Arts Room.  At our January meeting we will have our Show and Share exhibits and highlight a number of the narratives to be published in our 40th Anniversary publication, Telling Our Stories: A Collection of Family History Narratives.  

Peggy Sawyer Williams Obituary

Peggy Sawyer Williams was the sixth president of the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society serving from 1999 - 2006.  She was honored by the Society in 2016 with the Margaret McCall Thomas Ward History Maker Award.  She was a remarkable woman who dedicated over 30 years of service to FHWGS.  She will be missed.

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.




Presentation at Chesterfield Township Library

On Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 1:00 PM, FHWGS Board members Cheryl Garnett and Omer Jean Winborn will be speaking at the Chesterfield Township Library.  The presentation is titled; Telling African American and African Canadian Stories.  The Library is located at 50560 Patricia, Chesterfield, MI 48051.

October 2019 Membership Meeting

October 5, 2019
Board member Cheryl Garnett discussed her research into her family history and how four diffent branches of her family tree escaped enslavement on the underground railroad and found freedom in Ontario Canada.

From The National Archives - Refining Your Search


September 2019 Membership Meeting

September 7, 2019
Our September meeting topic was Genealogy 101 A Case Study: Evan Chaney.  Omer Jean Winborn and Evan Chaney took us though the step-by-step process of researching Evan's family history including completing pedigree charts, research tools, websites and DNA results.  This was Part 1 of the presentation to be continued at the February 2020 meeting.

June 2019 Karl Hamilton Field Trip

 Lenawee County Historical Museum
Black Fire Winery
June 8, 2019
This year the annual Karl Hamilton Field Trip was to the Lenawee County Historical Museum and the Black Fire Winery.  At the museum, we viewed the exhibit, Anti-Slavery and the Underground Railroad in Lenawee County.  Historian Ray Lennard guided us through the exhibit and gave us a bus tour of sites in Lenawee County related to the Underground Railroad.  We ended the trip at the Black Fire Winery, the only African-American owned winery in Michigan.  Owner Michael Wells, talked about his background and the realization of his dream of owning a winery.

May 2019 Membership Meeting

May 4, 2019 
At our annual meeting the election of officers was held, the 40th anniversary book committee held one-on-one submission reviews and the state clubs committee provided online research tips.  Special thanks to Lillian R. Holland for serving on the FHWGS Board of Directors for seven terms (pictured at the sign-in table).

Michigan Genealogical Council Recognition

The Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society was honored by the Michigan Genealogical Council at thier May 2, 2019 Delegate meeting in recognition of our upcoming 40th Anniversary
  Pictured l-r: Katherine Wilson, President of MGS, Omer Jean Winborn, MGC Delegate & FHWGS V.P., Shaun Thomas, FHWGS President, Barbara Curtindale, MGC Awards Chair.
Photo courtesy of Rodger Moffat, Michigan Genealogical Council 

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